For only the third time in twelve years, no NFL general managers or owners resorted to dismissing their head coach midseason in an attempt to justify a failing season. That being said, the firings came in throngs on Black Monday (the Monday after the last day of the regular season) and football fans saw some very noticeable faces leave the sidelines of once premier football teams. There will be time to discuss who will replace these coaches, but right now it’s all about their achievements or lack there off.
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles (130-93-1 in 14 Seasons)
I think everybody and their mother saw this one coming. The Eagles have not been the same since Reid’s golden boy Donavan McNabb got bullied out of the City of Brotherly Love and a major change needed to be made. There was an attempt at a major change a year ago when the Eagles made a large investment in what current free agent quarterback Vince Young then called a “Dream Team”. The 2011 Eagles went a pedestrian 8-8 and did not see playoff action. The luster of Michael Vick’s resurrection as a legitimate NFL quarterback has been greatly dulled due to his inability to stay healthy and his reputation as a fragile quarterback. In 2012 the Eagles did not fair much better going 4-12 and being the only team in the NFC East that was not in the playoff hunt on the last day of the regular season.
Personally, I have always liked Reid and have felt he is the victim of a consistently bad situation in Philadelphia. The Eagles have consistently been riddled with injuries. Terrell Owens was a disaster in Philadelphia. Brian Westbrook was good enough to be a 1st round fantasy football bust for a few years. McNabb threw up on the field during Super Bowl XXXIX and supposedly “tanked” the fourth quarter (no one ever likes to give the New England Patriots credit when they win anything). I have faith that Reid will most definitely end up in another head coaching role, he just needs a change of scenery.
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals (45-51 in Six Seasons)
Super Bowl XLIII has long been forgotten in Arizona. The fact that Whisenhunt, with the help of a pretty good receiver that goes by the name of Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner, turned the Cardinals into a playoff contender and, in 2008, a NFC Champion. The Cardinals even had a good showing the next year in the playoffs where they defeated Green Bay in a 51-45 overtime shootout in the Wild Card round, but then fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans “Bounty Scandal” Saints—then everything fell apart for Whisenhunt. Warner retired and the quarterback position became the bane of Whisenhunt’s existence as an NFL head coach. The Cardinals tried Kevin Kolb, but due to injury and lackluster play Arizona ended up trying out the likes of Derek “Nothing’s Funny About Losing (I Swear)” Anderson, Max Hall, John “The Number 19 Sucks” Skelton, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer. Essentially, Whisenhunt was hopeless in the desert without his right hand man Kurt Warner.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears (81-63 in Nine Seasons)
As a defensive specialist, Lovie Smith just could not live up to offensive expectations in a pass happy league. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Chicago Bears are in fact a terrific team, a team that is annually in the playoffs, but the offense has just never been there. Even in 2006 when Smith led the Bears to the Super Bowl, the Rex Grossman lead offense was less than spectacular. After starting strong at 7-1, the Bears struggled in the second half of the season and failed to make the playoffs. I guess that was the last straw for the Bear front office and Smith was dismissed as head coach. Bears players were disappointed to see their likable head coach be dismissed, and I concur. Smith had one year left on his contract and defensive leader Brian Urlacher had been hurt the past few weeks—Chicago should have given him one last chance to make a playoff run in 2013.
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers (59-43 in Six Seasons)
In the same way that offense was Lovie Smith’s Achilles Heel, the fact that Norv Turner was able to lead the San Diego Chargers to three AFC West titles, but no Super Bowl appearances caused Turner to lose his job. Even with LaDanian Tomlinson carrying the ball, the Chargers were not able to make it to the big game. San Diego went 7-9 this year, were really not an exiciting team to watch, and, for the third straight season, the Chargers were absent from the playoffs. Turner should have lost his job two years ago, but the trigger was never pulled resulting in two more mundane seasons for Chargers fans. I think quarterback Philip Rivers and his horrific throwing motion need to follow Turner in order for San Diego to once again be a genuine playoff contender. May I suggest Arnold Schwarzenegger as Turner’s replacement?
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs (4-15 in Two Seasons)
The peak of Romeo Crennel’s coaching career was in Week 15 last year when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the then 13-0 Green Bay Packers. The win essentially won Crennel the opportunity to coach the Chiefs in the 2012 seasons—turned out to be a disaster. Kansas City was the laughing stock of the league in the beginning of the season. For the first nine weeks of the season the Chiefs did not even lead a game in regulation (I mean that’s just unheard of). To many of the player’s disappointment, Chiefs fans began cheering when quarterback Matt Cassel got injured and then tragedy struck.
On the morning of December 1st, linebacker Jevon Belcher shot his girlfriend and then traveled to the Chiefs training facility where he then took his own life in front of Crennel and GM Scott Pioli.
The Chiefs ended the season at 2-14, their worst record in the franchise’s 53-year existence.
As a Patriots fan, especially a fan of the 2001-2004 dynasty era, I love (that’s right not like, love) Crennel, but I think he belongs in a defensive coordinator role like the old days.
Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns (9-23 in Two Seasons)
This firing was obvious. If you can’t win at least ten games in two seasons combined, you probably aren’t in the right coaching role. To be honest with you, had no idea who the Browns coach even was halfway through the NFL season; that’s never a good sign.
Quick trivia: What Browns coach has the best winning percentage since 1990? Correct, current New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills (16-32 in Three Seasons)
Buffalo Bills? Yeah, longest playoff drought in the NFL.