2013 Black Monday: 5 NFL Coaches fired

jim-schwartz-lionsEvery year, the Monday following Week 17 of the NFL regular season is a testy time for losing coaches. This year’s Black Monday was especially brutal as five coaches got the ax. Here’s a look at the unlucky coaches who were fired, along with a few that are still awaiting word on their futures.

Firings

Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns – The Browns didn’t give Chudzinski much time to turn things around in Cleveland. They fired their rookie head coach immediately after his first season ended with a 4-12 record. What was particularly disheartening is that the Browns lost 10 out of their last 11 games. Cleveland ownership voiced disappointment over a “lack of accountability and effort” from Chud’s players. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ name has come up in the rumors involving the coaching search.

Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings – The writing has been on the wall for Frazier for quite some time after the team’s slow start and a disastrous quarterback carousel. Minnesota ownership was hoping that the Vikings would take another step forward after making the playoffs last year; instead, they finished just 5-10-1. Team officials have been working on potential replacements for weeks, and they’ve asked about Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

greg-schiano-hot-seatGreg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay is a team that was built to win this season. Instead, they suffered through a 4-12 season under second-year coach Greg Schiano. Management was concerned that players were no longer responding to Schiano’s hard-driving style, and the Josh Freeman quarterback controversy didn’t help matters. General manager Mark Dominik was also a casualty on Black Monday.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions – No team collapsed as badly as the Lions did down the stretch. After climbing to the top of the NFC North with a 6-3 record, they lost 6 out of their last 7 contests and missed the postseason. Management had already made the decision on Schwartz’s job when the team was eliminated from postseason contention last week.

mike-shanahan-hot-seatMike Shanahan, Washington Redskins – The drama regarding Mike Shanahan has finally come to an end with his Monday morning firing. He was fired after a 3-13 record, which was the second worst in the league. It was no secret that Shanahan clashed with management over what he perceived as their babying of quarterback Robert Griffin III. The matter came to a conclusion when RG III was benched for the final three games to “prevent any injuries.”

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans – Kubiak wasn’t a Black Monday firing, but rather axed on December 12th after the team had lost 11 straight games. Team management also didn’t like the way that Kubiak handled the quarterback situation between Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Add in the fact that many expected Houston to contend for a Super Bowl and it’s pretty clear why Kubiak was fired. Several candidates have already been interviewed, including former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and Texans interim coach Wade Phillips.

Still Uncertain

dennis-allen-oaklandDennis Allen, Oakland Raiders – Before Oakland played the Denver Broncos, it was generally thought that both coach Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie would be safe. However, there are no guarantees following a 4-12 season, which ended with an embarrassing 34-14 loss to Denver, where the Broncos were leading 31-0 at halftime.

Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys – For the second year in a row, Garrett’s team lost the NFC East on the final game of the season. Owner Jerry Jones appears likely to keep Garrett, but defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s job could be in serious jeopardy.

Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins – Miami was in the driver’s seat of their playoff destiny, but finished with losses to two subpar teams (Buffalo, NY Jets) to close out the season. Owner Stephen Ross didn’t exactly give any vote of confidence after saying that he has “a lot to think about” with regard to Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland’s jobs.

mike-munchak-tennesseeMike Munchak, Tennessee Titans – It was another up-and-down season for the Titans, with them finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs. And the hard-running, clock-management style that Tennessee is trying to push faltered in the middle of the season. Star running back Chris Johnson won’t be back. Is the same true of Munchack?

Job Security

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – Two years removed from a Super Bowl, nobody expected Tom Coughlin to be coaching for his job. However, a dismal 0-6 start got the press talking about Coughlin’s future with the organization. But early word is that, following a 7-3 finish to the season, it’s up to Coughlin to decide if he wants to stay with the team.

Rex Ryan, New York Jets – Many believe that Ryan did a commendable job with the Jets since this season was projected to be a rebuilding effort. However, Ryan coached them to a .500 record and ended the year on a positive note with two straight wins.

NFL Coaching Carousel – Kelly to Browns? Lovie to Bills?

With the NFL regular season now over, there have been a flurry of coach firings lately. Some of the moves were expected, while others were a little more surprising given what the coaches had accomplished. A few of these teams have either found a replacement already, or are on the verge of finding a new front man. This being said, let’s look at what teams have axed coaches along with likely candidates to fill the vacant positions.

Arizona Cardinals: Fired Ken Whisenhunt, no Clear Replacement – After finishing with more wins than any other Arizona coach (45) and taking the Cardinals to their lone Super Bowl appearance (2008), Ken Whisenhunt will always hold a special place in franchise history. But Whisenhunt’s past accomplishments couldn’t save his job after Arizona lost 11 out of their last 12 games. Those being interviewed for this position include Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Buffalo Bills: Fired Chan Gailey, Lovie Smith interviewed – In three seasons with the Bills, Chan Gailey failed to make any sort of impact. Gailey’s record was 16-32, and his best year was just 6-10. Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is the most interesting replacement candidate, and he’s interviewed with the Bills already. Others who are being considered are Horton, Whisenhunt, McCoy and Doug Marrone.

Chicago Bears: Fired Lovie Smith, Several Candidates being considered – Smith had a good run as the Bears’ head coach since he compiled an 81-63 record over nine seasons. He also won three NFC North titles, made two NFC Championship appearances, and guided Chicago to the 2006 Super Bowl; they lost 29-17 to the Colts. But after a 7-1 start this year, the Bears stumbled to 10-6 and missed the playoffs. Potential replacements for Lovie include McCoy, Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

Cleveland Browns: Fired Pat Shurmur, Chip Kelly likely Replacement – Pat Shurmur was only given two seasons in Cleveland, which were largely unsuccessful. He compiled a 9-23 record and finished last in the AFC North both years. While nothing is official yet, Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly is already being tabbed as Shurmur’s replacement. He went 46-7 at Oregon, and the Browns would be his first NFL job.

Kansas City Chiefs: Fired Romeo Crennel, Andy Reid is New Coach – Before the season, some experts picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West. However, Kansas City suffered through a miserable 2-14 season and were noncompetitive in most games. The team has already found a replacement for Crennel since former Eagles coach Andy Reid has agreed to a deal with Kansas City.

Philadelphia Eagles: Fired Andy Reid, Jon Gruden being considered – Andy Reid is the longest-tenured NFL coach to get the ax this season. He spent 14 years with the Eagles and went 130-93 during this lengthy span. Reid also took Philadelphia to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. Unfortunately, he went 12-20 over the past two seasons with top-level talent at most positions. Former Tampa Bay and Oakland coach Jon Gruden is the most interesting replacement candidate, while Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is also being considered.

San Diego Chargers: Fired Norv Turner, no Clear Replacement – Norv Turner got off to a hot start as the Chargers coach when he guided them to the 2007 AFC Championship game in his first season. He followed that up with a couple of AFC Divisional round appearances in 2008 and 2009. But since then, Norv and the Chargers have missed the postseason in three straight years; he departs San Diego with a fairly impressive 56-40 record there. The Chargers’ coaching search has been relatively quiet – though Lovie Smith’s name has come up a few times.