Black Monday looms

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The term “Black Friday” has morphed from a negative term coined by retail employees into a marketing gimmick that gets post-Thanksgiving customers (and their pepper spray) charged up for some power shopping.  In the NFL, the term “Black Monday” has not — and will not — develop a positive connotation.

This season, Black Monday lands on January 2.  Though there’s no requirement that coaching firings be announced on Black Monday, teams that hope to launch immediately the search for a new coach must first send the old one packing.

With three coaches already canned during the season (Jack Del Rio of the Jaguars, Todd Haley of the Chiefs, and Tony Sparano of the Dolphins), more surely will come next week — as soon as Monday, and possibly even Sunday night.  (Six years ago, for example, the Vikings distributed in the locker room a one-sheet announcement that Mike Tice wouldn’t be back.)

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the weekly “hot seat” segments on PFT Live, here’s a look at the current hot spots.

1.  Most Likely to Be Fired.

Coaches whose contracts expire after the 2012 season present ownership with a significant dilemma upon the conclusion of the 2011 season.  (Or, more technically, a trilemma.)  Extend the coach’s contract, allow him to work as a lame duck, or fire the coach.

Three coaches of very bad teams fall into this category:  Steve Spagnuolo of the Rams, Raheem Morris of the Buccaneers, and Jim Caldwell of the Colts.

On Thursday, former Bucs quarterback Shaun King made a pretty good case for giving Morris another chance.  But with deafening silence coming from One Buc Place as the team loses nine straight games and counting, it could be time for a change in Tampa.

Chargers coach Norv Turner has two years left on his contract, but he seems to be the most likely to go, of the men deemed likely to go.  The fans in San Diego have revolted, and a competitive team has seen multiple blackouts of its home games.

2.  Possibly Fired.

The loser of Sunday night’s NFC East playoff play-in game could be in trouble.  Giants coach Tom Coughlin has one year left on his deal.  The team could decide to give him another one-year Band-Aid extension, like Coughlin received in 2011.  Or the Giants could decide to make a change, which could cause Bill Cowher’s plans for 2012 to change as well.  Lame-duck status for Coughlin is highly unlikely in the New York market, given the intense coverage and speculation that his status would trigger through the next 12 months.

For Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, the availability of Jeff Fisher coupled with hard-to-forget failures against the Lions and Cardinals could prompt owner Jerry Jones to part from his proclamation that Garrett will be back.

Others whose departures would be surprising but not shocking include Bills coach Chan Gailey, Eagles coach Andy Reid (primarily if he wants to go), Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, and Bears coach Lovie Smith.

3.  Potential Stunners.

We’ve seen from time to time shocking developments after a season ends.  In early 2009, the Bucs dumped Jon Gruden and the Broncos fired Mike Shanahan. In February 2007, the Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer, weeks after the completion of a 14-2 regular season.  The Jets jettisoned Eric Mangini after the 2008 season, not long after owner Woody Johnson declared him to be safe.

Nearly a decade ago, not long after a memorable 39-38 come-from-way-behind win over the Giants in the wild-card round, the 49ers fired Steve Mariucci, which in turn got Marty Mornhinwheg fired in Detroit — and Matt Millen fined for violating the Rooney Rule by hiring Mariucci without interviewing any minority candidates.

And so it’s impossible to rule out a similar out-of-left-field move this year.  If the Texans are blown out in the wild-card round at home, Bob McNair could perhaps decide to give Gary Kubiak his walking papers, and possibly promote Wade Phillips.  And if the Raiders don’t make it to the playoffs, would it truly shock anyone if the Raiders decide to bid adieu to Hue Jackson?

It’s impossible to predict the team that will supply a shocking development, which is why it’s a shock when a team unexpectedly changes coaches.  Regardless of who does and doesn’t make a move, we know that the process could get rolling (or, more accurately, keep rolling) as soon as the Week 17 games begin to end.

69 responses to “Black Monday looms

  1. I thought expansion was bad mainly for the QB position. It was hard enough to find a good QB withe 28 teams. But now i think it’s really affected the Head Coaches. With the need for 32 HC’s, there really is not enough talent to go around. Owners are jumping the gun and hiring dudes that really have no business being a HC.

