If you're the kind of Atlanta Falcons fan who not only lusts longingly for the franchise's first Super Bowl win but covets a chance to do so, say, on the very turf of your loathed rival when they host the Super Bowl in 2013, you're in luck - other teams have replaced both their offensive and defensive coordinators simultaneously and won a world title the following season.
We got bored. We got on ProFootballReference.com. You get fun facts!
- Since the beginning of the NFL's "Salary Cap Era" (the 1994 season), two teams have made the double-switch and won titles the next year - the 2007 out-of-nowhere New York Giants, and those damned New Orleans Saints in 2009.
- The 2009 Saints brought in Gregg Wiliams, and he introduced a blitz-crazy scheme that boosted the team's turnover ratio from 22nd in the league to third overall. On the offensive side, current O.C. Pete Carmichael was brought in to replace the departing Doug Marrone, and well, the Saints kept on scoring a lot of points in football games.
- The 2007 Giants boasted a name familiar to current coordinator searches - Steve Spagnuolo, who came over from the Eagles' staff to create a pass rush that would carry New York to an upset win over the Patriots. The Giants were 24th and 25th in the NFL in points and yards allowed, and Spags brought them up to 17th and seventh, respectively. On offense, Kevin Gilbride replaced the fired John Hufnagel and balanced out a pass-heavy offense that was quickly developing a bust in young quarterback Eli Manning.
- Since the 1995 Super Bowl (sooo sucky, remember?), 14 teams (out of a possible 34) have made it to the Super Bowl after having replaced at least one coordinator in the previous offseason.
- Just like the highs and lows of free agency, from the 1999 season through the 2006 Super Bowl, at least one Super Bowl participant featured a new coordinator in every title game except one (the annoyingly consistent Patriots beating the Eagles in 2005).
- Keep in mind, this period of time includes that really weird 2003 Super Bowl: It pitted Jon Gruden in his first year with the Bucs against his former team, the Oakland Raiders. Technically both franchises had new head coaches and offensive coordinators, but that whole mess was so eerily inbred we think the NFL was trying to script an homage to pro wrestling's "Monday Night Wars" of the 1990s. MY GAWD, IS THAT RICK RUDE?
So feel free to poo-poo claims that staff stability consistently breeds a winner. The lesson from both the '07 Giants and '09 Saints is that if a core group of highly talented skill position players can't seem to finish in January, a philosophy change that tweaks the existing talent can produce a champion. See you on Bourbon Street, fellow naive believers.
For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.