NFL Hot Seat Update: Gauging Every Head Coach After Week 14

Ryan RiddleCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2012

NFL Hot Seat Update: Gauging Every Head Coach After Week 14

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    Only two active head coaches have accumulated more than 150 career wins: Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan. With 150 wins on the nose, Tom Coughlin is one win away from joining this elite club, while Jeff Fisher is a mere three victories away.

    In terms of career playoff wins, only three active head coaches (Belichick, Coughlin, Reid) have accumulated 10 or more, which might be surprising to some. However, the reality is that the shelf life of an NFL head coach is often relatively short. In fact, the average tenure is only about 3.25 years.

    That explains why almost a third of the head coaches on this list are currently "On Fire," which is the most severe of all the Hot-Seat statuses. The order progresses from there, with labels such as "Hot," "Warm," "Room Temperature," "Cool," "Cozy" and "Get This Man an Extension."

    Time now to see which coaches are feeling "Cozy" and which ones are burning up.

Chan Gailey: On Fire

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    Last Week: Hot

    Chan Gailey and the Buffalo Bills blew a fourth-quarter lead against the Rams and have more or less eliminated themselves from playoff contention.

    Gailey has only won 43 percent of his career games as a head coach, which is obviously not a shining endorsement for his head coaching prowess.

    Heading perhaps one of the most disappointing seasons of the 2012 year in the NFL doesn't offer Gailey much job security, as his group of underachievers sits at 5-8. For now, he must try to make the most of a dire situation and pray his team can fight hard enough for him to make an unlikely return in 2013.

Jason Garrett: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire

    Jason Garrett is coaching on borrowed time in Big D.

    Jerry Jones has repeatedly expressed his belief that the talent on the Dallas Cowboys roster is sufficient enough to win a Super Bowl. The only logic to deduce from this based on the results of the organization over the last two years is to assume that Coach Garrett is doing a subpar job and is not the right guy to coach the Dallas Cowboys.

    Garrett seems to be a impressively level guy who handles adversity with a straight face and optimism. But it's looking more and more like the Cowboy roster may require a guy with a more hard-nosed type of personality to keep some of these big egos in check and focused.

    Coach Garrett did a commendable job fighting through an emotional week in Dallas after the death of practice-squad player Jerry Brown, leading his team to a close 20-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the win changes nothing for Garrett's status, as he is still very much "On Fire" given such heightened expectations by owner Jerry Jones. 

Joe Philbin: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Room Temperature 

    The Miami Dolphins have been a hard-fighting team all season, and that carried over into Week 14, as the team put up a commendable fight against the 49ers.

    Joe Philbin has his quarterback and a solid defense to build off of moving forward. At 5-8, there is little hope for a playoff spot, but that doesn't mean fans aren't still impressed with the progress and direction Philbin has his team going down.

    Philbin has done a great job creating the winning environment he believes in by not hesitating to let go of talented players such as Chad Johnson and Brandon Marshall. His mission to prioritize high-quality character over talent should be an interesting experiment in this age of football.

    So far, his guidance appears to be paying dividends.

Tom Coughlin: Cool

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    Last Week: Cool 

    Tom Coughlin has had numerous attempts at a dominating regular season; however, this doesn't seem to be in the cards for this particular head coach.

    Coughlin has barely won more than half of his regular season games (55 percent) as a head coach thus far, but his value seems to be best utilized by preparing his players to step things up in the postseason.

    If Coughlin can win the NFC East with more than eight wins, expect a "Cozy" upgrade for one of the oldest coaches in the NFL.

Bill Belichick: Get This Man an Extension

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    Last Week: Get This Man an Extension

    The Pats made one of the best teams in the NFL look lost and unprepared for a full four-quarters Monday night against the Texans.

    In a much anticipated matchup, New England made it look easy winning by a score of 42-14.

    Bill Belichick has accomplished more in this league than any other active coach in the NFL. His status is absolutely secure and should remain as such for the remainder of the season.

    With five conference championships, three Super Bowls and a 64 percent win percentage, Belichick could sit on the bench all game long and read a book and he still wouldn't get fired.