  2. So what you are saying is that if your team doesn’t make the playoffs this year and you are the head coach, you might get the ax.

    As A Cowboys fan I think Jerry will give Jason another season.

    Unless Jeff Fisher calls Jerry directly and says “Hey Jerry, I’m really interested in coaching the Cowboys.”

    Then all bets are off.

  3. If the Texans lose to the Titans in week 17 and then get hammered in the wild card game, then yes, Kubiak’s job should be in question. However, he’s gotten the Texans to 10, maybe 11, wins with a zillion injuries…not to mention a 5th round third string QB for a quarter of the season.

    My coaching tarot cards say the following teams will be looking for coaches in a couple of weeks:

    Miami, Jacksonville, St. Louis, San Diego, and Indy.

    Somehow, Raheem Morris will keep his job. Lovie Smith will be given an injury exception. Jerry Jones will give us the patented cosmetic smile while giving Garrett another year. Leslie Frazier gets to stay, but he’d better win 8 or 9 games next year.

    And here’s the shocker, my bold prediction:


  4. would not be an article about head coaching jobs without the rooney rule from this site. just had to squeeze that one in there, huh?
    by the way, norv turner looks like the dad from 7th heaven in this picture.

  5. I believe in stability. But Pat Shurmur has make some mistakes first year youth league coaches make. Boy would I love Andy Reid in Cleveland. Cowher did nothing. It was the Steelers not Cowher. But he would make the Gmen tougher.

  6. Jackson won’t get fired until the Raiders hire a GM which probably doesn’t happen until mid/late Feb. – Jackson is safe even without a playoff spot. Next year though it’s playoffs or bust for Hue.

  7. I don’t think Mike Shanahan or Andy Reid are gone. I do think Coughlin AND Garrett are gone after this season unless one of them makes a run in the postseason, which is unlikely. Morris, Caldwell, and Spagnuolo are all gone.. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Spags end up with the Eagles as Defensive Coordinator.

  8. The first three are definite. Spagnuolo has underachieved, Morris was totally in over his head and Caldwell has botched his job magnificently.

    I think Garrett needs to win to save his job. His failures this year have been glaring and the only way he redeems himself is a division title. And that is a tall order against the Giants in New York.

    The Bears were beginning to roll just as Cutler got injured. In my opinion, they would have made the playoffs with him healthy. I don’t think you can hang that on Smith. He returns.

  9. Please Please Please Please Please add Pat Shurmur in one of the categories. There is NOTHING he has done all year to show he can be an NFL head coach. The team has not improved, he can’t manage a game, there are no in-game adjustments and the offense (his specialty) is pathetic. I find myself wishing for the glory days of Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll…

  10. I know this is coaches, but I’m fairly certain Def Coordinator Fred Pagac for the Vikes is getting the boot. If they can’t shore up the HC position right now due to still paying Chilly, they can at least upgrade the Coordinator spots, and honestly both the Off. and Def. ones need to go in this organization.

  11. No way Texans fire Kubiak. If they didn’t do it last year why would they do it when he led an injury riddled team to a division title and the playoffs?

  12. I think Wade Phillips has had enough chances at the HC gig. He just doesn’t have that fire to lead, great DC though, one of the best.

    I highly doubt Jeff Fisher would come to Dallas. No smart coach would even consider walking into Cowboys Stadium until Jerry is 6ft under after last Saturday’s on field stunt.

    Hue Jackson is an interesting one. If the decision to ship off the first round picks for an interception prone Palmer is any indication, he should likely get the boot.

  13. No way Garrett gets fired. Jerry Jones doesn’t admit mistakes that readily. Look how much time he gave Wade Philips.

    Speaking of Mr. Philips, haven’t we learned by now that some people are meant to be head coaches and some people are meant to be coordinators?

    If the Giants lose, Coughlin is gone. Another one year band aid extension would be the same as letting him coach as a lame duck, because it would mean the same thing- they have no intention of giving him another long term contract.

