Depending on how you look at it, 2009 was either a bad year for NFL coaches or a good one. There were 11 openings going into the '09 season, which meant several head coaches lost their jobs. On the other hand, 11 other coaches found employment, some of them getting the big job for the first time.
One of them, of course, was Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. After a rough 2-14 rookie season, Schwartz has led the Lions to steady improvement, including a 10-6 record and wild card playoff spot in his third year on the job.
That performance has made Schwartz stand out among his peers in the coaching class of 2009. Four head coaches who were hired around the same time were fired at the end of this season. The Chiefs let Todd Haley go, the Buccaneers dismissed Raheem Morris, the Rams canned Steve Spagnuolo, and this week, Jim Caldwell was fired by the Colts.
As Andrew Siciliano pointed out on NFL Network, Caldwell's dismissal meant that nine of those 11 coaches hired in 2009 have been fired. The other five were Josh McDaniels (Broncos), Tom Cable (Raiders), Jim Mora Jr. (Seahawks), Mike Singletary (49ers) and Eric Mangini (Browns).
The only other coach left standing besides Schwartz is Rex Ryan of the Jets. And after this season's disappointing 8-8 showing, Ryan will likely have to show significant improvement with his team next season to keep his job. Without some housecleaning on that roster, the chances for a turnaround don't look that strong.
Meanwhile, Detroit looks to be a team on the rise. Obviously, fortunes can change fast in the NFL, and if the Lions suffer a setback next season, questions might start to surround Schwartz. But if the Lions continue improving (especially on defense), he should stick around and continue to outlast his colleagues from the class of '09.
(via Shutdown Corner)