    Everyone understands Belichick is perhaps the most coveted individual in the entire NFL. Being mentioned in that type of discussion tells us that he will likely be afforded the opportunity to coach as long as he wants to.

    Very little could change his status at this point in his career. The man is a legend and an icon.

Andy Reid: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire 

    Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles understand they will be parting ways after this season. So it was nice for Philadelphia to get the win Sunday against a talented Bucs squad, even though Reid's guys are playing only for pride.

    Reid's situation is a sad one considering all that he has accomplished with Philly. Winning almost 59 percent of his games apparently won't be enough to get a third chance to prove the team he built can actually compete for a Super Bowl.

    With Andy Reid's firing eminent, the Eagles will also need to figure out who will assume control over all personnel decisions, as Reid had final say in such matters.

Rex Ryan: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire

    Despite media projections, key injuries on both sides of the ball and arrogant predictions gone wrong, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets actually aren't one of the worst teams in the league. As a matter of fact, New York isn't even out of the playoffs at this point. 

    Ryan's act is starting to run thin in the Big Apple, but the win against a terrible Jaguars squad should boost team morale—at least for a while.

    Either way, though, Ryan has earned the title of being "On Fire" with his antics and self-imposed expectations, which only demonstrates his detachment from reality and/or from properly assessing the talent on his roster.

    Besides, GM Mike Tannenbaum may need a fall guy to save his skin, and Ryan might be the perfect scapegoat.

Mike Shanahan: Cool

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    Last Week: Cool 

    Mike Shanahan's bunch has found the right formula to success through the second half of the season. The Washington Redskins have won four of their last five games and only appear to be getting more dangerous with every passing week. Hopefully RG3's injury isn't serious and the 'Skins will have his services back sooner rather than later.

    Shanahan has good chemistry with his new toy at quarterback and seems to be very open and creative in using him within the offense. With the big win over the Ravens, Washington is actually still in the playoff hunt and could make waves with its inspired play as of late.

John Harbaugh: Cozy

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    Last Week: Cozy

    Yeah sure, the Baltimore Ravens lost a tough one in overtime to the Redskins, but the bottom line is that John Harbaugh can justify his job with the second-highest winning percentage of all active coaches, behind only Atlanta's Mike Smith.

    Harbaugh brings a toughness to his team, who have been great at filling in for injured players on defense. Sure, the Ravens have not quite been the defense we've come to know over the years, but for the most part, the team has found a way to win games.

    Sunday's lost isn't something fans need to panic about in terms of coaching. Harbaugh has done a fantastic job so far and even managed to carry his team past what most considered to be a rebuilding phase back when he first took over the coaching job.

    Update: Baltimore Ravens have fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. He will be replaced by QB coach Jim Caldwell.

Lovie Smith: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Cool

    Lovie Smith's job status has slipped a notch after the Chicago Bears dropped a second straight game. The team has now lost four of its last five games and sits with an 8-5 record and no Brian Urlacher. 

    Jay Cutler continues to get beaten up, as the offensive line has struggled for years.

    If Lovie Smith and the Bears are going to be a factor in the postseason, they're going to have to protect their franchise QB.

    "Room Temperature" is the lowest status Coach Smith has had all year. Hopefully he can bounce back from this slump and find a way to get his team back on a roll.

Marvin Lewis: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Room Temperature

    Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals finally lost a game after a nice win streak that put the team right back into the playoff hunt at 7-6. Smith is doing a decent job this year of keeping his team relevant and proving that last year was no fluke.

    For his career, Lewis has only won 49 percent of his games, which is obviously not very impressive. It's interesting to think just how much patience and wiggle room Lewis has left at this point. If the Bengals fail to finish with a winning season, Lewis could very well end up on the hot seat.

Jim Schwartz: Hot

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    Last Week: Hot

    The only reason Jim Schwartz isn't "On Fire" at this point with a 4-8 record and a winning percentage of only 36 percent for his career is because Schwartz was able to get the Detroit Lions into the playoffs in 2011 for the first time in years. That's bought him a bit of extra time.

    But if the Lions lay down on the season without a fight, Schwartz will likely find himself "On Fire."

    Although the playoffs are all but out of the question this season, Detroit has some big things to fight for if it hopes to retain its head coach.

