Matt Rhule

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Notes: Newton, GM, Rebuild

While the Panthers and Cam Newton are clearly parting ways, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports the team may have been open to a reunion. A source tells Fowler that Carolina was open to bringing Newton back for the 2020 season, but was unwilling to extend his contract, something they expected him to want. Instead, the team signed free-agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $60MM contract that gives them a proven starter with long-term flexibility.

Here are some more notes from around the Panthers organization:

  • The assistant general manager hire in Carolina may have higher stakes than usual. Per Joseph Person of The Athletic, whoever is hired will be the successor to current general manager Marty Hurney (who extends back to the Ron Rivera regime). The Panthers, of course, moved on from Rivera this offseason and hired Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule will obviously have a lot of input on who becomes the assistant general manager as that will soon be his primary partner in player personnel decisions.
  • There does seem to be some uncertainty surrounding the short-term plan in Carolina. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports the front office has changed its tune away from a full rebuild towards a “mixed reboot.” Robinson notes that around the scouting combine the team had seemed to suggest that all players were available in trades, but that tone has, at least on the surface, shifted. Granted, Rhule could want to wait until they hire an assistant general manager.

NFC Coaching Turner, Peetz, Linguist, Harris,Whitted

Norv Turner will not be returning to the Panthers coaching staff, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Turner had served as a special assistant to former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera, of course, was recently replaced by Matt Rhule and has since taken over in Washington. While nothing has been reported, it would not be a surprise to see Turner follow Rivera to the nation’s capital to work with young quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

At the same time, Carolina blocked running backs coach Jake Peetz from interviewing for other positions, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Breer adds that Rivera wanted to take Peetz with him, but Carolina general manager Marty Hurney valued Peetz and the team decided to reward him with a promotion to quarterbacks coach.

Here’s some more notes from coaching staff’s around the NFC:

  • The Cowboys hired Texas A&M cornerbacks coach Maurice Linguist to serve as the team’s defensive backs coach alongside Al Harris. Linguist did not have a history with either head coach Mike McCarthy or defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, but his personality impressed the pair so much that they offered him the job on the same day of his interview, according to Dallas Cowboys reporter Lindsay Cash Draper. Harris had been an assistant with Kansas City, but more notably, played under McCarthy during his tenure in Green Bay at cornerback.
  • Harris’ former team will be making a change at wide receivers coach. According Rob Demovsky of ESPN, the Packers have let Alvis Whitted go and have begun the process of searching for his replacement. Whitted was hired just a year ago to join Matt LaFleur’s staff, but it appears LaFleur will be going in a different direction.

Position Coaches: Gilbride, Flaherty, Lupoi, Tolbert

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is beginning to fill out the position coaching spots in Carolina. Kevin M. Gilbride will be in charge of the team’s tight ends and Pat Flaherty is expected to be named the team’s offensive line coach, per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Gilbride has extensive experience as a tight ends coach, serving in the position with the Giants from 2014-17 and with the Bears from 2018 until he was fired last month.

The Panthers will be the fifth NFL organization to hire Flaherty as an offensive line coach. Flaherty worked as the offensive line coach from 2004-2015 with the Giants followed by a one-year stint with the 49ers, a two-year stint with the Jaguars, and a a short period with the Dolphins in 2019. While Flaherty brings a long line of experience, he was fired in Miami prior to the end of training camp after struggling to implement the team’s scheme.

  • The Falcons have named Browns defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi as the team’s defensive line coach and run game coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Lupoi was a collegiate defensive lineman at Cal, where he began his coaching career in 2008. After a stint with the University of Washington as the defensive line coach, he joined the staff at Alabama, eventually becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018. Lupoi moved to the professional coaching ranks for the first time when he joined Freddie Kitchens‘ staff prior to this season.
  • Giants new head coach Joe Judge will not be making changes to the entire coaching staff. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, reports that Judge is expected to retain wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. While New York struggled in many areas this season, the receiving corp showed impressive depth. Tolbert was credited with helping late-round pick, Darius Slayton, become a legitimate receiving option.

Extra Points: Thielen, Panthers, Falcons, Raiders

Vikings WR Adam Thielen suffered a bad cut on his ankle during Wednesday’s practice, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The cut required stitches, but the team is optimistic that he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s playoff game against the 49ers. As the reporter notes, the organization is “still gathering information and will proceed with caution.”

The wideout appeared in 10 games this season – the first time in his NFL career that he didn’t appear in all 16 regular season contests. He finished the regular season with 30 receptions for 418 yards and six scores. He had a standout game during the Vikings win over the Saints last weekend, hauling in seven receptions for 129 yards.

