Sport

The edges of legality in F1 – the FIA approach evolves and not for the best

An interesting article in Auto Motor Und Sport (WARNING: It is in German) explains how the FIA, in its attempts to crack down on cheating by the top teams in F1, has been relying on complaints or observations submitted by other teams, and as a result, have been tightening regulations and modifying comppliance testing processes.
The article gives some examples from this season:

1. The suspicion that one or more teams (the suspect team was ID’d rapidly as Ferrari) were using engine oil partly as a fuel, diverting some oil into the combustion process. The FIA has reacted in two ways (a) they have reduced the allowable consumption limit per 100km, and (b) they will be fixing the precise specification of oil at the end of the season
2. The use of special airflow devices on the front axle of the Ferrari cars in Baku to increase straight-line speed
3. The excessive deflection observed on the t-wings of some cars early in the season, believed to be an attempt to increase straight-line speed
4. A ban on pre-heating hydraulic suspension actuators in the garage prior to running the car. The practice was designed to ensure that the cars enjoyed a constant ground clearance from the moment that they entered the track.
5. Further evidence of flexing of car floors and underbodies has been countered with a new series of expanded deflection tests.
6. More stringent deflection tests for front wing components, after Red Bull (surprise surprise) was caught with a wing part that was clearly deflecting at speed to reduce drag.

While superficially, the changes seem to be perfectly sensible and smart, there is a point made in the article (my tidy-up of the translation of the article):

The policy of the long leash has been well received by the big teams. They can experiment at the edge of the rules without being disqualified. The smaller teams are annoyed by the new approach of the World Federation. Because they do not have the means to bring risky technology tricks to the car, with the fear that they end up in the dustbin.

In my opinion, the FIA is being way too lenient with the top teams. If teams are violating the regulations, then they should be penalized. The “fix this by the next race or there will be trouble” approach may be non-confrontational and ensures that there are no public rows, but it is the equivalent of a “tsk tsk ” slap on the wrist. This is not going to stop teams from attempting to circumvent the regulations. The objections of the smaller teams are correct. If they cannot afford to try numerous different evasion tactics to circumvent the regulations, they will perpetually be watching the large teams to see what innovations they bring to the race track and what circumventions are allowed or ignored by the FIA. This is not a correct way to enforce technical regulations.

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If I Ruled The World, F1 Style…

Revenue Distribution
1. All current distorting “legacy” payments that do not form part of the constructors performance prize money system to be scrapped
2. System shall reward teams for positions in constructors championship in a transparent and consistent manner, with no teams enjoying special prize money increases due to “legacy” or other status
3. A special bonus of $5m shall be given to the team that wins the Drivers championship

Technical and Sporting Regulations
1. All significant technical regulation changes to be stable for 10 years, after an adjustment period at the end of year 1. No constructor is allowed any preferential input or veto on any aspect of the F1 technical regulations.
2. Allow underbody ground-effect downforce once more
3. Severely limit size and shape of front wings
4. Limit the size and downforce generation from rear wings
5. All components not considered to be the source of competitive advantage such as wheel hubs, uprights, differentials will be standardised and provided from a common supplier to all constructors.
6. Introduce an engine formula based on limited development avenues, but with no token system and less onerous engine life requirements
7. Minimum weight of the car to be reduced.
8. Weight limits on car/driver combinations to be measured in a way that does not penalize taller and heavier drivers, while still allowing for movement of ballast to strictly defined areas of the car
9. DRS to be converted to a limited-use push to pass tool
10. Penalties for engine usage or regulation infractions and car regulation conformance infractions to be levied as constructor points and fines, instead of car starting grid penalties, unless significant performance advantage can be proven, in which case disqualification, up to the entire team for a race event, is an option
11. Driver penalty point system to be abolished. Initial driver infractions to be dealt with by putting a driver on probation for a set number of races. Further infractions will result in the driver being immediately suspended for one or more race weekends.
12. Appeal management – if an appeal by a driver or a team is deemed to be frivolous, the FIA shall, at its discretion, have the ability to (a) immediately impose the penalty, (b) increase the penalty or suspension by up to a further 50% as a penalty for the waste of governing body resources.

Broadcasting and Media relations
1. Teams to be required to make most telemetry data available to broadcasters in real-time, with some more sensitive data (such as fuel usage and engine modes) available on time delay.
2. Teams to be required to perform a minimum number of media functions every race weekend with both drivers present

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So what will the NFL teams do now?

