Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell has history against him

Dan Campbell is introduced as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Monday ,October 5, 2015.
Dan Campbell is introduced as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Monday ,October 5, 2015. El Nuevo Herald

First two impressions of the Dolphins this week becoming the season’s first NFL team to make a coaching change:

1. New interim guy Dan Campbell, erstwhile tight ends coach, could not be further apart visually and in conveyance of attitude from the suddenly sacked Joe Philbin. The verve-less Philbin resembled the farmer holding the pitchfork in Grant Wood’s 1930 painting American Gothic. Campbell looks like a fire-breathing ex-Marine who just roared out of an octagon.

2. This can’t work, can it? History says it won’t. If Campbell does what Miami promoted him to do — overcome a 1-3 start and guide Miami to the playoffs — he will have done what no man has.

In-season coaching changes either don’t work or have limited success, depending on how you define improvement. There is a large sample size.

We researched all 72 previous in-season coaching changes since the 1970 merger. The coaches let go left with a combined record of 145-454-3, a .242 winning percentage. The coaches who replaced them finished the season 145-297-1, or .328. That is not an insignificant bump, but neither is it a collective dramatic turnaround.

Here’s the thing, though: Bottom line, replacement coaches are 0 for 72 in taking the loser they inherited and seeing it to the playoffs.

That is the history Campbell must buck.

But here is why he has a better chance than most. The average of those 72 in-season changes was made 8.4 games in, or just past midseason. Campbell has far more games than most to enact a turnaround. Only four of those 72 changes have been made sooner than four games in: the 1982 Seahawks made the change after two games, and the ’71 Eagles, ’74 Colts and 2000 Bengals did it after three games.

A fair chunk of interim coaches — 29 of 72, or 40.3 percent — are hired to return the next season, but few stay long. The most recent who has is Dallas’ Jason Garrett, an interim appointee in 2010 and still there.

▪ Our King Sport First Quarter Awards: MVP — Packers QB Aaron Rodgers; Offensive POY — Patriots QB Tom Brady; Defensive POY — Jets CB Darrelle Revis; Offensive rookie — Titans QB Marcus Mariota; Defensive rookie — Chiefs CB Marcus Peters; Coach of Year — Falcons’ Dan Quinn; Dolphins MVP — WR/returner Jarvis Landry. Brady is on early pace for 5,936 passing yards, which would easily be an NFL record.

▪ Hope for the mediocre! Since 1990, 37 percent of playoff teams started 2-2 or worse. Twenty-four 1-3s have made the playoffs, but the only 0-4 team to do it was San Diego in 1992.

▪ Detroit is the only winless team left, but based on point-differential, six teams are worse: Bears, Bucs, Dolphins (ouch), 49ers, Jaguars and Texans.

▪ League-wide passer rating entering Week 5 is 91.2. Season record, set last year, is 88.9.

▪ The NFL extended its commitment to the International Series through 2025 with plans to expand regular-season games beyond the United Kingdom. Next stop: Germany and Mexico.

▪ Panthers CB Josh Norman is first with two interception-return TDs in first four games since Charles Woodson did it in 2008.

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