    And just to keep beating the deadest of dead horses- Jeff Fisher’s coaching record stinks. Facts are facts.

  14. .

    The question should be : what did the coach do with the roster he was given. If he was given a 3-13 personnel, it’s unreasonable to expect 13-3 performance.

    bad roster > good coach


  15. As a Bucs fan it sure has a positive connotation. That said you will note a lot of people in other Bucs threads lately mentioning the Glazers. At some point it would be nice if the football media woke up to the idea that the Glazers are giving Tampa the shaft. Lowest payroll in the league for 6 (7?) years now — empty seats in the stands yet still one of the most profitable franchises in the league (because they spend nothing on players). Raheem should be fired, don’t get me wrong he’s hopeless, but the Glazers are the bigger problem.

    Sadly Raheem will take all the heat and the media will let the Glazers slide.

  16. Tony Dungy did Jim Caldwell no favors. Caldwell was in over his head. I will not be happy if Caldwell goes because he is by all accounts a very good person. He is, however, not a good head coach. The Colts could do worse. They could hire Chucky. That would cause me to rethink my 47-year allegiance to the Colts.

  17. With all the coaches that may be fired.. how many will just get jobs with a new team? Musical Coach Chair

  18. Steelers should fire OC Bruce Arians now. He is the most worthless coach in the NFL. 3rd graders know what plays he is going to run. He is a joke. I have no idea how this guy has a job in the NFL. Ever notice his name is never mentioned when jobs open up? Everybody but Tomlin knows why. He must have something on Tomlin. Arians is the Bruce Weber of the NFL.

  19. This is a wish more than a prediciton. I think Shurmur is in way over his head. If Andy Reid is available I’d like to see Reid in Cleveland and have Holmgren step in on the sidelines at offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. I know everyone will say Holmgren won’t do that, demotion etc.. He doesn’t want to be a HC, has said so many times. Show support and get involved then step aside in 2013 and walk away or go back upstairs. Reid calls his own plays anyway now as HC.

    If Holmgren truly wants to help and not be a HC again it would make sense.

    The other option is Holmgren comes down to be the HC and we hire a top notch offensive coordinator that steps up in 2013 when Holmgren goes back upstairs.

    Net net, need to move Shurmur out and have Holmgren own a part of the get well plan on the sidelines.

    I know crazy but it’s a crazy business.

  20. “Jim Caldwell should be fired if he wins on Sunday. Consider keeping him if he loses.”

    Great idea. I agree, if they lose keep him til Tuesday.

  21. Fire Coughlin already. The Giants are on an endless treadmill of slightly above average seasons. They had one lucky streak of 4 games in 2007 otherwise HE is the one holding this team back. The roster isn’t preventing the team from consistantly being elite, its the coach. Coughlin needs to go. He’s holding the team back. Every year he wins just enough games to avoid being fired but never to be a real threat to being an elite team.

  22. It would be a huge mistake to fire Mike Shanahan or his son. They’re both proven, brilliant coaches and it takes time to rebuild.

    Mike and Kyle,
    Ashburn, VA

  23. Hue jackson should’ve been fired before the moron traded a 1st and 2nd for their soon to be #2 QB. Campbell’s clealy better.

  24. I’m sure Wade Phillips and the rest of the AFC South would be thrilled if Wade Phillips somehow got another head coaching job in Houston. Hard to believe that’s even a “left field” possibility.

  25. It’s interesting to see so many comments from Browns fans. It’s a passionate group. I’d sure like to see a real HC in Cleveland, too. Reid, Gruden, Fisher, etc. But Holmgren’s ego won’t admit the obvious mistake in hiring Shurmur. We’ll have at least one more season of crappy football. Fortunately, Holmgren won’t let Heckert simply “build through the draft” and they’ll sign from free agents to beef up the roster. But I’m not sure it’ll make that much difference with Pat at the helm. The bungling has been embarrassing – from the play-calling, clock mismanagment, almost weekly special teams break-downs – just to name a few. I’m really beginning to have my doubts about Holmgren’s leadership and whether he can turn this around. The Cleveland rebuilding job, Part 5, might be just around the corner.

