Speculation is that Sean Payton could be the next coach of the Dolphins if he and the New Orleans Saints part ways after this season, but history suggests Miami interim coach Dan Campbell — a much cheaper option — will have a great chance of staying on if he can make the team a playoff contender this year. (And he is 1-0 entering Sunday’s game here vs. Houston.)
Of the NFL’s 72 in-season coaching changes since the 1970 merger, 30 of the interim guys, or 41.7 percent, have been retained to begin the next season. And the interims who stayed on have had an average of 58 games with that team.
Campbell has been too busy to do the research, so I did it for him.
Here are the role models for him — the top 10 most successful interim coaches of the modern era based on games coached with that same team:
1. Jeff Fisher, Oilers/Titans, 1994-2010, 262 games (142-120, 6 playoffs). Still the only head coach to reach a Super Bowl with the same team that hired him as an interim replacement.
2. Wayne Fontes, Lions, 1988-96, 133 games (66-67, 4 playoffs).
3. Don Coryell, Chargers, 1978-86, 125 games (69-56, 4 playoffs).
4. Art Shell, Raiders, 1989-94, 92 games (54-38, 3 playoffs).
5. Raymond Berry, Patriots, 1984-89, 87 games (48-39, 2 playoffs).
6. Jason Garrett, Cowboys, 2010-current, 77 games (43-34, 1 playoff).
7. Marty Schottenheimer, Browns, 1984-88, 71 games (44-27, 4 playoffs).
7. Ron Meyer, Colts, 1986-90, 71 games (36-35, 1 playoff).
9. Jerry Glanville, Oilers, 1985-89, 65 games (33-32, 3 playoffs).
9. Mike Tice, Vikings, 2001-05, 65 games (32-33, 1 playoff).
▪ How ready had Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes better be on Sunday? The Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins — the league’s hottest fantasy player right now, along with the Falcons’ Devonta Freeman — is the first receiver ever with at least nine catches for 145-plus yards in three consecutive games.
▪ Close counts: Forty-seven games have been decided by seven points or fewer; only in 1999 (50) were there more entering Week 7. And 29.7 percent of games have been decided by a fourth-quarter comeback; the season record is 31.3 percent in 1989.
▪ Never doubt the significance of success in the red zone (inside an opponent’s 20-yard line). The six teams with the most red-zone points (led by the Bengals’ 152) are a combined 30-4. And the six with the highest red-zone TD percentage (led by Steelers’ 75.0) are a combined 28-6.
▪ Brandon Marshall is the first Jets receiver with four consecutive 100-yard games since Don Maynard back in Joe Namath’s 1968.
▪ The Panthers’ Cam Newton recorded his 27th career game with a TD pass and scoring run in the same game. Only Steve Young (31) had more.
▪ Still hope for the mediocre: Since 1990, 26.7 percent of playoff teams (80 of 300) were .500 or worse entering Week 7.
▪ Pro Bowl voting has begun at NFL.com, through Dec. 15. Because it’s never too early to start prematurely voting for players based on insufficient evidence!