As soon as week 17 concludes every year you can almost bet the following Monday morning will headline with NFL Coaches being fired after disappointing season. As the postseason is set to start this weekend, the rest of the NFL teams have already started planning ways to change. A number of coaches have been fired in the opening week following the season after failing to meet expectations. We take a look at the teams who are looking for a change for the 2009 season. Which coaches will be packing up their things and where will they be moving them to ring in the New Year?
The most obvious change that was bound to happen comes from the Detroit Lions main office. Lions coach Rod Marinelli was fired after the first 0-16 season in NFL history. The Detroit Lions had also lost the last 7 out of 8 games dating back to the 2007 season meaning they were a dismal 1-23 in their last 24 games. Marinelli was quoted to saying “You can’t go 0-16 and expect to keep your job.” The Lions made the change official Monday morning releasing Marinelli after 3 seasons in Detroit where he had an overall record of 10-38. The outlook for Detroit certainly must be better than before; I mean they can not get any worse literally. The Lions will get the first pick in the NFL draft and a few more selections from the Dallas trade with Roy Williams. Brian Billick looks to be a target for the Lions staff. Billick was the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2007 and winner of the 2000 Super Bowl over the New York Giants. While nothing is official, Billick is rumored to be the main focus for Detroit. Another popular name that has emerged is Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Garrett received a lot of criticism from Dallas offensive stars Tony Romo and Terrell Owens and a ticket out of town may be the best bet.
Another NFL coach to receive a pink slip Monday morning was Romeo Crennel of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns had a disappointing 4-12 season and losers of their last 6 games. Cleveland was an embarrassing 24-40 under Crennel in four seasons of play. The Browns also had lost at least 10 games in 3 of their 4 seasons under Crennel. Crennel had received a contract extension and the Browns seemed to be heading in the right direction after a 10-6 season. However, things got a lot worse this year and the Browns are now in search of a new man in charge. Cleveland has reported showing interest in a few promising names including New York Jets former coach Eric Mangini. Mangini was among the 3 coaches fired on what many are calling “Black Monday” for NFL head coaches. Mangini is reported to show interest in the position and the Browns will be scheduling an interview this week. Another prospect for the Cleveland owner Randy Lerner is the notable name of New England Patriots Vice-President Scott Pioli. Pioli might be the more sought after man considering owner Randy Lerner will be trying to go after what he calls “a huge change” in Cleveland. The Browns are moving fast with their coaching process and I expect something to be official in the next week.
New York Jets coach Eric Mangini was probably the least expect firing Monday. The Jets were on a very promising mid-season run where they looked like one of the best teams in the AFC. However, the wheels fell off for the Jets momentum and they would lose 4 of their last 5 games. QB Brett Farve publicly announced his dislike for some of Mangini’s actions this season and the disappointing downfall of events was enough to remove Mangini from office. The New York Jets along with the other 3 teams in search of coaches were said to have contacted former Steelers Super Bowl Champions Coach Bill Cowher. Cowher had denied both the Browns and Lions offers to talk, but will has accepted the invitation to at least talk it over with the Jets. Cowher would offer a huge improvement in the management department if the Jets were to manage to land him. New York is continuing its search with some names like Steve Spagnuolo and Marty Schottenheimer that are being thrown into the discussion.
Tuesday Morning Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was fired becoming the 4th coach to be let go this week. Shanahan had an impressive 14 year tenure with the Denver Broncos including Back-to-Back Super Bowl Champions in 1997 and 1998. The decision came after the Broncos became the first ever team to lose a 3 game lead in a division in the final 3 weeks of the season highlighting a very disappointing season. However, Shanahan will very likely be a well sought after coach for teams around the NFL. There has already been rumors that Shanahan could end up in Dallas, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has stood firm behind his statement claiming Wade Phillips will be the coach next season. The Broncos have not claimed any favorable targets to fill Shanahan’s shoes at this time, but I’m sure we will understand a lot more in the coming days as the NFL coaching saga continues.
Many people expected Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips to be thrown into the fire as well, but the Cowboys have stood by Phillips claiming he will be their coach next season. Phillips and the Cowboys completely fell apart down the stretch, a trend that has plagued the Cowboys for the last decade. Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron was another coach on the hot seat, but the Bills report that Jauron will return as the coach next season. Jauron has led the Bills to 3 straight 9-7 seasons and many of the fans have been unhappy. Other names that left their respective offices this season included the San Francisco 49ers that fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Martz was the former offensive coach that led the explosive Rams offense to the 2002 Super Bowl. The Houston Texans fired nearly the entire defensive coaching management including defensive coordinator Richard Smith. The teams that make the playoffs you would expect to be in safe terms considering job security, but NFL owners have let coaches go before he have not performed well in the postseason. While I do not expect any of this year’s playoff class to be in jeopardy, the playoffs could provide some other unexpected changes in office.