Goodbye, Dick Jauron
For the last decade, I have forcibly been exposed to the horrors of Dick Jauron. I grew up a Bears fan and remain a diehard fan to this day. Because of that, I got to enjoy the beginning of Jauron’s head coaching career in 1999. In a sign of times to come, he led the Bears to a record of 6-10 then followed that up by going 5-11. Then in 2001, the Bears had their great breakthrough. They went 13-3, the second-best record in the entire NFL. In the playoffs, though, they were crushed by the Eagles in their first game, 33-19. The Bears could not recover. They overcame their fluky 2001 by returning to a much more understandable 4-12 in 2002. 2003, however, is the true turning point of our story. In 2003, Dick Jauron discovered those magical numbers, 7 and 9.
In 2003, the Bears finished 7-9, and Dick Jauron was fired after the season ended. 2003 set the standrad to which Jauron seemed to aspire the rest of his career. He served as an interim coach in Detroit in 2005, going 1-4. For some unknown reason, Ralph Wilson looked at this record of performance and concluded that Jauron would be the best coach for the Buffalo Bills. I, by this point, was about to move to Buffalo, meaning that I would once again be subjected to constant focus on the brilliance of Dick Jauron. In his first three seasons in Buffalo, the Bills went 7-9 each year. Pause on that for a moment. In his last 4 full seasons as a coach, Dick Jauron’s teams finished 7-9 every time. He is the very definition of a mediocre coach. This season, his grip on 7-9 seemed to slip, and the Bills come into Week 11 at 3-6. They would have to go 4-3 the rest of the way to achieve their yearly mediocrity.
How did Dick Jauron remain employed for so long? He always avoided scandal; it is impossible to find a quote from Jauron that offended anybody because he never seemed to say anything. He had one superb regular season to point back to, and he could accurately claim that the Bears season in 2002 was sabotaged by an injury to starting quarterback Jim Miller. Of course, his employers should have been able to evaluate 2001 in comparison to the 4 surrounding seasons and see where the fluke really was. They did not.
Now Dick Jauron is gone. Who will take up his mantle of 7-9?