Pat Shurmur: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Warm

    Believe it or not, the Cleveland Browns are looking pretty darn impressive, bringing their win streak to three straight games on Sunday.

    Pat Shurmur may be surprising a lot of people out there as he continues to develop his young but talented roster. With a rookies scattered throughout key positions, expect the Browns to be on the rise over the next few years.

    The good news for Shurmur is that it actually seems like he might be around long enough to see this thing through.

    "Room Temperature" is a good rating for coach Shurmur, who many wrote off as dead weight earlier in the season. At some points, Shurmur was on the hot seat, but he has since shown his owner many reasons to retain his services.

Mike McCarthy: Cozy

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    Last Week: Cozy 

    The head coaching duties are always a lot easier when you have Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback. With that said, Mike McCarthy has his team right where he wants it heading into the final four games of the regular season.

    Struggles earlier on in the season prevented Coach McCarthy from obtaining the highest possible ranking for job security. It should take either a significant win streak or a playoff win for him to regain that rare, coveted, top-status ranking.

Mike Tomlin: Cool

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    Last Week: Cozy 

    I've been saying all year that this would be a tough season for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoffs. Turns out that prediction seems to be accurate, though the issue really isn't any shortcoming of Mike Tomlin.

    Tomlin is a great leader and a smart football mind. He typically says the right things at the right time and has helped keep the Steelers' dominance alive for quite some time now.

    However, even Big Ben Roethlisberger's return wasn't enough on Sunday for the much-needed victory against the San Diego Chargers.

    Apparently, it's back to the drawing board for Tomlin as he attempts to lead his men into the postseason.

Leslie Frazier: Cool

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    Last Week: Cool

    Leslie Frazier has definitely made the most of his opportunity as an interim head coach. The play of Adrian Peterson has been inspiring, as he may be the biggest reason as to why the Minnesota Vikings are 7-6.

    Frazier shouldn't mind too much, though, considering he can use all the help he can get. The Vikings are one of the most overachieving teams of the year, and one way or another, Coach Frazier has been a big part of that.

    For these reasons, Leslie Frazier has almost certainly earned the right to return as head coach in 2013.

Gary Kubiak: Get This Man an Extension

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    Last Week: Get This Man an Extension 

    Gary Kubiak is one of the more coveted coaches in the league these days.

    The game against the New England Patriots on Monday night might be the biggest game of the entire NFL season and a potential preview into the AFC championship game. But none of that should really affect Kubiak having the most comfortable job status possible.

    The Houston Texans have evolved more and more into a complete team with very few weaknesses while under Kubiak's watch. The only place to go from here as head coach of this franchise is to win a Super Bowl. Anything less could result in in the 2012 campaign being dubbed a failure.

    These are nice concerns to have when you consider how far the bar has risen for the Houston Texans.

Mike Smith: Cool

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    Last Week: Cozy 

    The Atlanta Falcons have lost two of their last five games while struggling to dominate any team all season long. Questions are swirling regarding whether or not this Atlanta team can advance to a Super Bowl or even win a single playoff game—and rightfully so.

    Though the Falcons are in first place with an 11-2 record, they have simply managed to edge out the close games.

    Mike Smith has dropped back down to a "Cool" status, where he's spent most of the season, most recently for his upset loss against divisional foes Carolina Panthers.

Chuck Pagano: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Room Temperature

    Chuck Pagano has been able to aid in his team's strategies and preparation throughout his personal battle with leukemia.

    Coach Pagano's story has really seemed to inspire his team. The Indianapolis Colts have made an impressive turnaround, to say the least, under the leadership of Bruce Arians as he takes over until Pagano is fully recovered.

    In the meantime, there won't be many changes for Chuck Strong's hot-seat status until he officially returns to duty.

Ron Rivera: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire

    On Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers actually looked like the team many expected them to be heading into this season. The unraveling of this franchise has fallen largely into the lap of Ron Rivera and former GM Marty Hurney. Only one of those guys is still with the team.

    Ron Rivera was brought into this franchise to provide a lift and help create a true contender. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his job so far has been the Panthers' terrible defense all season. This was suppose to be Rivera's area of focus, yet his team has struggled on nearly all phases of defense.