So, after a currently unanimous decision by all 32 NFL teams to not employ Colin Kaepernick because he sat or kneeled for the National Anthem, despite the fact that numerous other players also sat or kneeled that season, what do we have here?
Three more prominent players all declining to stand for the National Anthem.
I don’t think I will be holding my breath until the teams of the players suspend or sit them for this action. That is probably not allowed under the CBA, especially since SCOTUS has ruled that nobody can be forced to stand for the National Anthem.
However, their employing teams could terminate their contracts to put them into the same place as Colin Kaepernick.
They won’t do that. Marshawn Lynch is the Oakland Raiders’ local talisman, the local boy made good, returning to this hometown, where the Raiders are playing out two seasons before relocating to Las Vegas. The other players are articulate team leaders. Their teams are going to do somewhere between diddly and squat.
Which leaves us with the scenario where the originator of the protests is kicking his heels waiting for a job offer, despite having taken one team to the Superbowl.
The NFL teams, collectively, do not seem to know the First Law Of Holes.

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Disciplinary processes in professional sports

Ensuring that professional sportsmen play within the defined and accepted rules of the sport is always a challenge.
Top-flight sports athletes, no matter what their sport, are at the top of their sport for reasons that have a lot to do with talent, but also to do with a burning desire to not only compete, but also to win.
As a result, competitive athletes often end up believing that the means do justify the ends, if the end is an individual or team victory. They would certainly regard any argument that their actions were against “the spirit of the sport” or “the spirit of the rules” as naive talk coming from uncompetitive wimps.
The teams for which the athletes compete usually have the same level of competitive desire, so they are unlikely to ever tell the athlete to “tone it down” or do anything that they think would put the athlete or the team at a competitive disadvantage. So it is no use anybody looking in that direction as a way of ensuring that competitors always obey the rules. (The team may choose to intervene in situations where the athlete has become a pain in the ass to deal with for any number of reasons, but plenty of assholes stayed in teams and competed. Winning gets you a lot of indulgence for bad behavior).
As a result, managing compliance with the rules has to be down to the governing bodies of a sport. They are the only interested party that can and should take on that role.
Unfortunately, many sports governing bodies consistently and persistently fail to discharge that role. They do so for a number of reasons:

1 Pressure from teams and broadcast partners to not penalize bad behavior with suspensions, in order to allow offenders (who are often the high-priced stars) to continue to play
2 A conviction that any publicity is good publicity. If an athlete does or says something outrageous, that generates column inches and web hits a.k.a. controversy
3 Fear that penalizing over-aggressive behavior will cause conservative fans and traditionalists to moan about the sport being “dumbed down” or “pussified”

The result of all of those conflicting pressures is that many sporting bodies, instead of suspending performers for bad behavior, instead subject them to fines, penalty points, probationary periods and other penalties that stop short of outright suspension.
For driven competitors, none of those punishments really matter. As long they can still compete, they won’t care about being fined or told off by email. For a top star earning millions of dollars in a year, even a fine of $500,000 is merely a cost of doing business.
For some lesser-paid players, fines do hurt their pocket-book. However, many players, particularly in team sports, are not going to change their approach, since they risk being written off as insufficiently competitive.

The conclusion that I reached years ago is that in some sports, the disciplinary process is merely window-dressing, a fig-leaf to enable the sport’s owners to say things like “we care about player conduct”, while doing next to nothing to effectively regulate it.
Sometimes that laissez-faire approach backfires badly on a sport, especially contact and collision sports. Professional hockey and rugby have both found themselves squarely in the cross-hairs of bad publicity after player in both sports engaged in unprovoked assaults during games. What many practitioners of contact sports often fail to notice is that the laws governing assault are still in force during a sports event. Sports often use tools that are potentially lethal if misused. A hockey stick is every bit as dangerous a weapon when wielded by an NH player in a red mist as a baseball bat is when wielded by a street thug. Ditto a racing car when being used as a weapon in a race.
So, when somebody says “well, Graham, how would YOU regulate competitor behavior?”, here is my short summary.

1. Make the rules of the sport governing competitor behavior on and off the field of play during the time of an event simple, clear, and not subject to on-the-spot interpretation by officials.
Complex and subjective rules end up placing the burden of ruling into the event officials, which creates all sorts of potential for inconsistency

2. Fines should be levied as a percentage of the competitor’s earnings for an event or for a series of events, not a fixed monetary amount.
The stars and the middle-tier competitors should all feel the pain equally for financial punishment

3. Suspensions should be used for any competitor that engages in reckless, dangerous play or who commmits assault.
Forget fines, letters of contrition, probation etc. They are competitors. The right way to punish them is to deny them the opportunity to compete.

