Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

The NFL is a league of relative parity, one where a perennial contender can bottom out practically overnight and a team expected to finish at the bottom of its division can win it — just ask the 2013 Texans and Panthers, respectively. As such, it’s probably not a surprise that NFL head coaches’ jobs are rarely safe, with most coaches around the league just one or two underachieving seasons away from being replaced.

Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, as is the case in New England, where Bill Belichick is preparing to begin his 15th season as head coach of the Patriots. However, while there are several long-tenured coaches across the NFL, most men in the position are relative newcomers. More than half of the league’s 32 coaches have only been under contract since 2012, and seven have yet to coach a single game for their new clubs.

A coach like Belichick has such a proven track record that a poor 2014 season wouldn’t jeopardize his job. But there are several names on the list below whose longevity may be surprising, and who may be entering make-or-break years. Consider Joe Philbin of the Dolphins and Dennis Allen of the Raiders, who were hired just four days apart and are in the middle of the pack for longevity — disappointing ’14 results in Miami or Oakland may have Philbin and Allen printing new résumés in December.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with the month and year in which they assumed the role:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals): January 14, 2003
  3. Tom Coughlin (New York Giants): January 6, 2004
  4. Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers): January 12, 2006
  5. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  6. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 22, 2007
  7. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  8. Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 24, 2008
  9. Rex Ryan (New York Jets): January 19, 2009
  10. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  11. Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys): November 8, 2010 (interim; permanent since January 2011)
  12. Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco 49ers): January 7, 2011
  13. Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers): January 11, 2011
  14. John Fox (Denver Broncos): January 13, 2011
  15. Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams): January 13, 2012
  16. Joe Philbin (Miami Dolphins): January 20, 2012
  17. Dennis Allen (Oakland Raiders): January 24, 2012
  18. Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts): January 25, 2012
  19. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  20. Doug Marrone (Buffalo Bills): January 6, 2013
  21. Mike McCoy (San Diego Chargers): January 15, 2013
  22. Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles): January 16, 2013
  23. Marc Trestman (Chicago Bears): January 16, 2013
  24. Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals): January 17, 2013
  25. Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 17, 2013
  26. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  27. Lovie Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 2, 2014
  28. Jay Gruden (Washington Redskins): January 9, 2014
  29. Ken Whisenhunt (Tennessee Titans): January 13, 2014
  30. Jim Caldwell (Detroit Lions): January 14, 2014
  31. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  32. Mike Pettine (Cleveland Browns): January 23, 2014
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