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Other AFC East Head Coaches During The Belichick Era

A photo from the last era when the Bills were AFC East champs

A photo from the last era when the Bills were AFC East champs

Bill Belichick has made life difficult on the rest of the AFC East for the last 15 years. In 2001, he won his first Super Bowl with the Patriots, and then won another two years later. Since then, the AFC East has had almost constant turnover, with each other franchise trying to find its own Belichick.

  • In 2004, the Bills hired Mike Mularkey. He went 14-18 in two years.
  • In 2005, the Dolphins hired Belichick affiliate Nick Saban. He went 15-17 in two years.
  • In 2006, the Jets got in on the act, and hired a Belichick disciple, Eric Mangini. He went 23-25 in three years. That same year, Buffalo moved on from Mularkey and hired Dick Jauron, who went 24-33.
  • In 2007, the Dolphins hired Cam Cameron as the answer to the team’s offensive woes, who went… 1-15.
  • In 2009, the Jets hired Rex Ryan, who went 46-50 in six years in New York, the longest tenure of any non-Belichick coach in the AFC East since 2000.
  • In 2010, the Bills were back in the market, and hired Chan Gailey. In three years with Buffalo, Gailey went 16-32.
  • In 2011…. no AFC East team made a coaching change! The Jets were in the middle of the peak of the Ryan era, Buffalo just had Gailey, and the Dolphins had not yet given up on Sparano. Of course, before the end of the season, Miami had moved on, and Todd Bowles finished the season as interim head coach.
  • In 2012, the Dolphins hired Joe Philbin as the answer to the team’s offensive woes. He went 24-28 in Miami.
  • In 2013, the Bills hired Doug Marrone. He went 15-17 in two seasons in Buffalo.
  • In 2014, the Jets still had somehow not given up on Ryan, the Bills were only a year into the Marrone era, and Miami was still optimistic about Philbin. Along with 2011, this was the only other season with no offseason coaching changes.
  • In 2015, the Jets moved on from Ryan and hired Todd Bowles, who went 10-6. The Bills then hired Rex Ryan, who went 8-8 last year.
  • In 2016, Miami hired Adam Gase as the team’s answer to its offensive woes.

Putting aside the three current coaches, that’s 10 coaches from ’04 to ’13 that were hired by the other three AFC East teams, and all ten exited the division with losing records. In the last 13 years, Belichick’s Patriots have won the AFC East 12 times, with Sparano being the only other man to win an AFC East title. Before Sparano, the last four head coaches to win the AFC East other than Belichick are ….

Yikes. And now for your trivia of the day: the last head coach to leave the AFC East with a winning record was Wannstedt (42-31).

  • Josh Sanford

    Surely surely surely if the Dolphins had a time machine, they’d go back an unfire Wannstedt. He had 4 straight winning seasons before going 1-8 to start his final season. 4 straight!! That is twice as many as the two total winning seasons that they have had in the intervening 12 years. I tend to think of coaching relationships in the larger context of the coaching market: if you are going fire somebody, you should be pretty confident that the guy you are hiring is going to be better. Oops. Oops again. More oops. “Donnie, we have to let you go. You aren’t very good. We have decided we would rather have a terrible coach than you.”

  • Yazan Gable

    Surprised the AFC East doesn’t get lumped in with the AFC South more often as a barren hellscape of a division.

    • John

      Well, it doesn’t because NE fans are in denial. I posted something on another board about all the coaching changes (and different starting QB’s) that the other AFC East teams have had since 01, and they just wave it away, saying things like “Everyone changes coaches”.