4. The appeal process should follow these principles:
– Appeals should be timely, heard by a small number of independent arbiters, and competitors should not be permitted to bring lawyers and other professional advocates.
Competitors need to be directly accountable for their behavior in front of the disciplinary body. Having professional advocates gives them the ability to hide behind those advocates.
– If the appeal fails, any punishment is applied immediately, and cannot be deferred
– If the appeal is deemed to be frivolous or evasive, the governing body reserves the right to increase the punishment, up to three times the original punishment, and to refuse to allow any further appeal on the matter at any level
Every sports body has competitors to try to game the system, by appealing every punishment, sometimes not even to get the punishment modified, but simply to avoid serving the punishment until after some important event. The only effective way to deter frivolous appeals is to punish competitors for attempting them.

If all governing bodies implemented those principles, a lot of sports would start to have a lot less of a problem with competitor misbehavior.

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Vettel vs. Hamilton incident at Baku – what it tells us about rule enforcement in Formula 1 and sports

A lot of light heat and sound is being created over the incident during a Safety Car period in the European Grand Prix at Baku where Sebastian Vettel, angry at what he thought was an incident of Lewis Hamilton brake-testing him at the exit to a corner, drove alongside Hamilton and then deliberately bumped him.
Vettel was penalized for the incident by being given a stop-go penalty. Predictably, opinion is split between people who believe that Vettel was not punished severely enough, and should have been disqualified, run out of town on a rail etc. etc. and people who believe that the incident was a storm in a teacup between two competitors, and that the media is against Vettel (in the case of the UK media, it must be because Vettel is German and “Don’t Forget Ze Var!”).
Lost in a lot of the discussion is that Vettel has a track record of behaving petulantly on-track. There was the infamous “Multi 21” incident in a race in 2013, where Vettel essentially refused to obey team orders to let Mark Webber pass him on-track, and then lawyered up to weasel out of punishment from the team. More recently, last season Vettel unleashed a string of expletives at Charlie Whiting in a race after another incident. So his behavior in Baku was not exactly new, nor was it totally unpredictable.
There is a simple reality at work here. Competitors in any sport will do what they think they can get away with. They will read the rules, watch how other successful past and current competitors and their role models in the sport behave, and then go out and push the rules to their limits. Talk about “the spirit of the rules” would be regarded by hard-core sports competitors as so much naive fluff. In the case of Sebastian Vettel, he has made no secret of the fact that Michael Schumacher was his hero growing up, and Lewis Hamilton has made no secret of his reverence for the late Ayrton Senna. Both men, as drivers, were bristlingly and uncompromisingly competitive, and both pushed the rules and norms of the sport up to (and in some cases, beyond) previously accepted limits.
It is up to the rule enforcement bodies in a sport to determine what the competitive limits are, and what to do about incidents where competitors go over those limits.
Unfortunately, most competitive sports governing bodies merely fine competitors or put them on probation. Partly this is because many sports leagues are essentially run by team owners, and team owners, as a general rule, do not like to see their highly-paid star performers sitting disconsolately off to one side while the game or event takes place without them. The same applies to Formula 1, where teams like Ferrari would be publicly indignant if one of their drivers was suspended. However, as Joe Saward explains in this commentary, the FIA may be about to come down hard on Vettel for several reasons, and Ferrari, who have been behaving like a bunch of horse’s asses towards the media for months, are likely to find that there is no reservoir of sympathy for them.
However, trying to regulate competitor behavior with fines and probationary warnings never works. Most fines are chump change to athletes earning millions (and some cases, tens of millions) or dollars annually. They will regard a fine as merely part of the cost of doing business.
Competitors will only change their behavior if their actions cause them to be denied the opportunity to compete. Competing is what they live for.
So…any discussion around consequences for Sebastian Vettel’s actions in Baku involving monetary fines, penalty points or minor losses of grid position is total fluff. If he is guilty of dangerous driving, the FIA should have suspended him for 1 race, or disqualified him from the race in Baku and then made him start the next race from the pit lane with a 10 second penalty on the rest of the field.
It is my belief that if the FIA had suspended Ayrton Senna for 5 races and docked him 25 championship points for running into Alain Prost back in 1990 at Suzuka, we wouldn’t have to had to watch this incident, or the Schumacher-Hill and Schumacher-Villeneuve incidents in 1994 and 1997. The message would have been sent along time ago to formula 1 competitors “if you collide with another driver deliberately, it WILL cost you a championship”. The current behavior patterns by drivers are the direct consequence of 20+ years of pussyfooting and inaction by the FIA.
UPDATE – Whenever I read articles talking about “making an example” of a competitor to “send a message”, I know I am dealing with a scenario where a sport has failed to correctly regulate competitor behavior in the past. If Sebastian Vettel, for example, knew in advance that running into Lewis Hamilton would have resulted in an immediate black flag, preferably supported by past incidents where drivers were black-flagged, he would most probably not have run into Hamilton.

