Has a head coach actually gotten fired within three years of winning a Super Bowl?
It’s a fascinating question with a fascinating answer. Especially considering the Eagles’ current situation.
As the Eagles’ miserable 2020 season sputters to an end, Doug Pederson’s future hangs in limbo. Although there’s no indication that Jeff Lurie is thinking about firing him, a 4-10-1 season raises a lot of questions.
The last time the Eagles won five or fewer games and the head coach wasn’t in his first or second season and didn’t get fired (or resign) was 1939.
It’s hard to believe it got this bad this fast.
It was just three years ago the Eagles were about to embark on a historic run that culminated in their 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Now? We’re all wondering about Pederson’s fate.
To get a sense of how much equity winning a Super Bowl brings a head coach, we took a look at every head coach that’s ever won a Super Bowl and the circumstances that eventually led to them leaving the job.
There have been 54 Super Bowls won by 33 different coaches. Sixteen either retired on their own or resigned voluntarily. Seven are still coaching the team they won the Super Bowl with.
That leaves only 10 Super Bowl-winning coaches who were eventually fired by the team they won the Super Bowl with.
Only two of them were fired within six years of winning the Lombardi Trophy. And one of the two wasn’t technically fired.
Pederson is three years removed from winning the Lombardi.
So if he is fired, he’d be the third-fastest Super Bowl winner to be fired.
Who got canned faster?
McCafferty replaced Don Shula as head coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1970 and led them to an 11-2-1 record and a 16-13 win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V at the Orange Bowl.
A year later, the Colts went 10-4 under McCafferty, losing to Shula’s Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game.
So after two seasons, the Colts were 21-6-1 with one championship and an appearance in the conference title game.
In 1972, McCafferty’s third season, the Colts got off to a 1-4 start and owner Robert Irsay told McCafferty to bench 39-year-old Johnny Unitas and replace him with Marty Domres.
McCafferty refused and Irsay fired him on the spot, just 21 months after the Super Bowl.
McCafferty became head coach of the Lions the next year and went 6-7-1 but died tragically the following summer after suffering a heart attack. He was only 53.
Although they didn’t call it a firing, it really was.
Seifert coached the 49ers from 1989 through 1996. His teams averaged 12.3 wins per year, never won fewer than 10 games, reached the playoffs all but one year and his .766 winning percentage was second-highest in NFL history.
He led the 49ers to Super Bowls after the 1989 and 1994 seasons, the first with Joe Montana, the second with Steve Young.
But just two years after the second championship, 49ers management informed Seifert that they planned to replace him after the 1997 season with offensive coordinator Steve Mariucci.
Seifert didn't like the arrangement, so he resigned instead of becoming a lame duck So not technically a firing but close enough.
Here’s a look at the other Super Bowl coaches who’ve been fired:
Six more years
Jon Gruden (Buccaneers): Gruden’s Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2002, his first year in Tampa. He coached six more years without a playoff win before getting fired after the 2008 season. Including his current stint with the Raiders, he’s gone nine straight years without a postseason victory.
Seven years after the Super Bowl
Hank Stram (Chiefs): Stram won the Super Bowl in 1969 and lasted seven more seasons before getting fired after a third straight losing season.
Mike Ditka (Bears): The Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985 in Ditka’s fourth season in Chicago. He coached seven more years, winning just two playoff games, before getting fired after the 1992 season.
Brian Billick (Ravens): Billick’s Ravens won the Super Bowl in his second year, in 2000. He coached seven more years, winning one playoff game, before getting axed after the 2007 season.
Eight years after the Super Bowl
Mike McCarthy (Packers): McCarthy’s Super Bowl title came in 2010, his fifth year with the Packers. He wasn’t fired until Week 13 of the 2018 season.
10 years after the Super Bowl
Tom Landry (Cowboys): Landry guided the Cowboys to Super Bowl championships after the 1971 and 1977 seasons. He coached 10 more years before getting fired after losing to the Eagles on the last day of the 1988 season. The Cowboys didn’t win a playoff game in his last six seasons.
Mike Shanahan (Broncos): Shanahan’s Super Bowls came in 1997 and 1998. He coached 10 more years (winning just one playoff game) before getting fired after the 2008 season.