On Sunday, following a loss that dropped the Jaguars to 2-14 this season, Jacksonville fired head coach Gus Bradley.
In just less than four seasons under Bradley, the Jaguars went 14-48. That comes out to a .226 winning percentage, which happens to be the second worst of all-time (min. 50 games), ahead of only a guy who last coached in 1941.
That begs the question: Is Gus Bradley the least successful (we’ll be kind and avoid the word “worst”) coach in NFL history? Let’s evaluate.
The case that Gus Bradley is the least successful coach in NFL history:
Well, by winning percentage, this is a pretty easy case to make. Only Bert Bell holds a worse career mark (He went 10-46-2, for a .179 winning percentage), and given that he coached from 1936-41 it’s hard to really evaluate him.
Under Bradley, the Jaguars never even sniffed the playoffs. In his best season, he coached Jacksonville to a 5-11 record. At several points during Bradley’s tenure, the Jags were a trendy pick to steal a wild-card spot or at least put together a respectable record. But no matter what the roster looked like or how weak the division was, Jacksonville sucked wind.
It’s not like the Jaguars had traded all their draft picks or anything. They picked No. 2 before Bradley’s debut season, then No. 3, No. 3 and No. 5. But all those talented young players resulted in losses on losses on losses. Much of the blame here falls on general manager David Caldwell, but Bradley deserves his fair share as well.
The case that Gus Bradley is NOT the least successful coach in NFL history:
There have been a lot of unsuccessful coaches in NFL history!
There’s that guy Bert Bell, whose Philadelphia Eagles teams went 10-46-2, then won two NFL championships under his successor.
There’s David Shula, who got his job because of his last name, then went 19-52 from 1992-96.
There’s Marion Campbell, who holds the record for most career games under .500 (46), and there’s his contemporary John McKay, who ranks second (44).
There’s Dom Capers, who coached for eight seasons despite a career record of 48-80.
There’s Norv Turner, the only coach to last more than 210 games while owning a career record under .500.
There Marty Schottenheimer, whose teams somehow went 5-13 in the playoffs.
There’s Joe Bugel, whose teams, in an era of five-team divisions, finished fifth, fifth, fifth, fourth and fourth in his time at the helm.
There’s Rod Marinelli, who went 10-38 in three seasons, a worse winning percentage than Bradley, and was fired after his Detroit Lions team went 0-16.
And we could certainly go on.
Point is, Bradley has a lot of competition. But while he might not be absolutely at the bottom of the all-time coaching list, he’s certainly near the bottom.