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22 Facts About The Legacy of a Head Coach

Taking a long term perspective of quarterbacks, coaches and success.

Mitchell Layton

There have been over 250 NFL head coaches during the Super Bowl era.

2. 29 have won a Super Bowl.

3. 12 have multiple Super Bowls.

4. 4 of those have won a third Super Bowl.

Or another way to look at it....

5. Around 11% of head coaches that come into the NFL win a Super Bowl.

6. 41% of those coaches win another Super Bowl.

7. 33% of those coaches win a third Super Bowl.

As in most dimensions of the historical record, the odds favor winners to repeat.

But - you may be asking yourself - what if a coach doesn't have a certain marquee player - let's say, one like John Elway - who led his coach to all of his Super Bowls?

Good question.

Well, let's take a look at John Elway, as an example - and, for the sake of arguments, let's also look at his coordinator before he was his head coach, Mike Shanahan.

8. John Elway played 16 seasons in the NFL

9. Of those 16 seasons, Elway reached the Super Bowl 5 times.

10. Of those 5 Super Bowls, Elway won 2.

11. Mike Shanahan coached John Elway for 10 full seasons

o 5 as his OC, 1 as his QBC and 4 as his HC

12. During those 10 full seasons, John Elway played in 4 Super Bowls.

o The only other year Elway made it to the Super Bowl, 1989 was a year that Mike Shanahan returned to the Broncos mid-season to be a QB's coach after being fired as the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Raiders

13. In the 6 years that Elway did not play under Shanahan for the entirety of the season, the Hall of Fame Quarterback posted a 55% winning percentage.

14. During the 10 full seasons Elway played with Shanahan, the Hall of Fame Quarterback posted a 71% winning percentage.

15. In the 4 seasons Elway played with Shanahan as his HC, he posted a 73% regular season winning percentage went 7 and 1 in the playoffs and won 2 Super Bowls.

But that's just one player's story. Let's look at another.

16. Steve Young played 15 seasons in the NFL.

17. Mike Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for Young during 3 of those seasons.

18. Steve Young posted an astounding 66% winning percentage throughout his NFL career;

o His team made the playoffs 11 times and he won a Super Bowl in 1994.

19. During the 3 seasons Young played with Shanahan as his coordinator, he posted a 77% winning percentage, a 5-2 record in the playoffs and won a Super Bowl.

20. Mike Shanahan has coached in some role in the NFL for 24 seasons. In that time, his team has reached 6 Super Bowls and he has won 3.

As many point out...

21. All 6 of the occasions in which Shanahan reached the Super Bowl, his team was guided by a Hall of Fame quarterback.

The numbers tell truth. So yes, you're right - Tony Kornheiser and everyone else with a microphone and a prompt to talk about Mike Shanahan - "he hasn't done jack [___]" without a HOF QB to run his offense.

But exactly how many Super Bowls did the 2 HOF QBs Shanahan coached reach without him?

I'll give you a hint:

22. It's not one.


Take away the years Shanahan was Steve Young's offensive coordinator. He's Dan Marino.

Take away the four years John Elway's played under Shanahan as his head coach and his career suddenly looks an awful lot like Jim Kelly's (albeit with a 4-point lower career passer-rating).

I don't know about you, but I believe this Griffin kid will one day grace the halls of Canton, Ohio. Forget the numbers. If you we've been watching the games, you've seen the Redskins #10 run, put the ball in people's hands, and put the ball in people's hands while on the run. Incredible.

We should not squabble - this season, next. We should ebulliently await the next movement. What follows is the portion of Robert Griffin III's career where he will have played under the tutelage of the great, Mike Shanahan.