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One of the NFL's toughest jobs: Coaching the Jets' offense

Congratulations, Chan Gailey. You landed one of the toughest jobs in the NFL -- offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.

History tells us it's a fan-enraging, reputation-tarnishing job in which you're second-guessed for just about everything. Five men have held the position since 2001, and not one of them has gone on to bigger and better things. The Jets and the Buffalo Bills are the only AFC teams since 2001 that haven't produced an offensive coordinator who has become a head coach at the pro or college level (not counting Tony Sparano's interim title last season for the Oakland Raiders). In other words, it's a dead-end gig.

Why is that? A few reasons:

There's no place to hide. Because the Jets have employed defense-minded head coaches (Todd Bowles is the sixth straight), the offensive coordinator is front and center, an easy target for fans and media. Quarterback instability, too, has been a huge factor; you can't make chicken salad out of you-know-what. Also, the scrutiny is relentless. The New York media are "tenacious," a former Jets OC said. "It makes the job really difficult." The last reason: The "Madden" video game. Yes, really. Now everyone thinks they can call plays and do it better than the professionals.

Consider what happened to the five OCs who preceded Gailey:

  • Marty Mornhinweg (2013-14) -- The Jets scored fewer than 300 points in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1995-96 -- aka the Rich Kotite years. There was no room for Mornhinweg on Rex Ryan's Florham Park-to-Orchard Park shuttle, so he had to accept a demotion, becoming the Baltimore Ravens' quarterbacks coach -- his lowest rung on the coaching ladder since 1996.

  • Sparano (2012) -- Two words: Tim Tebow. Need we say more? Sparano, fired by Ryan, landed a job as the offensive line coach of the Raiders. He went 3-9 as the interim coach after Dennis Allen was fired, but he wasn't rehired. He's now with the San Francisco 49ers, coaching the tight ends, a position he last held in 2004. Sparano is going backward -- quickly.

  • Brian Schottenheimer (2006-11) -- He probably deserves an award for lasting six years under two coaches and three starting quarterbacks. The Jets' two highest point totals in the past 16 years came on Schottenheimer's watch (408 in '08, 377 in '11), but it wasn't good enough. He was the first of Ryan's OCs to be shown the door. After a three-year run with the St. Louis Rams, Schottenheimer is out of the NFL. He's the new OC at Georgia. It was nice knowing you.

  • Mike Heimerdinger (2005): The well-respected Heimerdinger was supposed to be Herm Edwards' savior, but he lost his top two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries in the same game, and that was all she wrote. He remained in the league through 2010. He died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 58.

  • Paul Hackett (2001-04): The tabloids loved him, filling their pages with "Paul Can't Hack-it" headlines. Few coaches in recent New York sports history have absorbed as much criticism as Hackett. Edwards was so eager to get rid of him that he fired Hackett two days after a playoff loss. True story: Hackett ran into his replacement -- Heimerdinger -- as he was leaving the building. Now 67 years old, Hackett never became a coordinator again and has been retired since 2010.