No one likes losing streaks.
Not in sports. Not in school. Not in life. Nowhere.
When you are in a losing streak in life or school, you can start over, face the adversity and rebound. You have to. No one else can do it for you. Your life is irreplaceable.
In sports, it is not this way. Everyone is replaceable.
Sports is a game, and the game is to win. Teams are entrusted to head coaches who are hired to put together a winning team. If the team cannot win, chances are, the coach will be replaced.
Some teams lose intermittently. To a juggernaut there, a close one here. At times, those are acceptable. In a game, there can only be one winner and one loser. Losses happen.
But when losses begin to happen in streaks, there’s a problem.
In the National Football League, when losing streaks get lengthy, the problem is generally traced back to the head coach.
The Houston Texans are facing the possibility of losing their sixth-straight game this weekend as Andrew Luck and a hot Colts team head to town.
The last time Houston lost six-straight games, former head coach Dom Capers was fired at the end of the 2005 season.
Six-straight losses is not a streak many tenured NFL head coaches survive.
Those that have survived to coach again the following season usually were in their first or second season at the helm.
There are 11 current head coaches in the NFL whose teams lost six-straight games at some point in their careers.
Current NFL coaches with six or more straight losses in their career:
• Cincinnati: Marvin Lewis, 10 (2010) - current
• Denver: John Fox, 7 (2010) - contract unrenewed (Carolina)
• Detroit: Jim Schwartz, 8 (2012) - current
• Jacksonville: Gus Bradley, 7 (2013) - first year
• Kansas City: Andy Reid, 8 (2012) - fired (Philadelphia)
• Minnesota: Leslie Frazier, 6 (2011) - second year
• New York: Tom Coughlin, 7 (1995) - Inaugural season (Jax), 8 (2004) - first year at NYG
• Oakland: Dennis Allen, 6 (2012) - first year
• St. Louis: Jeff Fisher, 6 (2010) - mutually agreed to part (Tenn.)
• Tampa Bay: Greg Schiano, 7 (2013) - second year
• Washington: Mike Shanahan, 6 (2011) - second year
Six of the coaches were in their first or second season and survived to coach the following season.
Three were fired or released and two tenured coaches survived.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is currently in his eighth season. A loss this week would place him alongside these coaches.
And his chances for survival aren’t good, even if Lewis and Schwartz survived.
Lewis basically restarted with the Bengals as if he had been fired in 2010. He hired a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden, and started a new quarterback in Andy Dalton. Cincinnati would have two consecutive playoff berths the following seasons.
Jim Schwartz brought Detroit its first playoff berth since 1999. You think Houston has it bad? Try being a Lions fan who still keeps VHS recordings of Barry Sanders on top of his TV stand to plug in when the game gets out of hand.
While we’re talking about first playoff berths, look at Brad Childress who was fired mid-season in 2010 after taking Minnesota to two straight playoff apperances.
Some would argue that Kubiak is an offensive genius, but not exactly.
The Houston offense has racked up a lot of yardage in Kubiak’s time, 361 yards per game over the last eight seasons. From 2008-2010, the Texans finished in the top 5 in yards per game. Matt Schaub was the NFL passing yards leader in 2009, and made two Pro Bowls in 2009 and 2012.
But Kubiak’s offenses in Houston have never been in the top five in points per game. Houston is New Orleans without all the points. If you want to talk offensive geniuses, look at Sean Payton of New Orleans.
His Saints offenses have never been outside the top six in yards per game since he arrived in 2006. Six times, the Saints were in the top five in points per game, and finished first in yards and points per game in 2008 and 2009.
In ’09, the Saints won the Super Bowl.
So who’s the genius? Some would argue Kubiak has only had two losing seasons in his tenure, but people get fired for less.
Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was fired after the 2012 season as a result of a 10-6 season. Smith brought Chicago to its first Super Bowl since 1985, and only had three losing seasons in nine years.
If the Texans can pull one off against Indianapolis, Kubiak’s odds increase.
Of the current coaches in the NFL, only one has been fired in their career after losing five straight games or less: Pete Carroll, who was fired after his first season as head coach of the New York Jets in 1994.
Right now, Kubiak is taking a Lewis approach by starting a new quarterback in Case Keenum.
Keenum will have to be Kubiak’s savior.
With odds like these, Kubiak can’t afford this losing streak.