For many, January 1st is a day of new beginnings. A fresh start to the New Year, today is cherished by most of the country.
Unless of course you’re a head football coach in the NFL with a team that has underperformed. Today, well, may be one of the last days you are employed by your franchise. Black Monday looms. For those unfamiliar with the darkest of Mondays, Black Monday is generally the day most coaches are fired, the unofficial start to the off-season for the non contenders.
It’s been a rough season for coaches. Wade Phillips, Josh McDaniels, Brad Childress, and Mike Singletary have all already lost their job. Reports have it that John Fox will be out in Carolina at the conclusion of the season. The sad(troubling, disturbing, I could go on) part is that after Monday, the list will substantially grow. Without further ado, The Sports Blast will tell you who is in, and who is out.
Tony Sparano: Miami Dolphins
It’s unfortunate that Sparano’s name has come up in recent days while speculating the coaching tree carousel that is set to start in the upcoming days. Sparano took a team reeling from a 1-15 season and quickly elevated their play, leading them all the way to a playoff berth. Their cinderella run ended quickly at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens and hasn’t reached the same peak since then. The Dolphins have failed to live up to expectations in the stingy AFC East. However, with the Big Tuna still pulling some strings in Miami’s front office I think Sparano retains his job for one more season. Verdict: IN
Eric Mangini: Cleveland Browns
What a frustrating year for Browns fans. Big wins against New England and New Orleans have been offset by a 5-10 record heading into week 17. Underdogs against Pittsburgh, Cleveland could look at another 5-11 season under Mangini. After a less than stellar run in New York, Mangini has struggled in Cleveland as well. With Mike Holmgren looming in the front office it would not be surprising if Mangini got the axe. However, Cleveland is desperate for offensive talent which may actually work in Mangini’s favor. Despite my heart saying he stays, the Verdict: OUT
Gary Kubiak: Houston Texans
Another promising year for the Texans, another flop by the Texans. It seems like the potent Texans offense has been knocking on the doorstep for years, only to be turned away year in and year out. A shaky defense has often been the doormat for criticism this season which may actually benefit Kubiak, who is known as an offensive guru. By hiring a grizzled veteran at the defensive coordinator position( Wade Phillips?), Kubiak could retain his job for one more season. Verdict: IN
Jeff Fisher: Tennessee Titans
All good things must come to an end at some point. Unfortunately for Jeff Fisher, the end may be his 16th season as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. The feeling in the air is stale in Tennessee, and trouble is on the horizon. After a 5-2 start, the Titans have completely collapsed floundering Super Bowl hopes. The owner is angry with Fisher over the disappointing season, Fisher is angry with Vince Young about being a baby, Vince Young is angry about how he was handled, the locker room is split on which side to take. You get all that? It’s time for Tennessee to go in a new direction to rejuvenate the locker room in Nashville. Verdict: OUT
Tom Coughlin: New York Giants
Couhglin is just a pinch of good luck away from a playoff birth. He’s also one step away from a 9-7 season and more importantly, his 2nd year missing the playoffs. I know some Sports Blast followers don’t like the word “collapse” being associated with the Giants, but a loss this weekend would be a period placed at the end of another “collapse.” With 2 late season swoons in a row and Tom Coughlin’s age rising, could New York make a change? We’ll have to see at the conclusion of this weekend. Verdict: IN
Norv Turner: San Diego Chargers
No one is better at not preparing their team early in the season, only to turn it on at the 11th hour and win a usually down AFC West than Norv Turner. Much to his dismay, Oakland and Kansas City went against the grain this year and were both considered as formidable foes. Faced with a divisional challenge, San Diego wilted, conceding the division to San Diego. Turner has had ample time in San Diego and has yet to deliver a Super Bowl. He has delivered many a playoff flop, and now goes into the off-season without even a playoff birth. A.J Smith needs to change the attitude in San Diego. Verdict: OUT
Other notable coaches on the hot seat. Ken Whishenhunt, ARI. Tom Cable, OAK. Jack Del Rio, JAX. Marvin Lewis, CIN.
It’s crazy when evaluating it. By the Sports Blast standards, 8 coaches will not be with the team they started with at the beginning of the season. If GM’s are feeling bold, the number could balloon up to 15 coaching changes, almost half the NFL! Only in football.
- Mark Chiarelli
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