Seven NFL Coaches Bite the Dust on Black Monday—More Feel the Heat

By Chris Malumphy

Seven NFL head coaches were fired on new year's eve as the owners cleared the decks in hopes of offering fans something to look forward to in the year ahead. There was no question heading into the final week of the season that the Browns' Pat Shurmur, the Chiefs' Romeo Crennel and the Chargers' Norv Turner would receive their pink slips. Chan Gailey must also have know his future in Buffalo was in doubt. The Eagles' Andy Reid could also see the writing on the wall, despite a record that even had owner Jeff Lurie speaking his accolades as he briefed the press on the firing. Dependence on quarterback Michael Vick has never led to coaching longevity, ask Dan Reeves, Jim Mora Jr, and Bobby Petrino. Lovie Smith may have been a bit surprised after leading his team to a 10-6 record, despite injuries once again to quarterback Jay Cutler. And Ken Whisenhunt could see that things were headed in the wrong direction in Arizona, despite having taken his team to the Super Bowl, like Smith, just a few years ago. The inability to find even a mediocre quarterback to replace the now long gone Kurt Warner laid waste to a good defense and stellar receiver Larry Fitzgerald. [Update: The Jaguars fired coach Mike Mularkey several days after this article was written.]

Others coaches retained their positions by a thread, at least for now, but only with the realization that they are on a short leash that could be cut at any moment. Even if they make it to next season, several coaches will need to show dramatic improvement to continue coaching in 2014. Among those barely hanging on are Mike Mularkey in Jacksonville, Jim Schwartz in Detroit, Ron Rivera in Carolina, Mike Munchak in Tennessee, Jason Garrett in Dalas and Rex Ryan in New York. Even Leslie Frazier, whose Vikings clinched a playoff position with a thrilling victory against Green Bay to end the season, cannot be feeling good as many thought he might be among the coaches likely to be shown the door just a few weeks ago.

The coaching ranks even have more changes than the firings show because Bruce Arians, who provided the true day to day coaching in Indianapolis has relinquished the head coaching duties to Chuck Pagano who has returned from his battle with illness, and the tag-team of Joe Vitt and Aaron Kromer will return leadership of the Saints back to Sean Payton once his suspension is served.

Below are the lifetime coaching records of those who coached in 2012. For lack of a better method, the 2012 full season records of the Colts and the Saints have been attributed to the Pagano and Vitt, respectively.

NFL Coaching Carousel
CoachLifetimeCurrent Team
Jim Harbaugh24710.766201149ers24710.766
Mike Smith562400.7002008Falcons562400.700
Chuck Pagano11500.6882012Colts11500.688
John Harbaugh542600.6752008Ravens542600.675
Mike McCarthy743800.6612006Packers743800.661
Mike Tomlin633300.6562007Steelers633300.656
Bill Belichick18710100.6492000Patriots1515700.726
Sean Payton623400.6462006Saints623400.646
Andy Reid1309310.5831999Eagles1309310.583
Mike Shanahan16712500.5722010Redskins212700.438
Lovie Smith816300.5632004Bears816300.563
Tom Coughlin15112100.5552004Giants836100.576
Jeff Fisher14912810.5382012Rams7810.469
John Fox948200.5342011Broncos211100.656
Rex Ryan343000.5312009Jets343000.531
Gary Kubiak595300.5272006Texans595300.527
Jason Garrett211900.5252010Cowboys211900.525
Pete Carroll585300.5232010Seahawks252300.521
Marvin Lewis798010.4972003Bengals798010.497
Norv Turner11412210.4832007Chargers564000.583
Mike Munchak151700.4692011Titans151700.469
Ken Whisenhunt455100.4692007Cardinals455100.469
Joe Philbin7900.4382012Dolphins7900.438
Greg Schiano7900.4382012Buccaneers7900.438
Chan Gailey344600.4252010Bills163200.333
Leslie Frazier162200.4212010Vikings162200.421
Joe Vitt111600.4072012Saints7900.438
Ron Rivera131900.4062011Panthers131900.406
Jim Schwartz183000.3752009Lions183000.375
Romeo Crennel285500.3372011Chiefs41500.211
Mike Mularkey163200.3332012Jaguars21400.125
Pat Shurmur92300.2812011Browns92300.281
Dennis Allen41200.2502012Raiders41200.250