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Have at it: The most difficult job in the NFL

1/30/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The new coach stepped to the podium, gave an opening statement and asked for questions.

Paraphrasing the first line of inquiries:

Why would you want this job?

The answer:

"I can't speak of the past. I'm here right now; I'm not here to exorcise any ghosts and those kinds of things. I said on Monday that my dad would be very disappointed if I backed away from a challenge. That's in our blood. ... There's no better feeling in football than turning a situation around. That's what drives me here."

Ok, pop quiz: Who was the coach? Detroit's Jim Schwartz? Or Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt?

Perhaps a better question is this: Does it matter?

Like Whisenhunt, Schwartz has taken one of the most historically difficult jobs in the NFL: Coaching a woebegone franchise that literally hasn't experienced significant success in generations. Whisenhunt, however, has indirectly given Lions fans hope by leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in his second season.

The Cardinals didn't exactly dominate the regular season, winning a weak NFC West with a 9-7 record. But their postseason march to Super Bowl XLIII is nothing short of remarkable considering some 60 years of organizational failure.

The Lions' history is similar. So I'd be interested in hearing who you think had a more difficult job facing him when he took over: Whisenhunt or Schwartz? Let me know in the comments section below or hit the mailbag. I've included some key facts and figures below to spur your thoughts. We'll reconvene on the topic next week. Have at it.

Oh, and the quote above? It was Schwartz.