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When did every current head coach get their first NFL win?

Never forget the first NFL win … if it happens


Urban Meyer looked like he was on his way to his first win as an NFL head coach on Thursday night. Up 14-0, he decided to go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal late in the first half, the Jaguars failed, and the momentum changed. The final result: Meyer is still searching for his first victory as an NFL head coach, having lost his first four games.

While he awaits that inaugural professional win, let’s take a look at the other 31 NFL coaches and see when they got their first victory…

Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals finished in a tie with the Detroit Lions as Kliff Kingsbury made his NFL debut. The former Texas Tech coach then lost three straight before Arizona defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-23, on Oct. 6, 2019. The opponent of that game was current Bengals coach Zac Taylor. The win came on a 31-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez as regulation expired.

Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Smith

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It took until Week 3 of the 2021 season for Arthur Smith to break into the win column. The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New York Giants, 17-14, at MetLife when Youngjoe Koo kicked a 40-yard field goal at the end of regulation.

Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh took over as Baltimore Ravens head coach in 2008. He got his first win in his debut, topping Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-10. A 38-yard run by Joe Flacco gave Baltimore a 17-3 lead in the third quarter, and the Ravens held off the Bengals.

Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sean McDermott won his debut as an NFL head coach with the Buffalo Bills in 2017. McDermott and the Bills scored a touchdown in each of the second, third, and fourth quarters en route to a 21-12 triumph over the New York Jets.

Carolina Panthers: Matt Rhule

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rhule came to the Panthers from Baylor. He saw Carolina lose its first two games last season before defeating the Los Angeles Chargers — at SoFi — 21-16. The Panthers only trailed 7-6 in the game and had a 21-10 lead in the final quarter.

Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy debuted with the Chicago Bears in 2018, and saw his team fall to the Green Bay Packers 24-23. This was the game Chicago led 20-0 before Aaron Rodgers overcame injury and the Bears. The following week, Chicago downed the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football for Nagy’s first victory. The clinching moment proved to be a Prince Amukamara 49-yard interception return in the final quarter that made it 24-10.

Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The current Bengals head coach started his career in a brutal fashion, losing the first 11 games in 2019. Cincinnati finally broke into the win column for Taylor by beating the New York Jets, 22-6.

Cleveland Browns: Kevin Stefanski

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Stefanski has turned things around big time in Cleveland. It didn’t start off well in 2020 as the Baltimore Ravens pounded them. He got his first win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 last season.

Dallas Cowboys: Mike McCarthy

Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Green Bay Packers turned the team over to Mike McCarthy in 2006. He lost his first two games before facing the Detroit Lions in Week 3. The Packers won, 31-24, as Brett Favre threw for 340 yards and 3 TD passes.

Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A longtime assistant coach, Vic Fangio took over the Denver Broncos in 2019. He lost his first four games before a visit to Los Angeles ended with a 20-13 victory over the Chargers. The Broncos scored the first 17 points and managed to hold on for the victory.

Detroit Lions: Dan Campbell

Detroit Lions via AP

Still … searching … for … his … first … victory.

Green Bay Packers: Matt LaFleur


Matt LaFleur has gone 13-3 in each of his first two seasons as head coach in Green Bay. He opened his head-coaching career with three consecutive wins in 2019. The first came against the Chicago Bears in an NFC North battle (final score: 10-3). The Packers scored the final 10 points in the game.

Houston Texans: David Culley

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Another longtime assistant coach, David Culley, broke in this season in a big way. The Houston Texans gave their head coach a 37-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in what was Urban Meyer’s first game as an NFL head coach.

Indianapolis Colts: Frank Reich

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Reich became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. He saw his team fall to the Cincinnati Bengals in his first game. The next week, the Colts beat Washington, 21-9.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Urban Meyer

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

TBD: Didn’t happen in Week 4.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles hired Andy Reid as their head coach for the 1999 season. He saw the Birds lose their first four games before facing the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 10. Philadelphia won 13-10, scoring all their points in the final quarter. A pair of Norm Johnson field goals cut the deficit to 10-6. With 1:07 left, Charles Johnson caught the game-winning 28-yard TD pass from one Doug Pederson, who would play a large part in Eagles history years later.

