Winning not a long-term project

The days of the five-year plan are long over, as the Vikings, Panthers, Chiefs and others have proven.

Updated: October 15, 2003, 10:58 AM ET
By Randy Mueller | ESPN NFL Insider
During the 1980s and early '90s, when a new head coach or general manager would take over a struggling franchise, we used to hear them refer to the five-year plan. Decision-makers hoped to slowly implement a plan to make their teams credible by year three and challenge for a title in years four and five. But in the ever-changing, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL, this is no longer the case.

It started with expansion teams such as Carolina and Jacksonville advancing to the playoffs in the second year of their building process. Team owners and fans alike are less patient these days, and a closer look might explain why.