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.
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