The 9 Shortest Head Coaching Tenures in NFL History From Bill Belichick to Frank Reich

Frank Reich's tenure as head coach of the Carolina Panthers was short-lived. Here's a look at some of the shortest head coaching tenures in the NFL.

Frank Reich’s time in Carolina is officially over. The veteran head coach saw his tenure come to an abrupt end, and with that, the Reich era is officially over without even completing his first full season with the franchise.

While Reich’s time in Carolina was short, it’s actually not even close to the shortest tenure of head coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. Nevertheless, he’s certainly in the top 10.

Let’s take a closer look at the nine shortest head coaching tenures in NFL history to see where Reich stacks up.

Shortest Head Coaching Tenures In NFL History

This list is a surprising compilation of household names and head-scratching choices, headlined by the greatest head coach of all time pulling the rug from under one organization in favor of a divisional opponent.

While it was the right move in the long run, it certainly was still perplexing to see unfold.

Bill Belichick, New York Jets | One Day

No, that is not a typo. The great New England Patriots head coach was the lead man in New York with the Jets for one single day. Bill Belichick had agreed to be the Jets’ head coach before ultimately deciding that he would rather take the Patriots’ job instead.

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He was announced by the Jets organization and everything before he put out a press release stating he would no longer be with the team. Shortly after, he signed with New England, and as one would say, the rest was history.

George Allen, Los Angeles Rams | 2 Preseason Games

After just two preseason games, the Rams’ organization had seen enough. George Allen was known for his stern style of coaching, and the approach did not play well with the new generation of NFL players. A group of Rams players scoffed at the regulations almost immediately, causing instant friction within the building.

After losing the first two preseason games of the 1978 season, the team decided that an immediate change was needed to save the season and announced Allen’s firing on Aug. 13.

Pete McCulley, San Francisco 49ers | 9 Games

Pete McCulley served as the San Francisco 49ers head coach for the first nine games of the 1978 season, where he only won one game during that span. McCulley was fired and replaced with Fred O’Connor after the ninth game and is still, to this day, the top three shortest stints for a head coach to ever have in NFL history.

Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers | 11 Games

The veteran head coach is the latest NFL head coach to be given his walking papers. After a rough 1-10 start that saw him relinquish play-calling duties and then ultimately take them back, Reich’s time in Carolina ended only 11 games into his tenure with the team.

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During his time with Carolina, the Panthers traded up to the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to take Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. While Young’s time is just starting as a Panther, Reich doesn’t have the same fate.

Lou Holtz, New York Jets | 13 Games

The legendary college football coach would give the NFL a try in 1976. That stint would only last 13 games, however, before Lou Holtz opted to leave the professional ranks to head back to the college world.

While it was a brief stint in the NFL, it paid off in the long run for Holtz as he was able to continue where his legacy lies — within the college ranks.

Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons | 13 Games

In 2007, just after signing a brand new four-year deal to be the head coach of the Falcons, Bobby Petrino reneged on his deal in Atlanta in favor of being the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks — just 13 games into his tenure.

It was a rough moment for Petrino and his reputation, and the decision ruffled a lot of feathers.

Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars | 13 Games

Urban Meyer’s time in Jacksonville was rough from start to finish. The long-time college coach was brought in to turn the franchise around with the help of newly drafted No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Instead, the signing looks to be one of the biggest mistakes the franchise has made to date.

Meyer’s time in Duval County would end after just 13 games. There was controversy, poor play, and a disconnect in the locker room — all leading to Meyer’s quick dismissal within his first season on the job.

Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos | 15 Games

Before the current Jets offensive coordinator found his way to the Big Apple, Nathaniel Hackett was a part of a very quick stint in Denver with the Broncos. A tenure that lasted just 15 games was the culmination of a franchise realizing he may not have been the guy for the job.

Sean Payton has now since taken the job. As he entered the position, Payton threw a shot at Hackett and his time in Denver as being one of the worst coaching jobs in league history.

Whether that is fair or not is up for debate. What cannot be debated was Hackett being within the top eight quickest NFL head coaching tenures.

Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders | 25 Games

Twenty-five games into his six-year commitment, Josh McDaniels was let go from his duties in Sin City. It was a tough time in Vegas for McDaniels in his second stint as a head coach.

What is next for the offensive mind is up in the air.

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