And Justice for All? 5 NFL Coaches Who Shouldn't Have Been Fired
The 2010 NFL season saw a lot of coaching changes around the league.
After coming off a 2009 season that saw a two-decade low in firings, a lot of coaches failed and got booted. Some of these firings were totally justified, while others left people scratching their heads.
Obviously, coaches like Brad Childress and Wade Philips were awful for their teams and deserved to lose their jobs, but other coaches were just stuck with bad personnel, injuries or both.
Still, more coaches gave their teams some hope and improvement, and got the ax from an owner with unrealistic expectations (cough, Al Davis, cough).
Here we will look at five coaches around the league who were fired and didn't deserve it.
5. Mike Singletary, Head Coach, San Fransisco 49ers
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Sure, he dropped his pants to the team at halftime. Sure, he ranted nonsensically at the media after losses. Sure, the team he coached didn't do so well during his tenure. However, I contend that it was more due to a poor roster, and that he was leading them in the right direction.
Mike Singletary is the only reason Vernon Davis is a top-five tight end. Without Singletary, by now Davis would be running around another team's third string, dreadlocks flying, passes dropping. Thanks to Singletary's tutelage, Davis got his act together and has bloomed to his potential.
The 49ers defense has likewise played well for Singletary. As one of the greatest linebackers of all-time, it stands to reason that he should be able to mold a defense. He was a good leader, and a good mentor to the younger players.
The recent failure of the 49ers rests squarely on the shoulders of their offense. Alex Smith is NOT a franchise quarterback, Michael Crabtree has some growing up to do, the offensive line needs to get better and Frank Gore needs some help. The fact that San Fran couldn't win this year had nothing to do with Singletary.
Of course, getting Jim Harbaugh is no joke and the 49ers are lucky to have him, but I'm just saying that Singletary deserved one more chance, maybe with a real quarterback.
4. John Fox, Head Coach, Carolina Panthers
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Some might disagree with this choice, and maybe in some ways it is a stretch, but John Fox did not deserve to lose his job.
Two years removed from being the No. 2 seed in the league, Fox was leading his team in a decent direction. With two young star running backs and a talented defense, the Panthers were not a bad team. It is certainly not the fault of Fox that Jake Delhomme decided to implode during the 2008-09 playoffs.
In the 2010 season, the Panthers lost Julius Peppers, arguably the best DE in football, to free agency. Delhomme departed for a new team after his abysmal 2009 campaign.
Fox was stuck with an ailing DeAngelo Williams, career backup Matt Moore, raw rookie Jimmy Clausen and a defense without Peppers. Taking a look at the Panthers 2010 roster, I'd like to meet a coach not named Bill Belichick that even had a chance of winning five games with that team.
Even without Peppers, the Panthers defense was acceptable considering Fox is a defensive guru. How could anyone have expected something good out of that offense this past season? It is ludicrous.
The Panthers were foolish to cast out the venerable coach, and they will regret it next season even more than drafting Jimmy Clausen.
3. Jim Zorn, QB Coach, Baltimore Ravens
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Odd to have a non-head coach on the list? Maybe.
However, Zorn's firing was completely outrageous. Not only was it unnecessary, it undermines the confidence of young, rising star Joe Flacco, coming off a great season.
How do you fire a quarterback coach after a 25 TD, 10 INT, 3,622 yard, 93.6 rating season from the position? Not to mention it was Zorn's first season as the position's coach.
Flacco has already called the firing an attack on him, and stated he is very upset with the Ravens' decision. Problems down the road? Possibly. Bad move, Baltimore.
2. Eric Mangini, Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
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This may look surprising, as the track record isn't very good here. However, Mangini is another coach who was the victim of his own roster.
Did the Browns have one decent offensive player outside of Peyton Hillis? Colt McCoy looks very promising for the future, the offensive line is good, the defense is solid and the Browns are heading in the right direction.
To fire Mangini now, when the team needs some stability during rebuilding, is a foolish move. They showed promise this year, improving their record and knocking off both the Patriots and the Saints.
Mangini could have had the Browns in the playoffs in perhaps three years. Hopefully, the next coach can hit the ground running, or Cleveland management will be sorry.
1. Tom Cable, Head Coach, Oakland Raiders
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This was, by far, the worst firing of the year. How could the Raiders, a team that was 5-11 or worse for seven straight seasons, fire the coach that made them 8-8, helped them sweep the division and come close to making the postseason?
The answer is Al Davis is a moron.
Unlike the other coaches on this list who didn't perform well, but had an excuse, Tom Cable did an excellent job this season. It was the Raiders first .500 or better season in eight years.
Al Davis, however, needs them to win it all every year or somebody loses a job. How can you expect Davis to be logical, though? This is the same guy who wanted JaMarcus Russell.
The point is, under Cable this year, the Raiders were No. 2 in pass defense, No. 2 in run offense and improved from years prior in run defense and pass offense.
Yes, there was some quarterback controversy, but is that really such a big deal? THEY DID WELL! Cable deserves credit for what he accomplished this year, and though I love the Raiders, Davis needs to learn his lesson eventually.
Cable made the Raiders relevant again, and is therefore the No. 1 "misfire" of 2010.