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The Worst NFL Coaches of All Time

Updated January 28, 2021 5.9k votes 870 voters 23.6k views42 items

The worst NFL coaches of all time include highly talented offensive coordinators, skilled positional coaches, and even NCAA Football champions, but when each of these men were given their shot at being a head coach in the National Football League, they simply couldn't cut it. You think your coach is bad for missing the playoffs this year? Remember that it could be so much worse.

These coaches didn't just do poorly, they tallied some of the worst seasons in NFL history. Who can forget the Detroit Lions going 0-16 in 2008 under head coach Rod Marinelli? The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not much better as head coach John McKay and quarterback Steve Spurrier, who also made this list for his dreadful experience coaching the Washington Redskins 25 years later, finished the year with an unimpressive 0-14 record.

For as many things as these coaches did wrong in the NFL, many of them have done other great things at other levels. Nick Saban is perhaps the best example of that when he went from winning the college football national championship with the LSU Tigers, then led two losing seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins before returning to the collegiate ranks to take Alabama to three title games in four years. Certainly the case could be made that Saban may be among the worst head coaches in NFL history but he's also one of the best in NCAA Football as well.

Then there's a whole 'nother way to look at coaches and say that they're the worst, for things they did off the field that were detrimental. Sure Greg Williams' 3-13 season with the Buffalo Bills was bad, but his involvement in the 2012 New Orleans Saints bounty scandal is what put him high on this list.

So for whatever these coaches did, or failed to do, that put them on this list, they serve as a good reminder of exactly how hard it is to be a professional football coach in the National Football League. If nothing else, it surely makes for some good football - that is, if you're rooting for the opposing team.

  • Robert Patrick Petrino (born March 10, 1961) is an American football coach and former player. He most recently served as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals football team from 2014 until being fired during the 2018 season. From 2008 to 2011, Petrino was the head football coach at the University of Arkansas. He was dismissed from that position in the spring of 2012 "with cause". Petrino also coached the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) for the first 13 games of the 2007 season, quitting to take the head coaching job of the Arkansas Razorbacks. As a result of this, he is widely considered one of the worst NFL coaching hires in history. He spent the 2013 season as...  more
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    Richard Edward Kotite (born October 13, 1942) is a former National Football League player and coach....  more
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    Marty Mornhinweg ( morn-HEN-wig; born March 29, 1962) is an American football coach and former player. He most recently served as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL) from 2016 to 2018. Previously he was the Ravens' quarterbacks coach, the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2001 to 2002, and the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2012....  more
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  • Lane Monte Kiffin (born May 9, 1975) is an American football coach who is currently the head football coach at Florida Atlantic University. Kiffin formerly served as the offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans football team from 2005 to 2006, head coach of the National Football League's Oakland Raiders from 2007 to 2008, head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers college football team in 2009, and head coach of the Trojans from 2010 to 2013. He was the youngest head coach in modern NFL history at the time when he joined the Raiders (until in 2017 when Sean McVay joined the Rams), and, for a time, was the youngest head coach of a BCS Conference team in college football. Kiffin...  more
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