  26. campbell is a joke. collins took the skins from a 5-7 campbell start to the playoffs.

    one year campbell got the skins to 6-2. then he got them to 8-8.

    he is barely up to game manager standards.

  27. jcusa514 says:
    Dec 30, 2011 12:56 PM
    would not be an article about head coaching jobs without the rooney rule from this site. just had to squeeze that one in there, huh?
    by the way, norv turner looks like the dad from 7th heaven in this picture.

    —Stephen Collins, also Captain Decker in ST: The Motion Picture!

  28. “The term “Black Friday” has morphed from a negative term coined by retail employees into a marketing gimmick that gets post-Thanksgiving customers (and their pepper spray) charged up for some power shopping. ”


    I feel compelled to correct MF on this. It was not a term coined by retail employees who dread working that day. It was an industry term used to describe retail operating profits due to that day. They were sure to be “in the black” as opposed to “in the red”.

  29. I thought Black Monday referred to a stock market crash, not some term coined by retail employees. Black Friday was coined by retail owners because that one day in sales could put their bottom line in the black (good) rather than in the red (bad).

  30. Tomlin won 2 SBs within 4 years. I’ll bet all those NFL teams are beating down his door ready to throw money at him!!!….not. Gee, I wonder why?

  31. Keeping Kubiak is a dumb move. The ONLY reason they are in the playoffs is because Peyton Manning didn’t play this year.

  32. Here’s a shocker for you….. Marvin Lewis. If the Bengals don’t make the playoffs this year. I know the future “looks bright in Cinci” but you know what? It wasn’t that long ago that it looked bright with Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson. Historically speaking coming off a good season, Marvin’s teams tend to nose dive. Wouldnt be surprised if Jay Gruden or Zimmer were given the shot.

  33. No way Garrett goes. A patchwork offensive line, coupled with a banged up talent-lacking defensive backfield will get him one more year.

    Wouldn’t mind “Chucky” coming in though. Would love to see some fire and intensity on the Cowboys sideline…

  34. Dear Cleveland Ownership,
    Pat Shurmer just needs several more seasons to develop the team. Do not let him go.

    All Bengals, Ravens and Steeler Fans

  35. I hear a certain amount of bloviating about a weakened talent pool as it applies to HC positions. BS somebody has to finish first, somebody is going to finish second and somebody is going to finish dead last. There is a satisfactory element of parody in the league that makes most games worth watching, especially in the first half of the season. I remember the days when the coaching carousel’s DNA gene pool was as shallow as a bottle cap. Sure good coaches can make or break a team but it’s a top down deal anymore. Billionaire owners come galloping in to “save the franchise” and most of them don’t know a lick about putting together a quality NFL caliber product, so the may or may not employ “football people” and depending upon how loose or how tight the purse strings are this has a great deal to do with how the team acquires talent. I don’t think we have to mention any names specifically.

  36. Frazier, Turner, Garrett and Caldwell should be fired. None of them seem cut out for HC gigs.

    I’d keep Spags over any of the above four names.

  37. What coach would go to Tampa with no money that will be spent?

    Morris may have created some of his own problems, but he wasn’t given much to work with.

  38. Live in hope…die in despair.We can only hope they show Lovie the door, and take that miserable front office along too. The whole group has to go.

  39. Add me to the long list of Browns fans that hope Patsy the puppet Shurmur gets his walking papers !

  40. Add me to the list of people who desperately wish Pat Shurmur was on the chopping block. But no, Cleveland fans will suffer at least another year of embarrassment and clown-isms because Holmgren’s pride (in not wanting to look like he made a horrible mistake) is much more important to him than this team finally finding a coach who can turn the Browns around. To those who say “Cleveland will never win because they fire coaches every 2-3 years” do not seem to understand that it’s not these coaches were not given a proper chance- it’s that they should never have been hired in the first place. And the revolving brain trust in Cleveland can’t seem to stay away from inexperienced, unaccomplished, clueless doofuses. Sell, Randy, sell!

