In today’s NFL, coaches get fired for three basic reasons:
1. They get stuck with a shit team.
(See Ken Whisenhunt or anyone who has coached the Browns or Raiders in the past decade)
Sometimes, coaches just get screwed. They get stuck with a retread Quarterback playing on his third team, skill players that are considered “projects” and a secondary with more holes than a Louis Sachar novel. There’s only so much a coach can do. You can polish a turd but you can’t make it win super bowl rings. Never mind the lack of talent on the roster, the wasted draft picks and the kicker that gets a $16 million contract (I’m looking at you, Raiders). After two 6-10 seasons, someone has to be the scapegoat right?
2. People hate them.
(See Mike Singletary, Norv Turner)
Sometimes coaches are just flat-out despised by either the fans, the media, their players, team management or a combination of the four. Sometimes they deserve the criticism. They might call a Wide Receiver reverse on 4th and inches or get caught banging someone they shouldn’t have been banging. They could also just be a complete fucking lunatic. In those cases, fuck it, let ’em have it. But in today’s world of internet memes and Facebook trolling, people just start to hate things because other people hate them. All this hatred builds up and gains momentum until it gets into the GMs’ heads and forces their hand.
3. “It’s just time to move on.”
(See Lovie Smith, Andy Reid, John Fox)
You hear that phrase thrown around all the time with NFL coaches. It basically translates to, “We’re bored of this coach, let’s go find a new one.” Most times, the coach getting fired has had a good amount of success. But after years of playoff futility, it gets to a point where everyone just seems to agree that the coach in question should be fired.
Below is a list of current NFL coaches, followed by a grade that represents their level of job security.
Bruce Arians- Arizona Cardinals: B
After letting go of Ken Whisenhunt, for the first time in four years, the Cardinals decided they should, you know, get a Quarterback. With the arrival of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals will make a small improvement over last year’s record of 5-11. Even if the team struggles, Arians will get another year after his performance in relief of Chuck Pagano last season.
Mike Smith- Atlanta Falcons: B-
The Falcons better start winning playoff games if Mike Smith wants to keep his job. They’ve been good but not great for the last few years, meaning that the grumbling will start if the Smith can’t take his team deep into the playoffs this year. With Matt Ryan and his plethora of weapons on the offensive end, an NFC championship appearance shouldn’t be out of the question.
John Harbaugh- Baltimore Ravens: A+
I won’t waste my time on this one. The dude just won a super bowl.
Doug Marrone- Buffalo Bills: C
Regardless of how painful it will be to watch E.J. Manuel stumble his way through his first NFL season, Marrone will get to coach at least two losing seasons before he inevitably gets fired.
Verdict: Safe for now
Ron Rivera- Carolina Panthers: D
I expect Cam Newton to take a big step backward this season. He still has no weapons around him and frankly, I expect his career to follow the path of Vince Young. He’ll make a big splash right away, only to follow it up with years of disappointment. There will most likely be some in-fighting between Newton and Rivera, resulting in the coach’s termination after three average years.
Mark Trestman- Chicago Bears: B+
Mark Trestman is a weird dude. Nevertheless, his “Systems of Football” will appear to improve the Chicago offense, keeping him safe for the next couple years. I say “appear to improve” because the true reason that the Bears offense will be better this season is because they finally signed a functional left tackle and a tight end that has limbs.
Marvin Lewis- Cincinnati Bengals: D+
This is a perfect example of the “It’s just time to move on” reason for getting fired. Lewis has been in Cincinnati for 10 years. I could foresee Lewis getting fired even if the Bengals make the playoffs. His team will really need to impress this season if he wants to keep his job.
Rod Chudzinski- Cleveland Browns: C-
The Browns have had three winning seasons in the last 20 years. Chudzinski will get two years but it’s only a matter of time.
Verdict: Safe for now
Jason Garrett- Dallas Cowboys: F
This is an example of the second reason coaches get fired. People love to hate Jason Garrett. The only person who seems to be in his corner is Jerry Jones, which could keep him safe for another year. However, I don’t expect the Cowboys to improve much over last season which will end in Jason Garrett’s ousting.
John Fox- Denver Broncos: A
As long as Peyton Manning is on his team, John Fox will be safe.
Jim Schwartz- Detroit Lions: F
This is an interesting situation. Lions fans have never had high expectations for their team until recently. Now, instead of having to worry about getting fired because his team sucks, Schwartz has to worry about getting fired because his team is good but not good enough. Everyone’s looking for the Lions to make “the next step.” I’m not sure that will happen, especially in the gauntlet that is the NFC North.
Mike McCarthy- Green Bay Packers: A
As long as Aaron Rodgers is doing Double Check Discounts in the end zone, Mike McCarthy will be the coach of the Packers.
Gary Kubiak- Houston Texans: C-
Another example of the third reason coaches get fired. Another good but not great team that will have to make a lot of noise this year for Kubiak to keep his job. He built the Texans from literally nothing but sadly, he’ll probably be rewarded for it by getting fired after another winning season.
Chuck Pagano- Indianapolis Colts: A
Common man! You can’t fire “Chuck Strong.” He could be a shitty coach for all we know but he won’t get fired for at least a couple years.
