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Do NFL head coaches who return to teams they left work out?

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

A lot of the talk about Tom Coughlin returning to the Jacksonville Jaguars as the head coach has made me think about a lot of things I never really considered previously in other coaching searches the Jaguars have had. I questioned if Coughlin would have issues building a coaching staff in a previous write up, given most of “his guys” are still employed by the New York Giants in roles that would likely end up as lateral moves to the Jaguars if Coughlin were to try to sign them. Another thing I hadn’t really explored was explored in a Reddit post on /r/Jaguars, which was how successful coaches were that returned to their previous teams.

We all know about Joe Gibbs returning to Washington and how it was sort of successful while simultaneously not successful, but sure there are others who had success right?

Not really.

Reddit user /u/tcjsavannah posted an image of the records of coaches who returned to their previous teams and someone in the comments wondered what the teams looked like prior-to and after they left from their second stint, so I decided to finish that out and look into it. Here are the results.

As you can see, there really isn’t much success in bringing someone back. Most of these situations seemed to be on an interim basis and then later on getting the job, but returning to the same team doesn’t really end you up with success. Then again, most of these coaches didn’t even have initial success with their teams so the chances are they were just actually bad coaches. Coughlin also is different than Gibbs because he’s only been out of the league a single season, rather than a full decade.

Overall it doesn’t mean anything, but I thought it was something interesting to look at.