    The win against the Falcons gives the team and its coach something to smile about, though most believe Coach Rivera will not be returning as a Panther next year.

Mike Mularkey: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire 

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have been pretty bad all year long, and Sunday's loss to the New York Jets was no different.

    When a team plays this bad on so many levels, it's hard not to point the finger at the head coach.

    Even though Mike Mularkey is only in his first year with the team, this could very well end up being his last.

    Mularkey may need to cut out some of his own malarkey. As a head coach, he has only won 36 percent of his games. The sooner Jacksonville comes to terms and can admit it made a mistake in the hiring of Mularkey, the better off the team will be.

    This level of honesty may also need to be applied to the analysis of first-round QB Blaine Gabbert.

Sean Payton: Get This Man an Extension

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    Last Week: Get This Man an Extension

    There is no new word on Sean Payton's pending future, as he is not allowed contact with his organization, even to sign a new contract extension.

    Payton's importance in the locker room and on the field has been highlighted this year in his absence. The New Orleans Saints have struggled mightily this season. In fact, they won't even make the playoffs this year, as they currently hold a 5-8 record.

    Drew Brees would no doubt love to have Coach Payton back, but we'll soon find out how much Payton wants to coach Brees in return.

Mike Munchak: On Fire

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    Last Week: Hot 

    The Titans have lost four of their last five outings, and Mike Munchak is officially feeling the heat. With nothing really left to play for, it becomes hard to motivate players to play hard at this time of year.

    If somehow he can inspire his men to a few more victories before the season ends, Munchak may be able to save his neck—or at least prolong his job for a few more years.

    Munchak hasn't been that bad of a coach when you consider his success relative to the talent available. For this reason, it may be very premature to fire Coach Munchak without giving him at least another year. But if his course continues down the same path, Munchak will be out before the 2013 season.

Greg Schiano: Room Temperature

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    Last Week: Cool

    Greg Schiano may have had a brief moment up near cooler temperatures, but as of right now, he has fallen back to "Room Temperature" with a mediocre 6-7 record.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still trying to find consistency in close matchups and may need a bit longer to fully mature.

    Regardless of the recent loss, Tampa Bay is a team on the rise with a high-octane offense and a young, talented defense just learning how to play at this level.

    If this was an article predicting next year's first-time playoff contenders, the Bucs would definitely be on that list.

    Schiano is proving to be a leader that his men can and will listen to. Even if they hate his new system of rules down in Tampa, deep down, the players know how beneficial it all is.

    Bottom line, though: If the work put into preparation yields positive results, his men will continue to buy in.

John Fox: Cozy

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    Last Week: Cool 

    John Fox and the Denver Broncos locked up the AFC West two weeks ago. Led by his free agent with the golden arm and, more appropriately, the golden mind, Broncos fans can be excited for this year's Super Bowl prospects, as they're in the midst of an eight-game winning streak.

    Von Miller has made a convincing case for Defensive Player of Year with 16 sacks and unparalleled versatility in only his second year as a pro.

    Coach Fox is nine games away from his 100th career victory (.526).

    We are finding out what he can do with a future Hall of Fame quarterback at the helm, which has never been a luxury for Fox throughout his career as a head coach.

    Considering he was able to take the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme, we can only deduce that his chances of repeating that feat with Peyton Manning are quite good.

Ken Whisenhunt: On Fire

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    Last Week: Warm

    Ken Whisenhunt is the first and only coach all year to move from "Room Temperature" to "Cool" and then slowly work his way all the way down to "On Fire." This decline is the result of an ongoing nine-game losing streak the Arizona Cardinals are struggling to work themselves out of.

    Offensively, the Cardinals are trying hard to get the ball into Larry Fitzgerald's hands, but they are failing at this at an alarming rate. With one of the worst offensive lines in the league, Whisenhunt will have to do something drastic to improve this season.

    The team's 4-0 start at the beginning of the season must seem like a lifetime ago.

    Are Ken's days in Arizona numbered? Well, when you get blown out 58-0 by a team with a rookie quarterback, the chances are that he's wearing away at what little slack he has left.

