How Well Do First Year NFL Head Coaches Do?

How Well Do First Year NFL Head Coaches Do?
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Patience is not a virtue among many NFL owners apparently. For the second straight season in 2022, the NFL will have 10 new head coaches on the sidelines.

A year ago, when there were also 10 new head coaches, in each case the new guy in charge had no previous NFL head coaching experience.

This coming season, the 10 coaches with new jobs are split on their resumes — five have previously been head coaches in the NFL, and five are taking on the pressure-packed job for the first time. Among the latter group is the latest New York Giants head coach, Brian Daboll, who takes over a team most New York sportsbooks have around +200 to make the playoffs.

The colorful Bum Phillips, who was a head coach in Houston with the Oilers and in New Orleans, was known to have said, “There are two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired.”

With the Giants in recent years, the expiration dates on head coaches have arrived quickly. Daboll is the fourth Giants head coach to start a season in the last seven campaigns (there was even an interim coach squeezed in during that time).

It remains to be seen whether Daboll can establish the stability and success that Tom Coughlin did over 11 seasons going 102-90 in the regular season and winning two Super Bowls from 2004 through 2015. However, the history of first-year coaches speak to the challenge of the job.

EmpireStakes.com utilized ProFootballReference.com to determine the statistics and trends that we found by gathering all 49 seasons of first-year NFL head coaches in their first HC role since 2010.

Eliminated were any NFL head coaches that had previous head coaching positions prior to 2010 and any interim head coaches.

New York NFL betting will be sure to keep a close eye on each coach and their respective team throughout the season.

Trends of First Year NFL Head Coaches in Their First Season Since 2010*

Average W-L Record Average Against The Spread Record % of Teams That Made Playoffs % of Teams That Made Divisional Round
6-10** 7-8-1 22.4%8.2%

*Coaches with previous NFL head coach positions and interim head coaches were eliminated

** Rounded to the nearest whole number


Below .500 Record for First Year Head Coaches

The cumulative average won-loss record for first year head coaches since 2010 was 6-10. Getting to the playoffs is often considered the gold standard of success and certainly seen as a triumph for a first-time ever NFL head coach and 22.4% reached that goal in the study.  And 8.2% took the next step and made it to at least the playoff Divisional Round.  

From a wagering perspective, betting on teams coached by first-time head coaches was a lukewarm experience. They were 7-8-1 against the spread. Among first-time head coaches since 2010 who fared the best was Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. 

Harbaugh, fresh off the sidelines at Stanford University, arrived in San Francisco, which went 6-10 the previous season, with Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator and Vic Fangio as the defensive coordinator. Both have had distinguished coaching careers.

In addition, Harbaugh inherited quarterback Alex Smith, who had an underappreciated stellar year as the 49ers went 13-3 in the regular season and advanced to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants.

Taking Over a Proven Team

Since 2010, the only other first-time head coach who went as far as the conference title game was Matt Lafleur with Green Bay in 2019. LaFleur of course had the benefit of having future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers went 13-3 and lost in the NFC championship to the 49ers. The Packers under Lafleur have also had a steady presence across New York Super Bowl betting.

Last year, among the 10 first time NFL head coaches, only one got his team into the playoffs, Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni, with the Eagles getting bounced by Tom Brady and Tampa Bay in the Wild Card Round.

Besides Daboll with the Giants, the other four first-time head coaches are: Matt Eberflus in Chicago, Nathaniel Hackett in Denver, Mike McDaniel in Miami and Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota.

The five new coaches with previous HC experience are Lovie Smith (Houston), Doug Pederson (Jacksonville), Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas), Dennis Allen (New Orleans) and Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay).

You cannot bet on NY sports betting apps for individual awards per state regulations, but FanDuel Sportsbook has Daboll at +1400 to win AP Coach of the Year.

First Year NFL Head Coaches in 2022

Coach Last Season’s Record Super Bowl Odds
Todd Bowles, Buccaneers 13-4 +700
Nathaniel Hackett, Broncos 7-10 +1600
Mike McDaniel, Dolphins 9-8 +4000
Kevin O'Connell, Vikings 8-9 +4000
Josh McDaniels, Raiders 10-7 +4000
Dennis Allen, Saints 9-8 +4000
Brian Daboll, Giants 4-13 +13000
Doug Pederson, Jaguars 3-14 +13000
Matt Eberflus, Bears 6-11 +15000
Lovie Smith, Texans 4-13 +25000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook NY


Daboll Needs to Fix the QB Position

For Daboll to extend his stay with the Giants, he’ll have to get a lot better play from his quarterback, whether that turns out to be presumptive starter Daniel Jones or veteran backup Tyrod Taylor.

Daboll’s most recent stay was in Buffalo, where he was the offensive coordinator for an attack led by emerging superstar QB Josh Allen. Daboll has been credited for Allen’s development and obviously, there’s hope in New York that he can do something similar with Jones. Daboll has also worked for the New England Patriots and the University of Alabama and those championship-caliber experiences don’t hurt.

BetMGM Sportsbook NY odds imply an expected win total at about seven for the Giants (the over-6.5 wins is minus-135, the under-6.5 wins is plus-115). So, the wagering reality is that 7-10 would seem to mean that Daboll has met the oddmakers’ expectations in his first year. However, that doesn’t mean it’ll meet Giants’ fans expectations.

Remember to use EmpireStakes,com for updates during the NFL season as well as for the top NY sportsbook promo codes.

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Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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