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Third and long odds (cont.)

Posted: Thursday February 8, 2007 4:22PM; Updated: Friday February 9, 2007 1:36PM
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• After going 0-3 in Super Bowls in Denver, Reeves had a four-year stint with the Giants (1993-96) before arriving in Atlanta in 1997. The Falcons made their memorable Super Bowl run in 1998, losing to Denver in John Elway's final game, but Atlanta made it back to the playoffs just once more in Reeves' seven seasons, which included five losing records. Ironically, when Reeves lost his job 13 games into the 2003 season, he was replaced on an interim basis for three weeks by Phillips, his defensive coordinator, and the man who also succeeded him in Denver in 1993.

• Houston's Jack Pardee had great regular-season success with the Oilers, his third NFL coaching job after stops in Washington and Chicago. The Oilers made the playoffs in all four of Pardee's four full seasons in Houston, going 42-22 in the regular season in that span. But Pardee's Oilers were just 1-4 in the playoffs, and their signature moment was that historic 41-38 collapse at Buffalo in the 1992 wild-card round, a game they once led 35-3. When the Oilers began the 1994 season 1-9, Pardee was fired and replaced by defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher.


• In Parcells' third head coaching job, he got the Jets to the 1998 AFC title game, but wound up bowing out with a 30-20 mark in three seasons.

• Schottenheimer's third gig lasted just one season, when impulsive Redskins owner Daniel Snyder canned him after going 8-8 in 2001, a pretty fair accomplishment given Washington's desultory 0-5 start. But Steve Spurrier had caught Snyder's eye at that point, and we all know how that turned out.

A few other three-timers also turned up during the course of my research. Ted Marchibroda got both the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts into the playoffs, but his third go-round, with the newly relocated Baltimore Ravens, produced only a 16-31-1 record from 1996-98.

Marion Campbell somehow got three cracks at it, with the Falcons, Eagles and Falcons again, but never had a winning record anywhere, and went 11-32 in his final three-year stop in Atlanta (1987-89). The legendary Sid Gillman coached the L.A. Rams in the late '50s (pre-Super Bowl era), and then took over the L.A./San Diego Chargers throughout the '60s, with much success. But his third try at head coach amounted to just a 4-6 record with the 1971 Chargers, prompting his resignation, and a two-year run in Houston in 1973-74 was no better (8-15).

But there is one fascinating footnote to Gillman's last coaching stop in Houston. He was replaced in 1975 by the most successful coach in Oilers history. A guy named O.A. "Bum'' Phillips -- the father of the new head coach of that other NFL franchise in Texas. The one in Dallas.

• A few more quick observations on Phillips' hiring:

-- In going with Phillips over the presumed favorite, 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Dallas prioritized the continued employment of its 3-4 defensive formation -- which is Phillips' specialty -- over the benefits of having Turner involved in quarterback Tony Romo's development.

-- The choice of Phillips makes sense if Dallas really believes recently hired offensive coordinator-to-be Jason Garrett is all that. Why not entrust Romo's progress to one of the league's brightest up-and-coming offensive coaches? Especially since you've invested so much time and personnel acquisition energy into stocking the Cowboys' 3-4 defense. Jones apparently reasoned that it's easier to get one good coach for his quarterback, than the three or four defensive players who might have been needed if he had hired Turner and gone with 4-3 proponent Ron Rivera as his defensive coordinator.

-- The big winners in all this, besides Phillips? San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who get to continue to their successful working relationship with Turner as offensive coordinator, rather than starting over after just a year together. And the Bears, who now aren't faced with stiff competition from Dallas in their quest to retain Rivera, whose contract as Chicago's defensive coordinator expires Feb. 20.

-- The biggest loser in all of this? That would be Schottenheimer and his 14-2 Chargers, who have had their coaching staff completely raided by other teams this offseason. San Diego lost both of its talented coordinators to head coaching jobs -- Phillips and Cam Cameron (now in Miami) -- and also has seen tights end coach Rob Chudzinski leave to become Cleveland's offensive coordinator, and linebackers coach Greg Manusky resign to accept the San Francisco defensive coordinator position.

Don Banks covers pro football for SI.com.

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