Ah, Black Monday. The day in the NFL after Week 17 when head coaches of losing teams get fired right away as their former employer searches for a new man to fill the position. This year’s Black Monday falls on New Year’s Eve, a very tough time to be handed a pink slip after a rough year. Who’s safe and who’s out? Let’s do it!
- Jason Garrett, Cowboys. Even if the Cowboys lose to the Redskins and miss the playoffs for a third straight year, Jason Garrett will be given one more chance in Dallas. You can point to a couple games and say that the time-management issues killed the Cowboys’ chances, but overall Garrett has the Cowboys going in the right direction. If Dallas beats the Redskins, there’s no doubt the coaching position is safe.
- Rex Ryan, Jets. Ryan is safe for another go-around as well. If the Jets can get the QB situation settled, then I see them potentially going back to the playoffs in 2013. Remember, this is the guy who led the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games. He’s a good coach and remains the right man for the job in New York. I just couldn’t imagine Rex being fired on Monday.
- Mike Munchak, Titans. With Tennessee owner Bud Adams you really never know, but I think the second-year head coach Munchak is safe. Sure the loss to Green Bay was embarrassing, but this is a guy whose team overachieved last year and would’ve again if Chris Johnson wasn’t so darn inconsistent and he had a dependable QB. I see Munchak staying with the Titans for another season.
- Lovie Smith, Bears. Whether the Bears make the playoffs or not, Lovie will stay at the helm in Chicago. I simply do not see a better candidate out there to handle such a wide array of personalities like the Bears have (with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall as examples). Lovie has done his best to rein everyone in, and despite the mid-season slide, it is now the players’ job to go out there and play as hard as they can for their coach, and they will. Smith is a great coach and canning him would be an insult to all of the great work he has put in there.
Will Be Fired
- Pat Shurmur, Browns. One of the most obvious moves will be Pat Shurmur’s firing in Cleveland. Shurmur has done nothing but continue the Browns’ history of losing, and the team needs someone who can bring the team back to a performance like 2007. Cleveland deserves better, point blank; Shurmur is not the man to make that happen.
- Andy Reid, Eagles. This one was a foregone conclusion since the season’s midway point. There is nothing Andy Reid can do to save his job in Philly, and he’s as good as gone. The Eagles organization will no doubt remember the great things he did for the city, almost bringing them a Super Bowl title a couple times. But the key word in that sentence is almost. Philly is not a city where almost can be used time and time again. Reid will be fired on Monday by the Eagles.
- Ron Rivera, Panthers. Is Rivera’s imminent firing the right move by Carolina? I don’t think so. The second-year coach was basically put out there with his hands tied this season after former GM Marty Hurney was fired in October after failing to assemble a good enough team around star QB Cam Newton. As Bill Parcells would say, Hurney bought the groceries, so why should Rivera be blamed for not having the ingredients to make the soup? I disagree with the firing, but it’s going to happen. Rivera will find a good defensive coordinator job after this in no time, he’s a master with defenses.
- Norv Turner, Chargers. This should not even require a paragraph. Turner has failed time and time again to make a Super Bowl run even with one of the NFL’s strongest arms behind center (Phillip Rivers) and the league’s best tight end (Antonio Gates). Turner’s Chargers never finished lower than 2nd in the horrid AFC West, won the division three times, but never made a Super Bowl appearance. Even with that inability to play for a championship, San Diego could never pull the trigger and fire Norv despite the fact that he should’ve been fired about four times. Now’s the time to finally fire one of the most disappointing coaches in league history once and for all. Bye, Norv.
- Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills. Slightly less impressive than Turner has been Chan Gailey’s term with the Buffalo Bills. Along with GM Buddy Nix, Gailey has proven that he is too clueless to run an NFL team and have any success doing it, as the Bills have floundered every time expectations have risen. Time for a complete house cleaning in Buffalo, and back to the drawing board for next season. I wonder how many of my fellow writers will be picking the Bills to win the AFC East next season like some have the last two years.
- Mike Mularkey, Jaguars. Mularkey wasn’t thought of as the coach that was going to transform a bad Jacksonville team, and management will be looking to make a splash throughout the organization next season. I feel bad for Mularkey, but when it comes down to it, would you rather have Nick Saban, Andy Reid, or Mularkey? Easy move for the Jaguars to make as they likely start the Tim Tebow Era.
- Romeo Crennel, Chiefs. The coach I feel for the most on this list is Crennel, who has had a very trying year in Kansas City. First the Chiefs got off to a horrible start with a very poor QB situation, then Crennel and GM Scott Pioli had to witness linebacker Jovan Belcher commit suicide, and now Crennel will likely be axed on Monday. But honestly, Romeo should have never left the New England Patriots as defensive coordinator, which will always be his specialty. A harsh pink slip, but one which the Chiefs will have to make. The important question: will Pioli follow him out the door in KC?
- Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals. Is this firing Whisenhunt’s fault? No. The quarterback situation was straight-up embarrassing, and the Seahawks game where Arizona basically never showed up was the main example of the Cards giving up on their season and their coach. The failure to play for him, as well as of Larry Fitzgerald never going to the media to publicly back his leader, are the key signs that Whisenhunt will be fired Monday.
What do you guys think? Will all of the firings happen? Is somehow I called safe really going to be out on Monday? And will there be a surprise firing that was not mentioned in this post? Drop a comment, send me an email or tweet me @chuckiemaggio.