In light of the Minnesota Vikings firing Brad Childress earlier today, many Washington Redskins fans are concerned that the Vikings will come out firing on all cylinders under new coach Leslie Frazier when the two teams play next week. The theory is that all the bad karma from the first 11 weeks will be forgotten, and the Vikings will play their hearts out for their new coach.
This sentiment is probably best expressed by SB Nation's Redskins blog Hogs Haven.
This does not help the Redskins going into next week. Players always play harder for their new coach (see Dallas).
The Cowboys, of course, are the recent example of this trend. They routed the New York Giants 33-20 in Jason Garrett's first game on the job. But as it turns out, the Cowboys are actually the major anomaly. The truth is that interim coaches have been pretty bad in recent history in their first games on the job.
(Data via Pro Football Reference).
Brad Childress is the 17th coach to be fired in the middle of the season since 2000. Since 2000, the other 16 new interim coaches are just 3-13 in their first game on the job. Many times, they haven't even been competitive. Since 2000, new coaches' teams have been outscored by a combined 459-257 margin, an average of over 12 points a game.
Now, granted, these numbers are a bit skewed. Teams that fire their head coaches tend to be bad teams, and bad teams don't usually win no matter who is coaching them. The teams have also played mostly good teams, which also skews the results. Still, the data is inescapably clear here. Maybe the Vikings are different, but past history shows that NFL teams rarely get that inspirational bump in their first game after firing their head coach.
Here are the full results:
- 2010: Jason Garrett replaces Wade Phillips for Cowboys: W 33-20 at NY Giants
- 2009: Perry Fewell replaces Dick Jauron for the Bills: L 18-15 at Jacksonville
- 2008: Mike Singletary replaces Mike Nolan for the 49ers: L 34-13 vs. Seattle
- 2008: Tom Cable replaces Lane Kiffin for Raiders: L 34-3 at New Orleans
- 2008: Jim Haslett replaces Scott Linehan for the Rams: W 19-17 at Washington
- 2007: Emmitt Thomas replaces Bobby Petrino for the Falcons: L 37-3 at Tampa Bay
- 2005: Dick Jauron replaces Steve Marriucci for the Lions: L 21-16 vs. Minnesota
- 2005: Joe Vitt replaces Mike Martz for the Rams: L 45-28 at Indianapolis
- 2004: Terry Robiskie replaces Butch Davis for the Browns: L 58-48 at Cincinnati
- 2004: Jim Bates replaces Dave Wannstedt for the Dolphins: L 24-17 at Seattle
- 2003: Wade Phillips replaces Dan Reeves for the Falcons: L 38-7 at Indianapolis
- 2001: Mike Tice replaces Dennis Green for the Vikings: L 19-3 at Baltimore
- 2000: Dick LeBeau replaces Bruce Coslett for the Bengals: L 31-16 vs. Miami
- 2000: Dave McGinnis replaces Vince Tobin for the Cardinals: L 21-10 vs. New Orleans
- 2000: Gary Moeller replaces Barry Ross for the Lions: W 13-10 vs. Atlanta Falcons
- 2000: Terry Robiskie replaces Norv Turner for the Redskins: L 32-13 at Dallas