NFL: Has a rookie head coach ever gone to the playoffs?

Steelers have a new head coach. Which makes me need to ask: Has a rookie head coach ever gone to the playoffs? Superbowl?

Off the top of my head, Jim Haslett went to the playoffs in 2000 as a rookie coach with the Saints. They won the NFC west and one playoff game.

I don’t think a rookie coach has won the super bowl, but I’m pretty sure there have been other rookies who made the playoffs.

Jim Mora, Jr. took the Falcons to the NFC Championship game in his first year.

Didn’t George Seifert win the Super Bowl the year he took over the 49ers from Bill Walsh (R.I.P.)?

You’re right, I forgot about that.

Barry Switzer did, and won the Super Bowl in his second year. I think its fairly common.

Marty Schottenheimer took the Browns to the AFC Central title his first full year, 1985. Their record was only 8-8 and they lost in the first round of the playoffs (to Miami, after blowing a late game lead, thus setting the course for all future Martyball disappointments), but they were in the playoffs.

Jim Mora? Playoffs? You kidding me? PLAYOFFS?

Jim Mora, JR.

Another one is Jim Fassell, 1997 NYG.

Another one is Bill Cowher, 1992 Steelers.

Dammit! Sorry.

Two did it just last year. Eric Mangini and Sean Payton – both first-time head coaches – led the Jets and Saints to the playoffs respectively. The Saints made it all the way to the NFC Championship game.

Was Gruden’s replacement in Oakland a rookie head coach? He took that team to the Superbowl only to lose to Gruden.

[nitpick]He’s not a “junior;” they have different middle names.[/nitpick]

Yup. Bill Callahan. He was only the fourth rookie head coach to go to the Super Bowl, in 2002.