As the New York Giants continue to search for a head coach to replace Tom Coughlin many fans are turning their noses up at the idea of hiring someone like former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone or ex-Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith. Familiarity can breed contempt, and since these guys are known commodities we have not only seen their good qualities as head coaches, but their flaws have been exposed as well.
Everybody wants the hot new guy. The Giants "lost" out by not getting Adam Gase. They need to hire New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. They need somebody new. This is the backup quarterback argument all over again. The unknown is always new, exciting and everybody wants it -- until the backup quarterback plays and fans find out he stinks, or the untried coach comes in and you realize he's Ray Handley.
I am not saying the Giants need to or should hire someone who has been an NFL coach previously. I am saying that experience is a great teacher, and the NFL is filled with examples of great coaches who were not successful in their first, or second, opportunities.
Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is, of course, example No. 1. Belichick had one winning season in five years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He has four Super Bowl titles in New England is now considered one of the best coaches of all time.
Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks was just another middling coach with the New York Jets and the Patriots. Many thought Seattle was crazy when it plucked Carroll out of the college ranks in 2010. That seems to be working out pretty well.
John Fox of the Chicago Bears is on his third NFL stop with the Chicago Bears. He has had successes and failures with both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
Gary Kubiak just took the Broncos to a 12-4 record after up-and-down years with the Houston Texans.
Coughlin himself had initial success with the Jacksonville Jaguars but had three losing seasons in a row there before being fired.
These are just a few examples of coaches who learned from early stops and became better coaches in second or third opportunities at the job. It isn't meant to say that Marrone, Mike Smith, Lovie Smith or Josh McDaniels would have similar success if the Giants were to hire them. Just that the idea of hiring any of them isn't ridiculous, and that simply because there are blemishes on a guy's record doesn't mean he can't succeed when he gets his next opportunity. Experience, especially imperfect experience, can be a great teacher.
A first-time head coach might also be the answer. Nobody can say for sure. Like rookies on the field, though, first-time coaches also make rookie mistakes. Will the Giants end up putting their faith in a first-time coach like Ben McAdoo, or go with a known quantity? There are good reasons for both.