There’s no need for an introduction anymore. By now, you know what we’re doing here. We are taking every single NFL franchise and ranking every head coach that they’ve hired during the Super Bowl era.

Get it?

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Now, up next……


Let’s Rank All Of The Detroit Lions Head Coaches



14. Marty Mornhinweg


Years Coached: 2001-2002

Total Games Coached: 32

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 5-27


You know how shitty of a head coach you have to be to be ranked dead last in Detroit Lions history? I can tell you with 100% confidence that the Lions are historically one of the worst teams in the NFL when it comes to hiring head coaches. The proof is in the history books my friends. There have been a lot of shit shows that have come through Detroit but none have been shittier than Marty Mornhinweg’s teams. Mornhinweg’s teams went 2-14 and 3-13 in back-to-back years and the Lions front office had seen enough. To be fair though, this was back when Detroit was used to actually making the playoffs (you know, the Barry Sanders years) and the team actually had expectations.


13. Rod Marinelli


Years Coached: 2006-2008

Total Games Coached: 48

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 10-38


Rod Marinelli is a great defensive coach. Rod Marinelli is also an extremely shitty head coach. If you need proof, I’ll just direct you to his tenure in Detroit. In his first year with the Lions, the team went 3-13 and looked like hot garbage. They showed some progress in his second season when they went 7-9 and looked like they were potentially building something. And then it happened. In 2008 the Lions set an NFL record by going 0-16 and that was all she wrote for Marinelli as a head coach in the NFL. No one is touching a guy who went 0-16 because that stink remains on you forever no matter how many showers you take.


12. Matt Patricia


Years Coached: 2018-present

Total Games Coached: 16

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 6-10


Matt Patricia has only been the head coach of the Detroit Lions for one season, but that season didn’t go very well. I thought the decision to hire Patricia was a little puzzling myself, especially when you look at the success of the Bill Belichick coaching tree (HINT: there is little to no success on that coaching tree), but the Lions thought differently obviously. As of this moment, it looks like a bad marriage. Patricia has already rubbed some people wrong and there are already people thinking his leash in Detroit is extremely short. This will be one to watch in the coming year.


11. Don McCafferty


Years Coached: 1973

Total Games Coached: 14

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 6-7-1


This one is a little heartbreaking as Don McCafferty only spent one season as Lions head coach before suffering an unfortunate heart attack in 1974 and passing away. There’s a joke to be made here, but I’m going to go ahead and leave that one to someone else.


10. Darryl Rogers


Years Coached: 1985-1988

Total Games Coached: 58

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 18-40


Darryl Rogers was a college coach for over 20 years when the Detroit Lions decided to make him their head coach. It was a questionable move at the time and it showed on the field. An easy sign of a bad head coach is when a team regresses under him. That’s exactly what happened with the Lions every year under Rogers. They went from 7-9 to 5-11 to 4-11 to 2-9, which caused Rogers to famously say at a press conference “What does a coach have to do to around here to get fired?” I think he was able to answer his own question.


9. Steve Mariucci


Years Coached: 2003-2005

Total Games Coached: 43

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 15-28


Detroit Lions fans thought they scored when they were able to get Steve Mariucci as head coach, and who can really blame them? Mariucci was just coming off a six-year stint as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers that was successful, but just not successful enough. He had shown he was a good head coach during his time in SF and he was going to turn the Lions franchise around. Yeah….about that. Unfortunately for “Mooch”, he found out just how hard it is to win in Detroit. After two disappointing losing seasons, Mariucci was fired in the middle of a 4-7 season following a blowout loss on National Television. The Mariucci hire always leaves a sour taste in Lions’ fans mouths and that’s hard to do because these guys are used to eating shit.


8. Tommy Hudspeth


Years Coached: 1976-1977

Total Games Coached: 24

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 11-13


Tommy Hudspeth was working for the Detroit Lions as a scout when head coach Rick Forzano resigned in the middle of the 1976 season. That’s when the Lions went ahead and tabbed Hudspeth as the head man and things got weird. The following season, the Lions actively pursued Los Angeles Rams head coach Chuck Knox when he was a free agent, but when he elected to stay with the Rams, the Lions re-signed Hudspeth to a new three-year deal. Eleven months later, he was fired. Nothing builds up your confidence more than when your employer publicly announces that he’s looking for someone better.


7. Rick Forzano


Years Coached: 1974-1976

Total Games Coached: 32

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 15-17


Nothing says “Detroit Lions football” more than the hire of Rick Forzano as head coach. Forzano was a longtime college football coach who had compiled a record of 17-43-1 as a head coach in the college ranks. Most people would look at that record and scoff. Not the Detroit Lions though. They saw something in that record that made them decide that he was the right guy for the job after the unfortunate passing of head coach Don McCafferty from a heart attack. To be fair though, Forzano had more success in his short-time as a head coach in the NFL than he ever did in college. However, after a 1-3 start in 1976, Forzano walked away from the game for good and was never heard from again.