Las Vegas Raiders: Jon Gruden

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He is back where he started, in 1988… sort of. Jon Gruden coaches the Las Vegas Raiders now; years ago, he ran the Oakland Raiders. They lost their first game before facing the New York Giants. Greg Davis kicked a 26-yard field goal to give Gruden and Oakland a 20-17 victory.

Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Brandon Staley era opened with a road test at Washington. The Chargers trailed 16-13 entering the fourth quarter, but Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams with a 3-yard pass to make it 20-16 with 11:21 left. That was the final tally in the game.

Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Young Sean McVay became Rams coach in 2017. He broke into the win column immediately. McVay and the Rams destroyed the Indianapolis Colts, 46-9.

Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Flores came to Miami from New England in 2019. He had a massive rebuilding project with the Dolphins, and that was evident from the start as the Fish lost their first seven games. The first victory finally came against the New York Jets — surprise — with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing a trio of TD passes in the second quarter of a 26-18 triumph.

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer broke into the NFL as a head coach in a big way, winning his first game against the St. Louis Rams, 34-6. Matt Cassel threw a pair of TD passes and Harrison Smith returned a pick 81 yards.

New England Patriots: Bill Belichick


His first victory did not come as a coach of the New England Patriots … or New York Jets. Bill Belichick was named Cleveland Browns head coach for the 1991 season. He lost his first game to the Cowboys and picked up his initial win in his second contest against — you got it — the New England Patriots, 20-0.

New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton

David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton took over as New Orleans Saints head coach in 2006. He was an immediate winner — in fact, the Saints won his first three games. The first was a 19-14 triumph over the Cleveland Browns. The game was iced with a John Carney field goal with 5:42 left.

New York Giants: Joe Judge


Joe Judge was named New York Giants head coach for the 2020 season. He opened with five consecutive losses. The first victory was a 20-19 triumph over the Washington Football Team. The Giants took a 20-13 lead on a 43-yard fumble return by Tae Crowder. Washington scored a TD with less than 40 seconds left but a 2-point conversion failed.

New York Jets: Robert Saleh

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing to show for yet.

Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Sirianni


The Nick Sirianni era in Philadelphia had a gangbusters opening as the Eagles wrecked Arthur Smith’s debut as Atlanta coach, 32-6.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin followed Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh for the 2007 season and is still in charge of the Steelers. He won his first three games as a coach with the opener being a 34-7 romp over the Cleveland Browns. Ben Roethlisberger threw 4 TD passes in the laugher.

San Franscisco 49ers: Kyle Shanahan

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan became coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. He saw the Niners lose their first 9 games with him as coach that season. They finally broke through with a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. C.J. Beathard threw a pair of TD passes in the victory.

Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll


A long, long time ago Pete Carroll coached the New York Jets. In 1990, he won his first two games of a short-lived coaching career in the Big Apple. The opener was a 23-3 victory at Buffalo. The Bills scored the first three points and were blanked the rest of the way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bruce Arians

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, Bruce Arians was the interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts following coach Chuck Pagano’s leukemia diagnosis. Arians led the Colts to a 9–3 record, part of one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in NFL history. The first victory was a 30-27 triumph over the Green Bay Packers. The game-winner came on a 4-yard pass from Andrew Luck to Reggie Wayne.

Tennessee Titans: Mike Vrabel


Mike Vrabel has been coach of the Tennesse Titans since 2018. He earned his first win in his second game, defeating the Houston Texans 20-17. A pair of Ryan Succop field goals in the final 10 minutes proved to be the deciding factor.

Washington Football Team: Ron Rivera

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera took over as head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2011 . He lost his first two games before facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Carolina trailed 10-5 in the third quarter. A pair of Olindo Mare field goals and a TD pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen, followed by that pair connecting on a 2-point conversion made it a 16-10 final.



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