Mike Tomlin, Steelers
Tomlin was 35 with five years as a defensive backs coach and one as Vikings defensive coordinator when he was hired in 2007. He stepped into a stable franchise two years removed from a Super Bowl. So no surprise that he has had success in his five seasons: a 55-25 record, four postseason berths, two trips to the Super Bowl and a title.
Equivalent: Rob Chudzinski. The Panthers offensive coordinator coached in college but has been in the NFL since only 2004. He's 43 and has three years of experience as a coordinator. Then again, the Bucs are in much worse shape than the Steelers team Tomlin inherited.
Sean Payton, Saints
Payton was 43 when he was hired, but he had a solid background: two seasons as the Eagles quarterbacks coach, four as a Giants assistant (three as offensive coordinator) and three as offensive coordinator/assistant head coach of the Cowboys. In six seasons at New Orleans, Payton is 62-34 with a Super Bowl title.
Equivalent: Mike Zimmer. The Bengals defensive coordinator has an extensive background as an assistant. He broke into the NFL in 1995 and has spent the past 12 seasons as a defensive coordinator (for three teams). He's 55, making him older than Payton when he got the Saints job.
Jon Gruden, Bucs
It was 10 years ago the Bucs hired the 39-year-old. Before that, he spent three years as a Packers offensive assistant, three as Eagles offensive coordinator and four as Raiders coach. In seven seasons with Tampa Bay, he went 57-55 with three postseason berths and a Super Bowl title.
Equivalent: This one is hard. There's Jim Caldwell. He was a quarterbacks coach for eight seasons when hired at 54 . Brad Childress was a quarterbacks coach for three seasons and offensive coordinator for four. And after hired at age 50, his 39-35 record in four-plus seasons as Vikings coach looks like Gruden's 38-26 in Oakland. But Gruden was much younger when hired.
Tony Dungy, Colts
Dungy had quite the resume when the Colts hired him before the 2002 season. He had spent 15 seasons as an assistant, nine as a defensive coordinator. Then there were six as Bucs coach, when he went 54-42 and made the postseason four times. Lack of playoff success led to his firing here, but he moved to Indianapolis and went 85-27 with seven playoff berths and a Super Bowl victory.
Equivalent: Mike Sherman. He went 57-39 in six seasons as Packers coach, three games better than Dungy in Tampa Bay. Like Dungy with the Bucs, he made the playoffs four times. Like Dungy with the Bucs, he had little success in the postseason.
Mike McCarthy, Packers
McCarthy put in solid work as an assistant before becoming coach of the Packers six seasons ago. He spent 13 years as an assistant, including five as Saints offensive coordinator and one as 49ers offensive coordinator. Since taking over the Packers, McCarthy is 66-33 with a Super Bowl victory last season and a 15-1 regular season in 2011.
Equivalent: Joe Philbin. Philbin spent 19 seasons in the college game. But his pro experience is along the same lines as McCarthy: nine years on the Packers staff, including five as offensive coordinator.
Tom Coughlin, Giants
A coaching veteran. He knocked around college and pro staffs for 25 years, including three as coach of Boston College, before being hired by expansion Jacksonville in 1995 when he was 49. He spent eight seasons there, going 68-60 with four playoff berths, then took over the Giants in 2004 at age 58. In eight seasons with the Giants, Coughlin is 74-54. He has won a Super Bowl and is a win away from appearing in another.
Equivalent: Marty Schottenheimer. If you want to talk veterans, you can't get much more veteran than Schottenheimer. He has 21 seasons as a coach with four teams. Overall, he is 200-126-1.
tom jones' two cents
As the Bucs' coaching search continues, here's a look back at, arguably, the best coaching hires over the past 10 years. Along with these names, our thoughts on the equivalents on the Bucs' radar to replace Raheem Morris.