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The relocation of the Chargers to Los Angeles

The San Diego Chargers have announced that they will relocate to Los Angeles, after failing to come to an agreement with the city of San Diego on either a new stadium or upgrades to their existing stadium, which is one of the oldest in the NFL.
It is assumed that the Chargers will be tenants with the LA Rams at their new stadium in Inglewood CA which is scheduled to open in time for the 2019 season.
In the meantime, it seems that the Chargers intend to play at Stubhub Stadium in 2017 and 2018. This is a very small stadium by NFL standards, with a capacity of only about 30,000.
The move to a smaller stadium in the short term is, however, likely to have only a limited imoact on the overall team revenues. This is because almost 50% of an NFL team’s revenues is from their pro-rated share of the overall NFL television rights revenues. That is a lot of money each year, and it keeps going up. For 2015, the Green Bay Packers, who are the only NFL team to publish annual accounts, because they are owned by the public, reported TV revenues of $222.6m – 54% of their total revenues in what is a small local market compared to many other teams. The national TV revenue number is rumoured to be rising to over $240m in 2017.
The Chargers are in the middle of the pack on total spending on players, as reported here. They are going to have reduced home game revenues, but they will still share away game revenues from full-sized stadium. To put it in math terms, if their seat and other spending revenues from Stubhub are 50% of the revenues from San Diego, that will still equate to only a 25% drop in game-day revenues, since half of their games are road games. Since about 50% of their revenues come from TV income, the overall impact on revnues will be (at most) 12.5% for the next 2 seasons, and if TV revenues keep on rising, that number may be a lot less.
The Chargers are thus accepting a modest short-term reduction in revenues for the chance to earn more money from premium seating and access to the LA market from 2019. They do have the option of selling PSLs and season tickets, so they could extract a lot of one-time revenues starting in 2018. (This article, interestingly, explains that the PSL opportunities in San Diego were judged to be very limited, and PSL sales in other sports markets have not exactly been big sources of revenue recently, so the 49ers may be an anomaly.), However, the 49ers revenue from PSLs has apparently failed to meet forecasts, in part because the recent performance of the team in Levis Stadium has been poor which has led to a slump in the sales of both PSLs and season tickets. The deal between the 49ers and the Stadium Authority is structured such that failure of the PSL sales to meet forecasts could convert Levis Stadium into a financial loser for the city of Santa Clara.
It is not clear to me what the Chargers will be able to do for other sources of revenue once they arrive in Inglewood as tenants instead of stadium owners or sole occupiers. Many other NFL teams have naming rights deals for their stadiums, which bring in a lot of extra money annually. Since Rams owner Stan Kroenke will own the Inglewood stadium, with the Chargers as tenants, if he does have a naming rights deal for the stadium, it seems unlikely that the Chargers will benefit from it. However, given that the existing naming rights deal with Qualcomm in San Diego was only worth just over $1m per year, you can make the argument that the Chargers have little to lose financially by not having a naming rights deal in future.
I hope that the tenancy deal that the Chargers have with the Rams does not vary the costs dependent on the final cost of the new stadium. Stadium projects are notorious for blowing past initial cost and timeframe estimates.
As to whether the LA area can support 2 NFL teams; only time and on-field performance will determine that. However, the relocations of the Rams and Chargers (and the probable move of the Oakland Raiders) are occurring because cities are increasingly unwilling to provide large sums of public money to build new stadiums for professional sports franchises. If the NFL growth stops or reverses, these moves may be seen as the high water mark for NFL ambitions.
UPDATE 1This article does a good job of summarizing the teeth-grinding self-serving duplicity that NFL owners engage in as they seek to corral ever more public money for their stadiums and related amenities.
UPDATE 2This article explains some of the twisted dynamics behind the final decision by the Chargers to move to LA.. This article explains how the long-standing absence of an NFL team in the LA basin, plus old animosities, has been a major contributor to the current mess. The maximum spin-cycle letter from Roger Goodell looks even more like a zero-credibility pile of BS after you read the article.
UPDATE 3This comment from FieldOfSchemes reminds us of why and how the Chargers ended up in San Diego in the first place

