Black Monday Will Be Coming for NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat

LVCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2009
NFL head coaches on the hot seat, like Carolina’s John Fox, better not pick up the phone on “Black Monday”


Mark the date of Monday, January 4th, 2010 down on your calendars. That date happens to be “Black Monday” around the NFL, as many teams will probably pull the plug on their embattled head coaches, front office types, and assistant coaches on the Monday after Week 17.     

I am not sure if the number of new coaches this off season will reach the 11 coaching changes for the 2009 season, but I am estimating that there could be at least five head coaching changes on the way.

Of course, one change will probably be for the Buffalo Bills who currently have interim head coach Perry Fewell running the team after firing Dick Jauron in November.

Head Coaches on the Hot Seat include: 


Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins

The former Seattle Seahawks quarterback has been stoic throughout the 2009 season even though he has been basically “Dead Man Walking” for the majority of it. Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties in October—given to veteran NFL assistant coach Sherman Lewis—and it was apparent from that point on, that petulant owner Daniel Snyder would soon be looking in a new direction. 

Though the Redskins (4-9 through 13 games this season) have been tougher in November and December, they still will be remembered for making winners out of formerly winless teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions.

Zorn’s overall coaching record stands at 12-17, and the Redskins, since starting 6-2 in 2008, have a record of 6-15 in their last 21 games.

Expect Snyder, who is known for spending money on his team (he signed prize free agent DT Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million contract with $41 million guaranteed and CB DeAngelo Hall to a six-year, $55 million deal with $23 million guaranteed) to go after a big name former head coach to come in and run his team.

See: Shanahan, Mike; Cowher, Bill. I wonder if Snyder does bring in a new “football man” to run things, what will happen with his loyal minion Vinny Cerato?

Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears

Now that the Bears have their franchise quarterback (Jay Cutler), everything was supposed to be perfect in 2009…wrong.

Another underachieving season (5-8 through 13 games) and Super Bowl XLI seems like a distant memory. 

The only thing that could keep Smith around is that he is due about $11 million dollars next year. If Smith is allowed to return by GM Jerry Angelo, some big changes are coming to his coaching staff.

Eric Mangini, Cleveland Browns

Last week’s big win over the Steelers aside, “Man-genius” has been a disaster in his first season in Cleveland.

From players complaining about “voluntarily” having to take a bus ride to his summer camp, to some veterans' overall disinterest, anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the two win Browns. 

To make matters worse, the Browns are looking for a new GM/football czar to replace Mangini’s former handpicked GM George Kokonis.

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans

At 6-7 with only three games left, it is looking more likely that the Texans are headed for their third straight 8-8 finish.

After four years in Houston, Kubiak was expected to deliver a playoff team to the 2002 expansion franchise. 

Unfortunately, the Texans have been inconsistent once again and several players on their roster have missed long stretches of time with injuries. With GM Rick Smith looking to be around for another year, given the young talent that he has assembled, expect Kubiak to be the fall guy in Houston.

John Fox, Carolina Panthers

After a great year in 2008, you knew 2009 would be a tough one for the Panthers. Carolina, in 15 years in the league, has never posted back-to-back winning seasons. 

The Panthers are 5-8 with three games to go, and their roster looks like a M.A.S.H. unit. Fox will need to answer to owner Jerry Richardson about what has gone wrong with quarterback Jake Delhomme and a defense that is not producing big plays any longer.

After eight seasons in Charlotte and the team’s lone Super Bowl appearance long gone (2003), expect the Panthers to move along without Fox.

Did I also mention that former Steelers’ Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Cowher already has established roots in the Carolina area?

Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It has only been one year for one of the NFL’s youngest head coaches (age 33), but some around the league are already saying that Morris maybe in over his head. 

Morris fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski before the 2009 season even started, and recently stripped defensive coordinator Jim Bates of his role, so there is no one else to blame for the Bucs' problems. 

The Bucs are currently 1-12 and it is possible they could not win a game for the remainder of the season (at Seattle, at New Orleans, and Atlanta). With the Glazer family looking to get back to the success of the Tony Dungy era, they could be looking in a new direction after the season.


Other head coaches potentially on the Hot Seat :

Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

Not known for being the sternest coach with players. Jerry Jones wants to not only make the playoffs, but he also wants to win a playoff game for the time since ’96.

Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders

Off the field troubles and he works for Al Davis…enough said.

Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars

It could be a playoff win or bust after seven years in Jacksonville.


NFL Head Coaching Candidates

Mike Shanahan: Former two-time Super Bowl winner with Denver Broncos.

Bill Cowher: Current CBS analyst and former Steelers’ Super Bowl XL winner.

Brian Billick: Current FOX analyst former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winner.

Jon Gruden: Current ESPN analyst (signed an extension) and former Bucs’ Super Bowl winner.

Marty Schottenheimer: Former head coach in Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington, and San Diego.

Jim Haslett: Former Saints head coach and UFL head coach.

Mike Zimmer: Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator.

Gregg Williams: New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator.

Todd Bowles: Miami Dolphins DB’s coach.

Leslie Frazier: Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator.

Jerry Gray: Washington Redskins DB's coach.

Brian Schottenheimer: New York Jets offensive coordinator.

Hue Jackson: Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator.

Pat Shurmur: St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator.

Marc Trestman: Montreal Alouettes (CFL) head coach.

Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator.

Jim Skipper: Carolina Panthers assistant head coach, RB’s coach; former head coach of the San Francisco Demon (XFL).

Mike Nolan: Denver Broncos defensive coordinator.

Mike Martz: Former Rams head coach and NFL Network analyst.

UFL Coaches: Jim Fassel (won UFL’s first championship), Dennis Green, and Ted Cotrell.

Eric Bienemy: Minnesota Vikings RB’s coach.

Mike Mularkey: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

Pete Charmichael: New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator.

Russ Grimm: Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach, offensive line coach.

Karl Dorrell: Miami Dolphins WR’s coach.

Ron Rivera: San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator.

Rob Chudzinski: San Diego Chargers assistant head coach.

Mike Heimerdinger: Titans offensive coordinator.

Pete Carroll: USC head coach.

DeWayne Walker: New Mexico State head coach.

Kirk Firentz: Iowa University head coach and former Bill Belichick disciple.


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award -winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted in 2009 NFL Season, Black Monday, Head Coach Firings, NFL Head Coach Candidates, NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat Tagged: 2009 NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat, 2009 NFL Season, Coaches on the Hot Seat, Football, Jim Zorn, John Fox, Lovie Smith, Mike Shanahan, NFL, NFL Head Coach Candidates, Raheem Morris, Sports, Washington Redskins


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