If Thielen was forced out of the lineup, Kirk Cousins will predictably lean on wideout Stefon Diggs. The team could also turn to the likes of Olabisi Johnson, Alexander Hollins, and Laquon Treadwell.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Panthers general manager Marty Hurney will turn to head coach Matt Rhule as the team continues to rebuild the front office. Hurney told The Athletic’s Joe Person (Twitter link) that he’ll collaborate with Rhule as the organization hunts for an assistance GM. The executive cautioned that the search could take some time.
  • The Falcons will hire Joe Whitt Jr. for a defensive position on the coaching staff, reports ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. Whitt Jr. previously served as the Browns pass-game coordinator/secondary coach, and he was Atlanata’s assistant defensive backs coach back in 2007. It’s uncertain what specific role Whitt Jr. will take on under defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
  • Vic Tafur of The Athletic opines that the Raiders should add a playmaking wideout this offseason, and he notes that the organization “really like[s]” one impending free agent: Jets receiver Robby Anderson. Current Raiders senior offensive assistant John Morton was the Jets offensive coordinator when Anderson had his most productive season in 2017.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Judge, Cowboys

Before signing a whopping seven-year, $60MM+ deal with the Panthers, coach Matt Rhule asked if the Giants were willing to match the offer. The organization ultimately passed, and co-owner John Mara said the team wasn’t comfortable paying that kind of money for a first-time NFL coach.

“For a new head coach in the NFL, I just didn’t think that was a reasonable way to go,” Mara told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (Twitter link). The executive noted that the organization was also already excited about the prospect of hiring Joe Judge.

We heard yesterday that the Giants asked Rhule to meet with them in person, but Rhule pressed for a more definitive answer. When the Giants informed him that they would not match on the money or length of the deal, Rhule cancelled his Giants interview and accepted the Panthers offer, out of fear that owner David Tepper would pivot to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Let’s check out some more notes out of the NFC East…

  • Speaking of Judge, when Mara first met with the former Patriots ST coordinator, he wasn’t “really expecting all that much because I didn’t really know him” (via Vacchiano on Twitter). When asked if Judge was on Mara’s initial list of candidates, the executive gave a candid response: “If you asked me a week ago, 10 days ago, I would have said it probably would have been a long shot.”
  • Texas associate head coach and run game coordinator Stan Drayton was scheduled to meet with the Cowboys today, as ESPN’s Todd Archer passes along. Drayton does have a connection to the offense, as he coached Ezekiel Elliott back at Ohio State. The 48-year-old also previously served as the Bears running back coach. Archer adds that running backs coach Gary Brown could still return to the organization.
  • In case you missed it, former Redskins’ senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams will now serve as senior vice president of player development. The organization also parted ways with football operations vice president Eric Schaffer.

David Tepper Non-Committal On Cam Newton’s Panthers Future

Cam Newton is recovering from foot surgery and has one season remaining on his Panthers contract. Team owner David Tepper did not halt speculation that the former MVP will be traded.

While the second-year owner obviously did not indicate Newton would not be part of the 2020 Panthers, the prospect of the 30-year-old quarterback being dealt did not decrease after Matt Rhule‘s introductory presser.

Every player that buys into this, the more they buy into this, the more things can work,” Tepper said. “And that’s what we’re going to need here, is buy-in from people, OK? If we can get that kind of buy in sooner rather than later, no matter what the personnel is. We will try to use our personnel to the best possible [advantage], whoever that personnel is.”

Rhule stopped short of saying he wanted Cam Newton back but noted (via ESPN’s David Newton) he “certainly looks forward” to working with the nine-year veteran. The former Temple and Baylor HC did not articulate a precise course of action for the Panthers at the quarterback position, per GM Marty Hurney.

That’s something that we are going to have to sit down and talk about the whole time,” Hurney said. “But, you know, we’ve got a guy that was MVP of the NFL. [Rhule] knows that. This is all going to be a process. He’s going to have to get to know these guys and the roster.”

After an initial surge, the Panthers cratered without Newton this season. But losing their final eight games puts the Panthers in the No. 7 spot. That may be in range to nab a quarterback. However, the Dolphins and Chargers at Nos. 5-6 are prime landing spots for Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. Carolina moving Newton would supply the franchise with more draft capital for a potential trade-up while also running the risk of thrusting a team with several accomplished veterans into quarterback no man’s land.

Newton is attached to a manageable $18.6MM salary next season. Depending on how/when he recovers from his foot procedure, the former Heisman winner’s status with Carolina will be one of the offseason’s defining storylines.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Matt Rhule Preferred Giants To Panthers?

On Tuesday, Matt Rhule signed on as the new coach of the Panthers. However, the former Baylor head coach preferred the Giants job, according to a source who spoke with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY

After receiving a whopping seven-year, $62MM offer from the Panthers – a deal that could reach $70MM, through incentives – Rhule called the Giants to see if they would be willing to match. The Giants asked Rhule to meet with them in person, but Rhule pressed for a more definitive answer. When the Giants informed him that they would not match on the money or length of the deal, Rhule cancelled his Giants interview and accepted the Panthers offer, out of fear that owner David Tepper would pivot to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

In the weeks leading up to the hire of Joe Judge, Rhule was the Giants’ top target in their search. However, the Giants insist that they preferred the Patriots assistant, even when putting finances aside. Judge floored the Giants in his interview and Vacchiano hears that he came with a sterling recommendation from Bill Belichick.

