Jim Schwartz tenure among worst ever for an NFL coach

Leon Halip

The ex-head coach of the Detroit Lions didn't do enough winning to keep his job, and not many have ever won fewer over a five-year span.

The Detroit Lions fired head coach Jim Schwartz earlier this week after finishing with a losing record for the fourth time in his five years with the team, and it turns out few coaches have ever stayed that long and been that bad. Schwartz went 29-51 with Detroit, becoming the first coach since John McKay and the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to 1980 to coach for that long and have that bad of a record.

McKay's Bucs went 22-53-1 in his first five seasons for a worse winning percentage that Schwartz's .362 with Detroit, but no coach since had finished as poorly since McKay.

The Lions went 10-6 in 2011 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but the team has been a significant disappoint since then. With playoff aspirations in 2012, Detroit flopped to 4-12 but opted to retain Schwartz for another year. The team had the lead in the NFC North with a 6-3 start this season, but lost six of its final seven games for an epic collapse after appearing to be a good bet to host its first playoff game since 1991.

Bert Bell, Tom Landry, Bill McPeak and Bart Starr are the only other head coaches to have a worse winning percentage over five years. Most coaches are fired long before it gets that bad.

Schwartz went 2-14 in his first season with the Lions, but was taking over a team that had gone 0-16 the year before. He had spent the previous eight years as the defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans under Jeff Fisher.

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