  41. No way Garrett gets fired, considering the circumstances. He’ll get at least one full off-season and season before he even has to start worrying a little bit.

  42. kubiak will be back but wade phillips may not, he said himself he wants to be a head coach again. He’s one of the best D. coordinators around and needs to retire as one, not as another failed head coach.

  43. avianflew says: Dec 30, 2011 2:37 PM

    Tomlin won 2 SBs within 4 years. I’ll bet all those NFL teams are beating down his door ready to throw money at him!!!….not. Gee, I wonder why?


    Hmmm maybe, just maybe because he is already a HC who doesn’t appear to be leaving his current team anytime soon. Same reason no ones throwing money at Belichick to coach their team.

    That was an awful attempt to play the race card. Get a clue, you tool.

  44. The Rams would be dumb to fire.Spags already. He inherited the worst team in the league and this year Bradford has been hurt along with Steven Jackson–yet the team has never given up or mailed it in despite their record. The Bucs would be totally idiotic to fire Morris when they just won 10 games LAST YEAR! You can’t fire coaches every other year, no team can win with that much inconsistency. The teams that consistently win are the ones with consistency at the HC and QB positions.

  45. I can’t think of any coach more deserving of being fired than Norv Turner. He’s taken a highly talented Chargers team with an excellent QB and turned it into an underachieving, inconsistent, perennial woulda-coulda-shoulda disappointment and failure. The issue here, however, is AJ Smith. If he is still the guy making the decisions I suspect the next coach will be similar to Turner… in non-threatening and submissive to AJ’s authority and limp-wristed. Problem with that is those sorts of guys aren’t often great leaders of men.

    It’s the same up in Indy. Napolian wants milk toast coaches that bow to his authority and can be manipulated. That’s why he hired Dungy and that’s why he “groomed” Caldwell as the successor. They’re both limp-wristed and have been completely submissive and overtly subordinate to Napolian. That’s the way Napolian wants it because it keeps him safe, secure and in charge. The only reason that Dungy worked out so well was because they didn’t even need him. Peyton/Moore ran that offense and it was a juggernaut. Dungy was just along for the ride. As a matter of fact, Dungy was supposed to be a defensive genius. But the Colts defenses over the past decade were well known to be mediocre at best and were always the weakest link to those Colts teams. Tony Dungy is a fraud.

  46. I swear it seems as if the media gets and erection out of coaches getting fired. Jerry Jones has already said his coach is safe so why continue listing Garrett? The media is also trying to make the Giants fire Coughlin when the man is a good coach.

  47. Norv Turner is the worst in the league. I don’t know how he lasted this long. Chop off the heads of the snake from the top down and start over.

  48. If the Raiders would have Wade Phillips as DC the talk would be superbowl and a 14-2 record and no the clown we have putting Jackson’s job in jepardy

  49. To all the Browns fans calling for Pat Shurmurs dismissal:

    It’s not entirely his fault. Teams need talent. The Browns have none. Vince Lombardi himself couldn’t win with this collection of stiffs.

    Plus, there is still the curse Elway put on you in the mid-80’s. You guys never should have thrown those milkbones and barked yourselves hoarse then never backed it up.

    Woof, Woof !!!!!!!

  50. You should all feel blessed because your situations could’ve been A LOT worse. You could’ve had Norv Turner as your head coach.

    Just ask any SD fan over the past 5 years.

  51. chetwynnr says:

    Personally, I think they ought to fire Matt Millen again just to make sure.


    They ought to have a law to fire him each and every year just in case.

  52. Spags is gone – count on it. Wouldn’t mind seeing Jeff Fisher here in St. Louis. I still question why the Titans let him walk away instead of begging him to stay – Bud Adams was the one who wanted Vince Young, not Fisher.

  53. The entire Colts coaching staff should be fired! As we saw this season, a lot of QBs went down but their teams stepped up. Not so in Indianapolis! That coaching staff couldn’t inspire a Little League team!

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