Verdict: Safe until people forget that he overcame cancer
Gus Bradley- Jacksonville Jaguars: C-
I sometimes forget that the Jaguars are an NFL franchise. Bradley is simply the next coach in line to get fired after two shitty seasons.
Verdict: Safe for now
Andy Reid- Kansas City Chiefs: A
“The Chiefs have a lot of talent and potential.” That’s all we keep hearing year after year. I think Reid will be the one who finally turns this team into a contender. Not for the super bowl, but at least the playoffs. And hey, it’s Kansas City, the playoffs are a big deal there!
Joe Philbin- Miami Dolphins: D+
There are a lot of expectations in Miami with the addition of Mike Wallace. I don’t foresee them improving much, however. I like Tannehill but the team has too many holes elsewhere.
Leslie Frazer- Minnesota Vikings: C-
Leslie Frazer was right on the cusp of getting fired after last season. I expect the same storyline this year. The Vikings will contend for a playoff spot again but if they fall short, Frazer will probably get fired. I hope you’re happy Christian Ponder…
Bill Belichick- New England Patriots: A+
YOU DO NOT SIMPLY FIRE DARTH SIDIOUS!
Sean Payton- New Orleans Saints: A
After a year of suspension, Payton will get right back on track. He and Drew Brees will make a deep run in the playoffs, all while Roger Goodell scowls in disapproval. NO ONE WILL MAKE A MOCKERY OF MY LEAGUE! FINES FOR EVERYONE!
Rex Ryan- New York Jets: F
Yep, it’s official, people hate Rex Ryan. The Jets are the laughing stock of the NFL. I do give him credit for dropping the whole “We’re going to win the Super Bowl every year” routine before things got too bad.
Tom Coughlin- NY Giants: B+
The old red-faced curmudgeon will surely be back next season. The Giants will probably just wait until he retires or dies.
Dennis Allen- Oakland Raiders: D
Isn’t it time for the Raiders to hire another coach yet? Ahh what the hell, why not! The Raiders have had seven different coaches in ten years. Time to fire up the old spinning dart board of coaches and choose a new coach to fire after one season.
Chip Kelly- Philadelphia Eagles B-
God.. I can hear Gruden jizzing his pants just thinking about the next Eagles game he gets to call. “This guy, is a true offensive genus, Mike. I’m telling ya, he will revolutionize the way the NFL is played.” There’s just something about these “hot college coaches” that gets everyone’s penis perpendicular. I don’t know if Kelly will be a good coach, but his success at Oregon is in no way a prediction of what’s to come in the NFL. The Eagles will give him this year to realize that Michael Vick is completely washed up. Then they’ll give him next year to find his replacement.
Mike Tomlin- Pittsburgh Steelers: B+
Tomlin is suspended somewhere between “he’s a good coach” and “It’s time to move on.” The Steelers will rebound this season and most likely make the playoffs. Even if they don’t, I think Tomlin will get another year before they decide to drop the axe.
Mike McCoy- San Diego Chargers: B
Following up Norv Turner is like being in speech class and doing your speech right after the girl who starts crying and having a panic attack and the teacher stops her saying, “It’s okay, you can just try again next class.” Like come on, you can’t do much worse than that.
Jim Harbaugh- San Francisco 49ers: A+
They can’t fire Jim! Then we’d never see another Super Bro-wl!
Pete Carroll- Seattle Seahawks: A-
Sneaky Pete is safe. Plus, he leaves on his own terms. If he wanted to leave, he’d just violate a shitload of NFL rules, then escape into the night before he could be held responsible for his actions.
Jeff Fisher- St. Louis Rams: A
Jeff Fisher is too respected to get fired right now. The Rams could suck ass the next ten years and people would still be saying, “You just wait! He’s turning this team around!”
Greg Schiano- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D+
Schiano might want to spend more time worrying about his shit Quarterback and less time trying to come up with new NFL rules that Roger Goodell is never going to implement. “That’s a great idea for a rule Greg! Wow! Just wow! We’re gonna put this one right up here on the refrigerator so everyone can see it!”
Mike Munchak- Tennessee Titans: D
Stick ’em like a thumb tack,
And they drop a lung sack.
Titan of writin’
Call me Mike Munchak.
Those are a few lines from one of my rap verses. Yes, you read that right, I’ve been know to drop a 16 from time to time. I’m a bit of a renaissance man. Blogging, Poetry, Rap, Fiction, Non-Fiction; I do it all. Wait, what was I doing again? Oh yeah…
Mike Shanahan- Washington Redskins: A
Shanahan is another guy who will hang around simply because of his reputation. As long as he doesn’t completely destroy RGIII’s knees, he should be back next season.
So by my count, 17 coaches are safe, 4 coaches are safe for now and 11 coaches will get fired after this season. Eight coaches were fired after last season so I’m not that far off. In all reality, it could be a lot more. The NFL is such a volatile league so it makes sense that being an NFL coach is such a volatile profession. Some coaches are lucky enough to have Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. Those who aren’t so lucky might want to start getting their resume ready.