Over the last couple of days, there has been a ton of talk about Andy Reid and Ray Horton, and maybe that is because their interviews either have happened or are about to happen. The one candidate that we know of that has gotten little play is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, mostly because he is busy getting the Denver Broncos ready for the playoffs.
However, while he is the least talked about candidate, and he is not the guy I personally want the Cardinals to hire (I would prefer the team promote Ray Horton), a look back over the last 20-plus years and the list of coaches the Cardinals have had actually can suggest that McCoy is the most likely to bring the team success.
This is strictly based on history, but it does provide food for thought.
With the three known candidates that the Cardinals have, they have the big name coach who has had a lot of success (Andy Reid), an internal candidate to promote (Ray Horton) and a coordinator from another team with no NFL head coaching experience (Mike McCoy).
The Cardinals have each of these type of hires in the last 20 years.
Big name coach
Arizona has tried this twice. They hired Buddy Ryan, who was actually the Houston Oilers defensive coordinator briefly, but made his name in head coaching with the Philadelphia Eagles, leading them to three straight seasons of at least 10 wins.
He was 8-8 in his first season, but the team went 4-12 the next season and his drafts set back the team a few more years. He proclaimed "you've got a winner in town!" when he was introduced to the city. He is one of the most hated figures in team history.
They made the same kind of hire when they brought in Dennis Green. He showed a chart with his coaching record. He talked a big game. He didn't do so well, although some of the talent he brought in (and couldn't win with) were key contributors in the team's Super Bowl run.
Andy Reid, while a different character, is this mold of coach.
Arizona attempted this route after they let Vince Tobin go and promoted Dave McGinnis, who was Tobin's defensive coordinator. He was 1-8 as an interim, and reached seven wins once to go along with five and four-win seasons. He was perhaps the media's favorite coach ever and a super nice guy, but he didn't fare very well.
Horton is the same sort of guy -- loved by the media, charismatic, affable -- but the team has gone this route before and it wasn't all that good.
Another team's coordinator, no NFL head coaching experience
This is where Arizona has had its only success in finding head coaches.
They have hired three coordinators away from their teams to become the Cardinals head coach. Two of them took the team to the playoffs. Joe Bugel was the first, and, well...he was a failure. His .313. winning percentage is the worst among the coaches.
The final example is Ken Whisenhunt, who was the OC for the Steelers. He was the winningest coach in Cardinals history, taking them to a Super Bowl and two NFC West titles. He was 4-2 in the postseason.
Denver's Mike McCoy is this year's example of these guys.
The new candidate
Now it is being reported that the Cards have requested an interview with Todd Haley, now the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he would be a completely new mold. He has a couple of years of coaching experience, but he is not a big name coach. He was on the Cardinals staff before, but would not be an internal promotion. He is a coordinator for another team, but he has head coaching experience. A move to hire him would be something new.
What history says
Well, the Cardinals don't have a whole of of success in their history -- hardly any. And who were the coaches to have that success? They were the outside coaching candidates coming from other teams who had not been NFL head coaches.
If you look only at history...and it is a valid thing to look at, neither Reid nor Horton will lead the Cards to where they want to be. The only candidate (as of right now) that fit the bill? That would be Peyton Manning's offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy.
Again, I do know that you have to look at a whole lot of other factors, but a purely historical look tells us that McCoy is the one the team should hire.
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