It doesn’t matter how we got here,” one team source told Vacchiano. “We feel we got the right guy. And I think everyone will be happy in the end.”

Ron Rivera was also linked to the Giants job by many, due to his history with GM Dave Gettleman. The Giants had interest in the 58-year-old, but Vacchiano hears that he was not considered a priority, even before he was hired by the rival Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Rhule, Giants, Cowboys

Even after Joe Judge‘s standout interview Monday led to him becoming the Giants‘ head coach, the franchise still had Matt Rhule as their preferred candidate. The Panthers‘ seven-year, $62MM offer to the Baylor head coach essentially prompted the Giants to fold their hand on this front, with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY noting Big Blue balked at the contract length and salary. Rhule’s $8.9MM salary makes him the sixth-highest-paid coach in the league — behind Bill Belichick ($12MM per year), Pete Carroll ($11MM AAV), Jon Gruden ($10MM), Sean Payton ($9.8MM) and John Harbaugh ($9MM). The Panthers also paid Baylor a $6MM buyout, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Just months ago, Rhule agreed to an extension with the Big 12 program.

Here is the latest from the coaching front:

  • In addition to missing out on the Ron Rivera boat, the Giants wanted to speak with Mike McCarthy again, Vacchiano adds. The Cowboys swooping in prevented such an opportunity.
  • Big Blue received a ringing Judge endorsement from Belichick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The former Giants defensive coordinator and six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach called the Giants to sell them on Judge’s credentials, despite his non-traditional candidacy as a special teams coordinator.
  • Shifting to McCarthy’s Cowboys staff, the team is expected to hire Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to the same position, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Fassel’s contract was up. The second-generation NFL coach will relocate to Dallas after spending eight seasons with the Rams. Fassel came over from the Raiders in 2012, when Jeff Fisher took over in St. Louis, and stayed on with Sean McVay‘s team for three seasons. Fassel served as Rams interim HC in 2016, after the franchise fired Fisher. The Rams are losing their DC and ST coordinators, with Wade Phillips also out of the picture.
  • Other candidates have surfaced to relocate to Texas. Cowboys assistants expect Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan to be named Dallas’ new defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Nolan was the 49ers’ head coach in 2005, when McCarthy served as San Francisco’s OC. Additionally, Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula is on McCarthy’s radar, per Pelissero (on Twitter). Tomsula was the 49ers’ HC in 2015 and has been the Redskins’ D-line coach since 2017.
  • The Bengals and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons have agreed to an extension, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). A longtime Dolphins ST boss, Simmons interviewed for the Bengals’ HC job last year and joined Cincinnati’s staff as a key assistant after the top job went to Zac Taylor. Despite Cincinnati’s 2-14 record, the team ranked first in special teams DVOA under its first-year leader.

Panthers To Hire Matt Rhule

The Panthers have agreed to hire Matt Rhule as their next head coach, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The Panthers came to terms with the Baylor head coach shortly after meeting with him. Clearly, they did not want him to get on a plane to New York and risk losing him to the Giants, who reportedly had him at the top of their list

Rhule will receive a seven-year deal worth $60MM, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The pact also includes $10MM in incentives that could boost the overall value to $70MM. It’s an eye-popping contract, given Rhule’s lack of pro experience, and positions him as one of the highest-paid coaches in the league. The Panthers will also have to take care of Rhule’s buyout with Baylor, which is believed to be upwards of $15MM.

The two sides are currently hashing out terms of a deal. Once finalized, the deal will likely place him in the top half of NFL head coaching salaries, even though Rhule has limited pro experience.

Rhule’s sole season in the NFL came with the Giants, where he served as an assistant offensive line coach in 2012. As a college coach, Rhule went 47-43 in seven seasons at Temple and Baylor. That record doesn’t necessarily jump off of the page, but NFL teams have taken notice of Baylor’s quick turnaround from the Art Briles era under Rhule’s watch.

Baylor went 1-11 in Rhule’s first season at the helm in 2017, but, this year, the Bears reached the Sugar Bowl. Baylor lost to Georgia, but that had no bearing on Rhule’s red-hot candidacy. The Panthers and Giants were both gung-ho on him and he also rejected an opportunity to interview for the Browns’ post.

Rhule takes the place of Ron Rivera, who was fired after eight-plus seasons as the Panthers’ head coach. The Panthers are coming off of a challenging season, but there’s plenty of talent for Rhule to work with. In Carolina, the focus now shifts to the future of Cam Newton, who could be let go as a part of the team’s rebuilding efforts.

Rhule, 44, is now the fifth coach in franchise history, following Rivera, John FoxGeorge Seifert, and Dom Capers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.