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Where Mike Solari goes, coaches get fired

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this offseason I looked at how coaching firings have followed Seattle Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald through both his pro and college career. Following up on that, it appears as though head coach Pete Carroll may have multiple reasons to be wary heading into the 2018 season as offensive line coach Mike Solari appears to also be a harbinger of bad things for the head coaches under which he works.

Specifically, everyone is aware that Ben McAdoo was fired by the New York Giants during the course of the 2017 season, and that is what led to Solari becoming available to be hired by the Hawks. However, McAdoo is only the most recent boss that Solari has seen whacked. Prior to the 2017 season, here is a look at the last five teams where he has been in sole command of the offensive line.

Head coach for the last five seasons Mike Solari has been head offensive line coach

Year Head Coach
Year Head Coach
2017 Ben McAdoo
2016 Ben McAdoo
2014 Jim Harbaugh
2010 Mike Singletary
2009 Jim Mora Jr.

So, how have things turned out for those gentlemen? Well, it’s pretty simple. Following a successful 2016 campaign McAdoo lost his job before he ever had a chance to finish out his second season as head coach. Jim Harbaugh was fired by the San Francisco 49ers at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Mike Singletary was canned by the 49ers prior to the final game of the season in 2010 and the Seahawks let Jim Mora go following the 2009 campaign.

Some fans are going to want to know why the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons are not included in that list, and that answer is quite simple. Even though Solari held the title of offensive line coach, he was not the only offensive line coach the 49ers had for those three season. Upon arriving from Stanford, Jim Harbaugh brought with him Stanford offensive line coach Tim Drevno. Drevno and Solari were co-offensive line coaches for the three seasons starting in 2011, with neither having a title superior to the other. However, following the 2013 season, Drevno left the 49ers to take over as the running game coordinator at USC and in 2014 the San Francisco lines fell off dramatically. There will be a piece looking at the 49ers lines over the five years of Solari’s time there later this week, but let’s just say the data doesn’t give me much hope.

In any case, what is readily apparent is that whenever Solari is in charge of the offensive line, head coaches seem to get fired. And those that don’t get fired, quit. The two seasons prior to 2009 where Solari was in charge of an offensive line were the 2008 Seahawks and the 2005 Kansas City Chiefs. The head coach of both those teams, Mike Holmgren and Dick Vermeil, retired following the season.

What that means is that in the last seven seasons when Mike Solari has been the head offensive line coach for an NFL team, the team has needed to look for a new head coach following the season. Maybe things will be different for the 2018 Seahawks, but in any case Pete Carroll may be wise to go ahead and dust off the old resume during the down time between OTAs and training camp just to be on the safe side.