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The dynamics of GM and Head Coach and personnel control in hiring

Ever since Bill Parcells’ famous quote about his desire to control the roster of any NFL team for which he was the head coach, it has been customary for many NFL head coaching candidates to seek control over the player roster of their teams.
The track record of coaches at controlling and managing rosters is at best a mixed one. For some coaches, it is yet another distraction from the high-intensity business of coaching.
Ownership in NFL franchises has become very adept at window-dressing when it comes to who controls roster decisions. This is partly because, ultimately, the person with the check book controls the roster, and that is the owner or the ownership group. No matter how much many franchises attempt to portray their GM and coach as being in total control of the roster, it is an inescapable reality that sometimes owners fall in love with players who are in the NFL draft or free agent pool, and sometimes insist that they be selected or recruited, or even played when they are not ready or a good fit for the team. That seldom gives good results, since the owner is basically disenfranchising their own in-house leadership. However, it happens.
There are also numerous franchises where the head coach is really in control of the roster, and the GM effectively works for the head coach. However, you could not guess this if you looked at the org chart. A good example is the New England Patriots, who do not have a GM, and where Nick Caserio, the Director of Player Personnel, works for Bill Belichick. Belichick has control of the roster, and he may be one of the few coaches in the NFL who does enjoy total control.
The historical rule of thumb has been that the coach works for the GM, so if a franchise fires its head coach and GM (which often happens, as the owners clean house), the normal expectation that the GM is hired before the head coach. If it happens the other way round, the risk is that the GM finds himself with a head coach that he did not select, and ultimately cannot form a constructive working relationship with.
The 49ers are now looking for both a GM and head coach, having fired their previous GM and head coach at the end of the season. They have apparently struck out once already on the GM front, with Nick Caserio declining to interview for the GM position. I am expecting that the 49ers will struggle to fill both open positions, given the bizarre public comments of Jed York, which, frankly, made him look like a petulant child. They appear to have interviewed GM candidates already, and somebody will ultimately take the job. However, whether that person has the skills and freedom to succeed is an open question.

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The astonishingly narrow view in the NFL on coach hiring

We are now into the mad annual scramble where all of the NFL teams that fired their head coach and/or General Manager are trying to hire replacements.
It’s a short compressed hiring cycle, because the NFL Draft takes place in April, and teams want their entire coaching and scouting staffs to be in place ASAP so that they can go evaluate all draft candidates and try to decide who to pick in that annual lottery. There is also free agency which begins in the second week of March at the start of the new league year.
6 teams fired one or both of their head coach or GM. There are weird rumours that the Houston Texans may end up looking for a head coach soon due to friction between Bill O’Brien and team leadership, but those are definitely stretch rumours, given that the Texans are still in the playoffs.
There is a long-standing rumor that the LA Rams want to trade for a head coach from another team (names like Sean Payton or Sean Payton keep being mentioned). Needless to say, in true military and political fashion, all of the parties potentially involved are denying this is a possibility (which leads many cynics to conclude that it will indeed happen).
The list of known candidates for the teams is generally agreed, and it is a depressing list, not because of the candidates themselves, all worthy people, but because it shows (a) the lack of imagination in NFL hiring practices, and (b) the sameness of NFL franchises when it comes to hiring.
The list of candidates for NFL teams always consists of most or all of the following:

1. The interim head coach (if the previous head coach was fired during the season. This may or may not be a serious interview)
2. One or two non-serious minority guys (to allow the team to comply with the Rooney Rule)
3. Hot Co-ordinators
4. Any Hot College Coach presumed to be interested or possibly persuabable to come to the NFL
4. Former NFL head coaches who have re-established themselves as co-ordinators
5. Former NFL head coaches out of the game (if they can interest them)
6. Other position group coaches who may be Hot (usually temporarily based on this year’s results)

Recently fired head coaches will either sit on their buyout money for a season or join a new head coach on his staff. They rarely get a shot at another head coaching interview (Chip Kelly last year was an exception, but see what just happened to him?)

