Our sports handicapping columnists have written a column on the NFL head coaching changes in 2008. This was done in order for the average sports handicapper, fan, or even sports betting beginner to familiarize themselves with the new coaches in the National Football League's 2008 season. Below you will find general information on the four new head coaches in NFL Football. These coaches include head coaches; Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons), Jim Zorn (Washington Redskins), Tony Sparano (Miami Dolphins), & John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens). You will find some information about the direction that they plan to take each NFL team, where each coach came from, and who will be working as assistants under them. This information could come in handy when doing your handicapping especially at the beginning of the season as well as making your NFL Football picks in 2008. Read through this NFL Football betting information article to learn more about the new head coaches for NFL Football's 2008 season. Also, be sure to check out our NFL Football Team Previews for the 2008 season as well as our free sports picks page for complimentary expert NFL Football picks daily.
Between the Superbowl in February, and the start of the NFL regular season in September, four NFL teams have made head coaching changes. Whether resigning, getting fired, or leaving for another job, one guy has left, while another has taken the helm. In Atlanta Bobby Petrino left after one year, and was replaced by Mike Smith. In Baltimore Brian Billick is out, John Harbaugh is in. In Miami, Cam Cameron was shown the door, Tony Sparano led in, and in Washington the legendary Joe Gibbs is done, while Jim Zorn takes over. Lets discuss the coaching changes and what to expect from these new NFL head coaches.
Atlanta Falcons New Head Coach, Mike Smith:
What a terrible mess the Atlanta Falcons were in 2007. First, there was the Michael Vick scandal which was followed up by the Bobby Petrino 'come and go' story of 2007. After a very ugly 4-12 record last year, it was best for the whole Falcon franchise to start a new. Mike Smith is the guy for the job in the Atlanta. Petrino left the Falcons after just coaching 13 games in the NFL, deciding to return to the college game, and taking over at Arkansas. Petrino agreed to a 2.85/year deal at Arkansas less than a year after deciding to accept a $24 million/five year deal with the Falcons. Some speculate that without Vick, Petrino felt helpless in turning the Falcons around. Petrino went 3-10 as a professional football coach. The Falcons now turn to Mike Smith, who became the 14th head coach in franchise history on January 23, 2008. Smith who is known for his excellent communication skills, and his ability to teach the game of football has been around the league for 26 years, including 9 in the NFL. Smith, a 1981 graduate of East Tennessee University, played four seasons at ETU, and set a team record of 186 tackles his senior season. Before joining the NFL coaching ranks, Smith was a defensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech University in Cooksville, TN. Then during the 1999-2001 seasons Mike was a Defensive Assistant/ D Line coach with the Baltimore Ravens, and was part of the 2000 Super Bowl Champion Ravens team. Then from 2003-2007, Smith was the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coach Smith is excited about his first year as a head coach, and in Atlanta he will have plenty of challenges.
Baltimore Ravens Head Coach, John Harbaugh:
Head coach Brian Billick, who led the Ravens to the 2001 Superbowl title, was fired after a mediocre 2007 season where the Ravens finished 5-11. Billick had three years left on his contract, a contract that pays him $5 million/year. Not a bad departing gift for a coach that has done nothing but underachieve since the 2001 Superbowl. His firing took place less than 24 hours after the Ravens final game of the 2007 season. After a replacement search was conducted, the Ravens elected to hire John Harbaugh. Harbaugh, who turns 46 in September, is from Perrysburg, Ohio. He got his undergraduate degree from Miami (OH). His first coaching position came in 1984, where he was a coach at Western Michigan University, he then took a job at the University of Pittsburgh, then one season at Morehead State, and then finally he was hired at the University of Cincinnati in 1989 where he started as the special teams coach, moved to the tight ends coach, then moved to the recruiting coordinator, before moving to outside linebackers coach, then finishing as the running backs coach. He then accepted a job in 1997 with Indiana University, as the defensive backs/special teams coach. In 1998 John began his NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has served with the Eagles since then, and was most recently the secondary coach, after spending nine seasons as the special teams coach in Philadelphia. Another guy that was hired for the first time as a head coach- Baltimore seems to have a lot of personnel questions, and now with the addition of the new head coach there will be a lot of surprises come September in Baltimore. We'll have to wait to see if they are good or bad surprises.
Miami Dolphins New Head Coach, Tony Sparano:
The Miami Dolphins were a horrid team during the 2007 season. With the addition of Tony Sparano, and a few other personnel changes, they look to be much improved this season. One day after the Dolphins hired Bill Parcells as the head of football operations, Cam Cameron was fired as the head man in Miami. With Sparano being hired, the Dolphins will now have five head coaches in five years. Cameron was the first Dolphins coach fired in 37 years. Cameron still had three years remaining on his contract. Tony Sparano will be starting his first season as a head coach in the NFL, his tenth season in the league. The last five years of his career, Tony was in Dallas as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Before that Sparano was an offensive line/running back coordinator, and also the assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Before his time in Dallas, Sparano was with Jacksonville, Washington after being initially employed as an offensive coach for the Cleveland Browns. Before being employed in the NFL, Coach Sparano was a head coach at the University of New Haven, where twice in four years his teams made the playoffs, including a runner-up finish during the 1997 season. Before that, Sparano spent four seasons as the offensive line coach at New Haven, along with the offensive line coach, and then offensive coordinator at Boston University. With his Dallas connection, look for Coach Sparano to get things rolling in Miami in a short amount of time!
Washington Redskins Head Coach, Jim Zorn:
Jim Zorn is the new man in Washington for the 2008 NFL season. 67-year-old Joe Gibbs elected to resign his position as the head coach of the Redskins three days after the playoff loss, ending their 2007 season. Gibbs, who had one season left of his 5 year, 27.5 million dollar contact was 31-36 in his second time around as head man in Washington. Gibbs final record ends at 171-101, and 17-7 in playoff games. The new man Jim Zorn, along with the other three new coaches in the NFL, is getting his first start as a head man. Zorn, who is 55 years old, was hired in February of 2008 as the team's 27th head coach in history. From 2001-2007 Zorn was the quarterbacks' coach in Seattle, where he worked with quarterback Matt Hassleback. Before his time in Seattle, Zorn was also the quarterbacks' coach for the Detroit Lions. In Detroit, he was responsible for the improvement in Charlie Batch's career. Coach Zorn coached at the University of Minnesota, Utah State, and Boise State from 1989-1996. Zorn has the most talent of any of the new head coaches, and with him being offensive mind, look for the Redskins offense to improve, hopefully he can find the right guys to work on the defensive side, and the Redskins could get back to the postseason in 2008.
Check out our other 2008 NFL Team & Rookie Draft Picks previews along with our Preseason Power Rankings from the writers at Bankroll Sports.