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The Indianapolis Colts naming Jeff Saturday as their new head coach is a slap to the face of every NFL assistant coach. The drinking buddy of Colts owner Jim Irsay, Saturday is a former player with no relevant coaching experience. NFL head coaches toil as assistants before getting their big break as coordinators. It is supposed to be a system of merit. But time and time again, white privilege reigns supreme.
Kliff Kingsbury posted a mediocre 35-40 record in six seasons at Texas Tech and was rewarded with the head coaching gig with the Arizona Cardinals. He has compiled a 27-30-1 mark in the NFL with one winning season in four years. Imagine that.
Now come Saturday, whose only coaching credentials is guiding his son’s high school football team to a 20-16 card. Rich people doling out high-profile jobs to unqualified friends isn’t new. It happens annually in the NFL with general managers hiring friends and head coaches putting their sons on the payroll. The league has a long history of hiring incompetent coaches, and nothing has changed.
The number of NFL teams hiring awful head coaches is an extensive list. Here are five head coaches who should never have been hired.
Bill Peterson, Houston Oilers (1-18)
Peterson joined a small group of head coaches who have called the shots in high school, college, and the NFL when he was hired by the Houston Oilers in 1972. However, the team finished 1-13 in Peterson’s first season, and he was let go after starting the 1973 season with five consecutive losses. His .053 winning percentage is the lowest for any coach after the NFL/AFL merger who has coached an entire season.
Rod Rust, New England Patriots (1-15)
Rust’s short tenure as head coach of the Patriots started well with a narrow loss to the Miami Dolphins in the season-opening game. New England edged the Indianapolis Colts in their second game before embarking on a 14-game losing streak to tie the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the most consecutive losses in a single season. He was fired days after the 1990 regular season ended.
Cam Cameron, Miami Dolphins (1-15)
Cameron was a successful NFL offensive coordinator when he replaced Nick Saban at the helm of the Dolphins in 2007. Miami opened the season with a 13-game losing skid before claiming an overtime victory against the Baltimore Ravens for their lone win of the season. Less than a week after the season ended, Cameron and most of his coaching staff were fired.
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns (3-36-1)
Jackson’s record is worse than it looks since he posted a 1-31 mark in his first two seasons. To be fair, the Browns were rebuilding and featured an awful roster with numerous poor draft picks. But Jackson, who went 8-8 during his lone season with the Oakland Raiders, failed to lead Cleveland to a road win in 20 games and deserves his share of the blame for two of the worst seasons in NFL history.
Pete McCulley, San Francisco 49ers (1-8)
McCulley lasted just nine games in his first and only season as head coach of the 49ers. Four of San Francisco’s losses under McCulley were by seven points or less, and the team lost five of their last six games to finish with the worst record in the league. He was later sent a $25 check from Reader’s Digest for a quote he made when asked if he was surprised about his abrupt firing. McCulley answered, “No, I haven’t been surprised since I found out ice cream cones weren’t filled all the way to the bottom.”