So it’s the week after the end of the season and 6 coaches have been fired so far including one after only a year. There still maybe one or two more to go – possibly even a team that made the playoffs. [Note: although it may seem callous to write about this, these guys a) all know the score and b) will all be hired onto other teams within a year, if not immediately, or whenever they’re ready to return. Or they can always go into broadcasting. (Billick, Mariuchi, Gruden, Jimmy Johnson, Cowher, also GM Charley Casserly)]
Here’s my analysis of each situation.
Houston – McNair kept the GM Rick Smith which I think is a mistake. However, he has shown that he is nothing if not patient, perhaps overly so. He gave Kubiak a couple of extra years when people said he should’ve been fired and he eventually got them to the playoffs the past 2 years before imploding this year. The Texans have now hired Penn State Head Coach Bill O’Brien to be the 3rd Head Coach in their history. The Houston Texans are now on the clock.
Detroit – No surprise here. The GM Martin Mayhew was kept as he should have been based on how stocked with talent this team is.
Minnesota – Again, no surprise, although I think that it should’ve started with Spielman.
Tampa Bay – Both Greg Schiano and the GM Mark Dominik were fired. Schiano claims that he had been led to believe that they were being kept. After going 0-8 the first half of the season, TB won 4 out of their next 5 games, before dropping their last 3 to SF, New Orleans and St Louis. No definitive word on why they were let go, but the fact that the GM was also fired leads one to think that the Freeman debacle had at least something to do with it.
Washington – We’ll see if Snyder is actually going to pay up Mike Shanahan.
Cleveland – I should have expected that with the large number of first year coaches, at least one might be fired. In my defense I did say that “Every year there are surprises”. I also had Chudzinski as the first year coach most likely to be fired. According to reports, the determining factor was when a few weeks ago the front office wanted Chud to release WR Greg Little (the worst WR in the league according to at least one football stat service) and QB Brandon Weeden (arguably the worst starting QB in the league) as a demonstration of accountability and Chud refused. Add in that the team hadn’t won a single game since week 9 when they were 4-5, and that does sound reasonable.
Still on the Bubble:
These coaches have not been formally announced as returning. One or more may still be fired.
Mike Munchak (Tennessee) – Since Thomas Smith just took over when his father-in-law Bud Adams died in October, he is proceeding more cautiously, which is a good thing. I admit to being caught up in the hype about Munchak being fired – it still may happen, but it wasn’t as cut and dried as I had said.
Joe Philbin (Miami) – Owner Stephen Ross has still not given a firm indication that Philbin will be kept. Losing handily to division foes Buffalo and the NY Jets the last 2 weeks of the season when a win would have put them in the playoffs, doesn’t seem to have sit will with Ross. Still they were a surprising 8-8 and Ryan Tannenhill looks like he’s coming into his own.
Dennis Allen (Oakland) – Nothing definitive out of Oakland, but it appears that Allen will be returning. After 2 years of “deconstruction”, he word is that their expecting 2 years of “reconstruction”.
Tom Coughlin (New York Football Giants) – Coughlin is set to meet with ownership next week. It has been reported that Coughlin will be able to determine his own fate at the end of the season. It may still be a forced retirement or maybe a planned retirement after one last year (but don’t expect that to be announced). Winning 2 Super Bowls does buy one a LOT of good will.
Rex Ryan – GM John Idzak appears to be smart enough to know what his predecessor Tannenbaum left him with. Everyone agreed that Rex did enough to earn more time, but they just weren’t sure whether Idzak agreed. So Rex will be getting a short-term extension, although he was looking for a long term one. Next year will be better as the salary cap will be much more manageable.
Jason Garrett (Dallas) – Losing Tony Romo for the last game of the season makes it a little easier for Jerry Jones to stay with Garrett. He has too much invested in him (both financially and emotionally) to fire him anyway. But if you look at the “Tony Romo-ish” way that the Eagle game ended, maybe it’s not Romo? Why are you trying to pass in that situation anyway?
No one is talking about Mike Smith being let go, so it looks like I’m jumping the gun on that. I will definitely be watching to see how this team reacts next year.
Playoffs – It remains to be seen if any of the teams that made the playoffs will fire the coach if they flame out. Possible firings – Payton (NO), McCarthy (GB) [Note that I am not predicting these firings, only mentioning the possibility.]
Gone – 3 out of 4 have been fired, the 4th has not yet been decided (I think he stays).
On the Bubble – 1 out of 5 has been fired, 1 still not definitive, although he also looks to return.Likely Safe – 1 out of 4 has been fired, with 2 others not definitive yet.
First Years – 1 out of 9 (including Pagano) has been fired.
No one from the Safe (6) or Untouchable (4) has been fired or retired.