The result of this reasoning loop is that, leaving aside the interim coaches (who mostly do not get the job), the list is a fairly short one. It currently seems to consist of the following:

Hot Co-Ordinators: Kyle Shanahan (very hot), Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia (I wonder which team they work for?), Harold Goodwin, Frank Reich, Anthony Lynn
Minority Guys: Teryl Austin, Teryl Austin, some guy named Austin
Hot College Coaches: NONE (some guy named Nick Saban continues to insist he is not interested)
Former Head Coaches: Mike Smith
Ex Head Coaches: NONE (they are on TV for a reason – it’s a lot more fun than running an NFL team)
Other Position coaches: Tom Cable (also former head coach)

The Rooney Rule is, sadly, being used as a fig-leaf by many teams to obscure the reality that, mostly owned by crusty old white guys, they tend to want a white guy in charge of the players. Teryl Austin has publicly declined at least one interview with a team in the past once he determined that he was not a serious candidate, and the team was possibly simply trying to comply with the Rooney Rule.
Teams always try to hire a Hot Co-ordinator first. They are drawn to them like moths to a flame. When the Dallas Cowboys began winning Superbowls in the early 1990’s, his offensive and defensive co-ordinators (Norv Turner and Dave Wannstedt) were snapped up in short order to become head coaches. Neither man has proved to be a consistently good head coach. Turner remains a respected offensive co-ordinator; Wannstedt is essentially out of football after bouncing all over the NFL and college.
Many other co-ordinators were promoted to head coach, and discovered quickly that it was a job that they either could not do well or did not want to do. Most of them were fired and went back to being good (and in some cases great) co-ordinators. The Dallas Cowboys currently have Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli as their offensive and defensive co-ordinators respectively. Both men were head coaches without much success, but are clearly back in the right job. Jim Schwartz was a failure as a head coach first time round, but remains an excellent defensive co-ordinator.
The role of head coach is a multi-faceted one, and coaching is only part of it. Co-ordinators promoted to head coach tend by nature to focus on the side of the ball that they came from, which leads to a number of head coaches who were offensive co-ordinators continuing to call plays during games. This tends to disenfranchise the team’s offensive co-ordinator, and de-focusses the coach. Ditto defensive minded coaches who try to run the defense in games. That usually results in issues with the offense not being addressed (Todd Bowles). There are too many game-day distractions and this often shows up in other detail areas such as clock management, where teams routinely screw up basics because nobody is paying attention on a continual basis during games.
HIring teams and GMs tend to place way too much emphasis on co-ordinators from successfully (especially Superbowl-winning) teams.
The “hire the Hot Co-Ordinator” approach has therefore resulted in significant disappointments over the years, particularly as teams hired co-ordinators away from the New England Patriots, only to discover that they did not function at all well outside of the unique environment of excellence that Bill Belichick created and maintains in that franchise. The two enduring co-ordinators of the 2000s Patriots dynasty (Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis) were hired away to become NFL and college head coaches respectively. Neither man succeeded in their new jobs, they both looked over-matched and out of their depth. Crennel is back doing what he does best as a co-ordinator in the NFL, Weis is living on his golden parachutes from 2 college teams. Eric Mangini had two spells as a head coach without success, was caught up in the Spygate scandal, and is now in limbo. Josh McDaniel, hired by the Denver Broncos in 2010, began with an unbeaten run in the 2010 season and looked like a genius coaching hire for a season, before the team lapsed into mediocrity and he was fired, going back to New England. The jury is out on Bill O’Brien in Houston.
College head coaches are a hit-or-miss proposition, mostly miss. Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban and Chip Kelly were all college head coaches who spent time in the NFL and found that some of the natural advantages that they enjoyed in college such as superior recruiting, stacked schedules, and total roster and team control either did not exist in the NFL, or were completely different in nature.
Occasionally teams succeed by going outside the box. The Baltimore Ravens raised eyebrows when they hired John Harbaugh, who was a special teams coach, not a co-ordinator, but they have won a Superbowl under his tenure. However, that remains an isolated exception. Most teams think that the Hot Co-Ordinator is the safe and/or exciting and sexy option.
In the meantime, Jeff Garcia has still not been interviewed by the 49ers. They might just need to interview him eventually, since their GM and head coach positions are regarded as the least attractive in the league right now. The 49ers are likely to be short of suitors when the recruitment cycle music stops.

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