Recall, that Dick was a very successful college scatback and professional DB and kick returner. It's not every moderately succesful player who gets a shot at becoming a defensive coordinator, however, let alone a head coach. By the way, while at Yale, Dick was a member of the shadowy (and less influential than the Skull and Bones club) Wolf's Head Society.
He played for the Lions from '73-'77, making the pro bowl in '74. He finished his career with the Bengals in '80.
In 1980 when he finished his career, Hank Bullough was the Bengals' defensive coordinator. Bullough, of course, presided over one of the worst seasons in Bills' history in 1985, leading the team to a 2-14 record. Guess who was the defensive backs coach for the Bills that year? Dick Jauron.
Jauron was canned along with the rest of the Bullough regime after '85 when Marvelous Marv Levy and Bill Polian came in and rebuilt the Bills (Jim Kelly had something to do with that as well).
Jauron moved on to the Packers in '86 where again he presided over the DBs for 8 years. I can't find a direct link between the coaching staff for the Packers then and Jauron in the past - Forrest Gregg was the Packers coach when Jauron was hired and he stayed on for the Lindy Infante era. He left an up and coming Packers team to take the defensive coordinator position for the brand new Jacksonville Jaguars in '95 working under head coach (and similarly conservative minded) Tom Coughlin.
Jacksonville was relatively successful for a new franchise, going 4-12 in its first year, but making the playoffs in the next four years. Jauron's defense, however, was not a particularly impressive part of that record. His D was second from last in points scored against in '95, second from last in yards allowed in '96 and 6th worst in yards allowed in '97, 9th worst in yards allowed in '98.
Jauron interviewed for head coaching jobs, and the story of how he got the Bears job is amazing.
According to this story, Jauron was the second choice for the Bears' job in '99 (after Dave McInnis), (just as he was when the Bills hired him), and he only ended up the coach because of a PR snafu. The Bears announced McGinnis as a coach apparently before they told McGinnis that he had been hired. Hilarity ensued and Dick Jauron, the second choice, was named coach.
Jauron took some time developing his own mystique, going 6-10 and 5-11 his first season. The decision to take Cade McNown first in '99 was a mistake as he held out and was a non-factor in '99 (Shane Matthews was the starter for most of that year). This mistake was compounded by faulty decisions in free agency (not necessarily Jauron's fault as Mark Hatley was the GM at the time), and misplaced confidence in Curtis Enis (yikes) and Shane Matthews.
Meanwhile, the Bears lucked into Urlacher in that draft (they had been trying to trade up to select Plaxico Burress), but Jauron insisted on trying to give the QB job back to Cade McNown, showcasing bad judgement. McNown would be out of the league permanently following that season). Eventually he was compelled to switch to Jim Miller who did well in limited action until he blew out his achilles. At that point, McCown took the reins again and led the Bears to a horrible finish. Jauron agreed at the end of the season that McCown was not the man for the job.
Somehow, Jauron's team went 13-3 in 2001. If you look behind the stats, you will see that the Bears were extremely lucky, winning every close game, including two in overtime, that Jerry Angelo made some excellent decisions upon becoming GM before the season, and also that, perhaps, perhaps, Dick Jauron's players rallied around him (it was widely speculated that Angelo wanted to install his own coach).
Overall though, 2001 was a season of serendipity for the Bears, incredibly timely Mike Brown INT returns, missed field goals by Jason Hansen of the Lions which allowed the Bears to win the NFC North division. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the Bears got blown out of the playoffs by the Eagles.
That was Jauron's one winning season as a head coach. He was fired in 2003 after 4-12 and 7-9 seasons.
Here is where it gets interesting (for those who have continued reading).
In 2004, after being fired by the Bears because, as Jerry Angelo said, "expectations were not met", he was hired by the Lions to be defensive coordinator. Matt Millen was the GM at that time (and, inexplicably, still is).
Remember, a few paragraphs back, I mentioned that while at Yale, Dick Jauron was a member of the Wolf's Head Society. Like frats, these secret societies have extensive contcts and reaches throughout society, and like the phrase "once a TKE, always a TKE", it's "once a wolf's head, always a wolf's head" (I'm paraphrasing).
Anyway, there have been many prominent Wolf's Head members through history (although seemingly always, people close to more famous people), Charles Taft, brother of William Howard Taft, our 27th president and Supreme Court justice, James Bush, great-great grandfather of W, and, one William Clay Ford, grandson of Henry Ford.
Did I mention that William Clay Ford purchased the Detroit Lions in 1964? And that he was active with the Lions organization well into the 2000s? And that his son, and current controlling owner of the Lions, William Clay Ford, Jr., was responsible for hiring Matt Millen and, yes, Dick Jauron? The same Dick Jauron who was a member of the same Yale secret society as William Clay Ford??
And, for the icing on the cake, of course Jauron failed miserably with the Lions, was canned after the 2005 season and was hired by the Bills, after being their second choice (note that Mike Sherman, who the Bills passed over in favor of Dick went 57-39 with the Packers before NOT getting the job with the Bills).
And how did Jauron land the job with the Bills? As much as it pains me as a huge fan of marvelous Marv, I need to blockquote the ESPN story linked above:
Jauron was favored by Levy, who maintains a home in Chicago and worked as a Bears broadcaster during Jauron's tenure with the team. Like Levy, who attended Harvard, Jauron is also a former Ivy-leaguer, a graduate of Yale
Emphasis added. Ugh.
The same story says that Saint Ralph wanted Sherman because, you know, he had been successful as a head coach.
Anyway. That is the story. One of connections, secret societies and misplaced Ivy League Loyalties ("ILL")
Yeah, perhaps Jauron is a decent motivator of talent. More likely, he's a well meaning guy who has personified the Peter Principle. One can only hope that this site and those like it will encourage Saint Ralph to realize he was right two years ago. This man ain't right for the job. He GOTS TO GO, yo.