Odds on the NFL’s New Coaches

Shortly after playing a major part in the greatest collapse in NFL history, Kyle Shanahan was officially named the new head coach of the 49ers. It’s a punishment that fits the crime. I’m (only sort of) kidding. After all, the NFL only has 32 head coaching jobs, and some (like New England) won’t be available in your lifetime, so that number is actually even smaller. You take any job you can get, and that’s what this year’s crop of hires did.

For the most part, these are not enviable situations. Vance Joseph goes to Denver with the pressure to win right now. Anthony Lynn and Sean McVay are both taking over losing teams in Los Angeles, a market that doesn’t care for mediocrity. Sean McDermott goes to a Bills franchise in disarray. And Doug Marrone is coaching the only team that’s been worse than the Cleveland Browns since 2011.

With each organization having different short-term goals, success will be measured differently by owners and management. But not here. We have the odds for how each of these coaches will perform in their new homes.

New NFL Coach Odds

Which new coach will win the most games in 2017

  • Vance Joseph (Broncos): 2/1
  • Anthony Lynn (Chargers): 5/2
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 5/1
  • Sean McVay (Rams): 7/1
  • Sean McDermott (Bills): 10/1
  • Kyle Shanahan (49ers): 28/1

Ben McAdoo and Adam Gase led their teams to the playoffs in their first coaching job; the bar is set high. Joseph has the least room to improve; the 9-7 Broncos just need a little better offensive line play and a passing threat. But don’t be surprised if some of these other coaches are able to orchestrate a quick turnaround.

The biggest issue for San Diego lately has been injuries. If the team’s luck returns to the norm, it could challenge for the playoffs. Marrone’s biggest issue with the Jags is the turnover prone QB Blake Bortles. McVay needs to work a miracle with the Rams’ league-worst offense.

McDermott and Shanahan are in the toughest spots. Neither has a starting quarterback for next season. But at least McDermott doesn’t have a JV squad rounding out every other position on his roster.

Which new coach will win the first Super Bowl

  • Kyle Shanahan (49ers): 8/1
  • Anthony Lynn (Chargers): 9/1
  • Vance Joseph (Broncos): 9/1
  • Sean McVay (Rams): 16/1
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 20/1
  • Sean McDermott (Bills): 30/1

Denver is the best team right now, but the window won’t be open long. Free agency, old age, and injuries will eventually catch up with the defense. If they don’t win quickly, Joseph may not get one at Mile High.

Long term, Shanahan and John Lynch have exciting potential in San Francisco, set to build a team from scratch. As for the longest odds, the dysfunctional Bills and Jaguars aren’t likely to make a Super Bowl any time soon, let alone win one.

Don’t forget, there’s always the possibility that Bill Belichick keeps winning Super Bowls and no one else is allowed to have any.

Which new coach will make the playoffs first

  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 11/4
  • Vance Joseph (Broncos): 10/3
  • Anthony Lynn (Chargers): 4/1
  • Sean McVay (Rams): 6/1
  • Sean McDermott (Bills): 9/1
  • Kyle Shanahan (49ers): 33/1

Location, location, location. Joseph and Lynn are inheriting the two best rosters, but they’re also in the league’s toughest division. The AFC West is home to a pair of 12-win teams (Oakland and KC), so even a 10-win season won’t guarantee Denver and San Diego a playoff berth. Marrone’s young Jaguars have talent and play in a division that only takes nine games to win.

Which new coach will last the longest with his new team

  • Kyle Shanahan (49ers): 11/5
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 15/4
  • Anthony Lynn (Chargers): 9/2
  • Sean McVay (Rams): 6/1
  • Vance Joseph (Broncos): 9/1
  • Sean McDermott (Bills): 18/1

After three different coaches in three seasons, the 49ers should let Shanahan have a real go in San Francisco. Given the offensive success he brought to the Browns and Texans, results should follow.

Which new coach will be fired first

  • Sean McDermott (Bills): 5/4
  • Vance Joseph (Broncos): 5/1
  • Sean McVay (Rams): 5/1
  • Anthony Lynn (Chargers): 7/1
  • Kyle Shanahan (49ers): 13/1
  • Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 16/1

The Bills are on their fourth coach since 2012; there is a sense of impatience around Buffalo. A nearly 20-year playoff drought will do that to an organization.

It’s tough to predict which coach is the safest without seeing them do any work, but the Jaguars waited nearly four full seasons to fire Gus Bradley, who had a .226 win percentage. Safe to say Marrone won’t be the first to go.

Odds one of 2017’s replaced coaches is re-hired by another NFL franchise: 1/5

This is a league of second chances. Romeo Crennel got one, Rex Ryan got one, Mike Mularkey got one, so ….

Who will be the first coach fired in 2017 season (all teams)

  • Chuck Pagano (Colts): 5/4
  • John Fox (Bears): 4/1
  • Todd Bowles (Jets): 4/1
  • Marvin Lewis (Bengals): 10/1
  • John Harbaugh (Ravens): 12/1

A new GM often means a coaching change in the near future, so Pagano better get the Colts off to a good start. He’s already been on the hot seat for two years.

If it’s not Pagano to go first, a pair of 2014 hires could be next. Fox and Bowles haven’t changed the losing culture for their respective franchises. This will be a make or break year.

A pair of long-tenured coaches could also be on the block. Lewis’ playoffs failures haven’t gotten him canned. Maybe another year of missing them entirely will be. As for Harbaugh, since winning Super Bowl XLVII, his Ravens have gone 32-34 and made the playoffs just once. This organization isn’t used to being average.


An avid NHL fan of over 20 years, Malloy made his first bet against a friend during the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals (going against Ray Bourque) and has been hooked ever since. He has yet to pay off that debt of $2, but he's made plenty back since. In between worrying about the league's next lockout, he regularly contributes to MTS and is also fluent in football, basketball, baseball and French (sort of).

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