6. Jim Schwartz


Years Coached: 2009-2013

Total Games Coached: 80

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 29-51


Jim Schwartz’s NFL career started exactly how one would hope it would start when you take over as head coach of a disaster franchise. His teams sucked at first (2-14 his first season), but they steadily showed progress over the course of the next few seasons which culminated in the Lions making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years in 2011. Unfortunately for Schwartz and company, the Lions came up short in that playoff game and the team started to regress. After a 7-9 season in 2013 (where the Lions started out 6-3, but finished 1-6), Schwartz was fired and hasn’t been a head coach in the NFL since. It’s not all bad though as Schwartz was hired as the DC of the Eagles in 2016 and helped lead them to a Super Bowl title last year.


5. Monte Clark


Years Coached: 1978-1984

Total Games Coached: 105

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 43-61-1


Monte Clark was hired as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 1976 and was the youngest head coach in NFL history at the time. Clarke ended up going 8-6 in his first season with the 49ers, but a change in ownership in SF led to a mutual separation after only one season. Clark was eventually hired by the Lions in 1978 which started the bumpy road that was his Detroit Lions head coaching career. Clark was a good head coach during his time in Detroit, but he never did enough to get the Lions over the hump. His best season was in 1983 when the Lions won the NFC North and made the playoffs, but the team lost to the 49ers in their first playoff game. After that season, the Lions went 4-11 and Clark was eventually fired. His stint was very average, but as far as the Lions are concerned…that’s good enough for a top 5 finish baby!


4. Joe Schmidt


Years Coached: 1967-1972

Total Games Coached: 84

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 43-34-7


Joe Schmidt’s time as Detroit Lions head coach was a long time ago guys. It’s unfortunate for Lions fans though that Schmidt’s years were some of Detroit’s best ever in the league. Schmidt spent six seasons as Lions head coach and had some decent success which included a 10-4 season in 1970. Remember that one Lions fans? Detroit made the playoffs that year and ended up losing in the second-round to Dallas in what I’m sure was a legendary 0-5 game. That was the peak of Schmidt’s career in Detroit and he resigned following the 1972 season and never coached again.


3. Bobby Ross


Years Coached: 1997-2000

Total Games Coached: 57

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 27-30


Bobby Ross had a lot of success as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 1992-1996. That’s why it was a pretty big get for the Lions when they were able to persuade Ross to leave the Chargers and join their team. Detroit was coming off a disappointing 5-11 season in 1998, but they felt like they still had a good team and they just needed a good coach to get them over that hump. Ross was unfortunately never able to get the Lions over that hump. In four seasons in Detroit, Ross went 27-30 and made the playoffs twice. He ended up quitting in the middle of the 2000 season after becoming frustrated with his team. Detroit fans sure thought they were getting a beauty with Bobby Ross, but they ended up getting a beast.


2. Jim Caldwell


Years Coached: 2014-2017

Total Games Coached: 64

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 36-28


He’s one of two coaches on this list that finished his career as head coach of the Detroit Lions with a winning record (Joe Schmidt being the other one). Jim Caldwell gets a lot of shit from NFL fans, but let’s start giving this guy some credit. There have been a lot of shitty coaches in Detroit’s history, but Caldwell wasn’t THAT bad. I personally was one of those guys who was calling for Caldwell’s head in Detroit back in 2017, but that’s because the guy just couldn’t get the team over the hump. In four seasons with the Lions, Caldwell only had one losing season (a 7-9 season in 2015), but he couldn’t win when it mattered. In the playoffs. The Lions made the playoffs twice under Caldwell, but they were eliminated in the first-round each time. When it comes to most NFL teams, Caldwell’s mediocre tenure wouldn’t even register a blip on the radar. When it comes to the Lions though, he’s ALMOST their greatest coach of all-time. Instead, it’s this guy……


1. Wayne Fontes


Years Coached: 1988-1996

Total Games Coached: 133

Win/Loss/Tie Record: 66-67


The G.O.A.T. of head coaching when it comes to the Detroit Lions. Somehow he not only got the Lions to the playoffs four times in an eight-year span, but he also managed to win two division titles in that time as well (which is pretty much unheard of these days in Detroit). However, here’s the big one guys and you might want to sit down for this one. HE’S THE ONLY HEAD COACH WHO HAS WON A PLAYOFF GAME IN DETROIT IN THE SUPER BOWL ERA! That’s right! The Lions have only won ONE playoff game in the last 50+ years. And you thought your favorite NFL team was shitty?