    Update:

    Via an article from NFL.com's Dan Hanzus:

    Though we can't imagine it will give Ken Whisenhunt much peace of mind on what we imagine has been a pretty crappy day, Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said Monday the team will not fire its coach before the end of the season.

Romeo Crennel: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire 

    The Kansas City Chiefs' recent blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns just might have been the nail in the coffin for Romeo Crennel and his team of underachievers.

    Crennel is a nice guy and a likable coach. Unfortunately, he has never had success as a head coach in the NFL. This experiment in Kansas City must come to an end and a new culture of winning needs to be imported starting in the front office.

Jeff Fisher: Cool

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    Last Week: Cool

    Jeff Fisher has led his organization on a late-season hot streak as the St. Louis Rams have now won three straight games, including a big one against the 49ers.

    Now 6-6-1 the Rams are still in the the playoff hunt, despite being one of the youngest teams in the NFL.

    Things are looking up in St Louis as the season progresses. Fisher appears to be the right guy for the head coaching job, even though he has lost more regular season games than any other active head coach in the league—though that's not to say that the hasn’t won a few along the way, obviously.

    If he manages to win a playoff game in his debut season, he'll be sitting "Cozy" all the way into the start of the 2013 season.

Jim Harbaugh: Cozy

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    Last Week: Cozy

    The San Francisco 49ers' experiment at quarterback appears to be working. Colin Kaepernick has only thrown a single interception all year.

    But the 49ers' season will be judged simply on Super Bowl-or-bust, and many question whether or not the young signal-caller will have the experience to thrive in postseason action.

    If Kaepernick should falter, will Jim Harbaugh have the wisdom to call upon his trusty and reliable vet in Alex Smith, or will he ride out the season on the arm of his future quarterback?

    Harbaugh has brought excitement and toughness to this 49ers franchise.

Dennis Allen: Hot

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    Last Week: Hot

    There are a few reasons why the Oakland Raiders' first-year coach is not "On Fire." The first reason is mentioned in the opening sentence: With this being Dennis Allen's first season as an NFL head coach, he's almost certainly a safe bet to return in 2013.

    This is also the first season for GM Reggie McKenzie, and, obviously, it wouldn't reflect favorably on the new general manager  if he had to rectify his first-ever decision after only a year of test driving his shiny new head coach.

    Lastly, Al Davis' absence should mean less of a hair trigger on fires and hires, which will provide some stability for the organization. The only concern about that philosophy is that the Raiders could stabilize at mediocrity.

    Allen needs to prove he has was it takes to make the talent-deprived Raiders at least competitive. Otherwise, this year will be his last.

Pete Carroll: Cozy

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    Last Week: Cool

    The Seattle Seahawks are actually nipping at the heels of the 49ers with an impressive 8-5 record and only three games remaining.

    Pete Carroll is doing big things and has designed a team that should only get better over the next couple of years. There is no sign that Carroll is going anywhere anytime soon. His plan and vision for this team are coming together perfectly, though they have yet to peak.

    Only three teams in the NFC have a better record than Seattle, thanks in large part to Carroll and his energetic style of coaching.

    For these reasons and more, his status is moving from "Cool" to "Cozy" following the biggest margin of victory in franchise history, 58-0 over divisional foe Arizona Cardinals.

Norv Turner: On Fire

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    Last Week: On Fire 

    Sure, the Chargers won a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but little that happens now will change anything in terms of Norv Turner's future with the Chargers.  

    It’s being rumored around the Chargers organization that “operation clean-house” is in full effect (via the Union Tribune), though owner Alex Spanos is denying all rumors that he has made any decisions on any coaching or front-office changes at the moment.

    Truth be told, however, Spanos likely decided both A.J Smith and Norv Turner’s fates much earlier in the season, when it became clear that the Chargers' struggles would continue in 2012.

    Turner is a gifted football mind and a talented offensive coordinator, but his ability to lead and inspire his players has always been a huge question mark.

    The question really isn't about if Turner will be fired, or even when, but rather if he will ever be a head coach in the NFL again. Chances of that are slim, so hopefully he's able to soak up his last few weeks of it while he can.