20 Jun 2012
The short answer: No. The long answer: Promoted interim head coaches are most successful when they're first-time head coaches and overhaul the coaching staff once they reach permanent status.
Make no mistake, this is the most comprehensive analysis of interim head coaches I've ever seen. However, I do have a couple of critiques:
1) I've always been of the mind that the most successful coaches who take over bad teams tend to completely clean house. When Mike Singletary takes over the 49ers, but keeps almost all of the same roster (in addition to most of the coaching staff), failure is as inevitable as a Carl Lewis national anthem.
2) One of Scott's main arguments is that successful promoted interims tend to be in their first head coaching gig. That hits a nerve with me because one of my pet peeves of football stat analysis is seeing a successful outcome, and then looking back to determine the profile of what led to success. What I want to know, and perhaps Scott can tell us ex post facto, is if the subsample of promoted interims in their first head coaching gig had a better record than those in their second-or-more head coaching gig. The answer may very well be the same, but it's better to go about things in a prospective way than a retrospective way.
Anyway, despite those criticisms, it's one helluva post, so give it a read.
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Mike and Tom try to figure out what kind of secret sauce Arizona is feeding the media to sit at the top of the power rankings and in the middle of our DVOA rankings.