In-season coaching changes create more problems

Updated: October 25, 2005, 3:52 PM ET
By Rick Spielman | ESPN Insider
When teams continue to struggle, fans and media often start screaming for coaching changes. Minnesota head coach Mike Tice is hearing it and has already said he won't resign, and head coaches in Houston, Detroit and a few other places are starting to hear their futures discussed on talk radio, as well.

In reality, though, there are very few situations that would prompt a team to make a coaching change during the season. Last season there were changes in Miami and Cleveland, but neither was a case of the organization deciding a change was the best option.

In most cases, NFL teams will avoid firing the head coach during the season because such a change can easily create more problems than it solves. It's a tough decision for the team president or GM and ownership, and they must weigh the potential benefits against the likely repercussions.

The first, and sometimes only, question a team needs to ask itself is, what are the options? Unless there's an obvious successor waiting in the wings, it makes little sense to fire the head coach.

Rick Spielman

NFL Insider analyst
Rick Spielman joined ESPN Insider as an NFL analyst after a five-year stint in the front office of the Miami Dolphins, first as Vice President of Player Personnel and later as General Manager. He also has worked in the front offices of the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

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