NFL Hot Seat: Ranking the Likelihood of Each Coach Getting Canned
This is Jack Del Rio. As of today, he doesn't have a job.
The head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been fired after coaching the team to a 3-8 start in his ninth season in the teal.
Del Rio certainly won't be the last coach to be given the boot this season. Many playcallers are in the hot seat after disappointing seasons.
So what chances do each coach have in keeping their jobs for next season? Let's take a look.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys, 7-4
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After taking over in Dallas midway through last season, Garrett has coached the Cowboys into hold of first place in the NFC East. A playoff berth seems imminent, save for a Giant resurgence in New York. Odds are pretty high that the 'Boys will play postseason ball. Garrett isn't going anywhere.
Chances Garrett Gets Fired: 0 Dancing Cowgirls out of 5
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants, 6-5
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The fourth-best passing offense in the league may not be enough to save Coughlin in New York.
The Giants were, at one point, on top of the NFC East. Now they are losers of three straight, sitting in second in their division and currently without a playoff spot. Even worse, their remaining schedule pits Big Blue against only one team under .500—Washington. The other four games? Against the undefeated Packers, a Christmas showdown with the Jets and two games against division leading Dallas.
If the Giants miss the postseason, Coughlin could be heading for the unemployment line.
Chances Coughlin Gets Fired: 2.5 Punters Getting Yelled at out of 5
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles, 4-7
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Reid's been in Philly since 1999. His tenure in the City of Brotherly Love might be up.
After assembling the so-called "Dream Team" of the NFL during the offseason, gaining big name players in Asomugha, Smith and Young, and returning vets in Vick and company, this was set to be the year of the Eagle.
But in typical dream team fashion (Miami Heat anyone?), the team couldn't live up to the hype. Philly's in third in the NFC East, and are all but done for the season. They have the opportunity to play playoff dream spoiler against the Jets and Giants, but postseason is not in the team's future.
As for Reid, let this sink in: Philadelphia fans were never known as the friendliest, but they stand by their team. Last week, Eagles fans chanted "Fire Reed" at Lincoln Financial Field as the Patriots romped over the Birds.
Chances Reed Gets Fired: 4 Snowballs Tossed at Santa out of 5
Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins, 4-7
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Shanahan's group is sitting in the bottom of the NFC East, but unlike his coaching counterparts who have equal or better records in the division, the two-time Super Bowl champion coach isn't going anywhere.
See, those teams in Philly and New York have guys named Vick, Young and Manning taking snaps. Washington has Rex Grossman. The fallback option after the Donovan McNabb experiment went south last year. Shanahan has little talent to work with in the nation's capital, and as such, doesn't deserve blame for the team's performance.
His squad is probably going to take fourth place in the East uncontested, but Shanahan is staying.
Chances Shanahan Gets Fired: 0 Failed Conditioning Tests out of 5
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers, 11-0
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The defending Super Bowl champion coach, who has led his team to an undefeated season so far, and has a good chance of running the table?
Chances McCarthy Gets Fired: Less Than 0 Cheeseheads out of 5
Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions, 7-4
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The Lions have been one of the NFL's greatest surprises this season, only rivaled by the 49ers and that Harbaugh brother. (Is Handshake-Gate still relevant? Don't care. I'm milking it dry.)
Since its 5-0 start, Detroit has cooled off a little bit, dropping four of their last six. Still, the teams they lost to are part of the upper echelon in the league.
Football is a laughing-stock no longer in Detroit, in part due to Schwartz' leadership. Lions fans, look forward to years of success to come.
Chances Schwartz Gets Fired: 0 Ndamukong Suh Stomps out of 5
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears, 7-4
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The NFC North has put up a strong coaching resume this season.
The Packers have the division locked up, and both the Lions and Bears are in the fight for the two wild card spots.
Lovie Smith has the ground game working with Matt Forte, and has built up a formidable run D. The only thing preventing this team from going places is the current absence of a QB. If Chicago makes the playoffs with Caleb Hanie taking snaps, don't expect a long run.
Regardless, Lovie rounds off the top three North teams, and like his counterparts in Green Bay and Detroit, is staying put for the time being.
Chances Smith Gets Fired: 0 Devon Hester Return TDs out of 5
Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings, 2-9
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As bad as the Vikings are, a change in head coaches is not in the cards.
The team is one year removed from the firing of Brad Childress, which threw Frazier into the coaching position with six games left to go in 2010. He's 5-12 in his two years in the headset, but what was to be expected of a team who is relying on Christian Ponder to magically evolve into a team leader in his rookie year?
Yes, yes, he has Peterson at his disposal, but not even A.P.A.D could help this team out of the basement in the North.
This team needs a quality quarterback, and whether that means hoping Ponder pans out or picking up a vet in the offseason is to be decided. But Frazier is safe—for now.
Chances Frazier Gets Fired: 0 Collapsing Metrodomes out of 5
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints, 8-3
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What does this picture show about Saints coach Sean Payton?
Not only can he lead his team to victory, he can do it on crutches. It shows dedication that he follows the action, hopping to the line of scrimmage every play.
That's good enough to keep him in his position regardless of record. But the fact the Saints have possession of first place in the South doesn't hurt either.
Chances Payton Gets Fired: 0 Torn MCLs out of 5
Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons, 7-4
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Smith has had success in his four years on the Falcon sideline.
Going 40-19 in regular season games, Smith has shown he knows how to win to get to the postseason. Winning once he gets there is another story.
The Falcons are 0-2 under Smith's reign in the playoffs, losing to the eventual Super Bowl losing Arizona Cardinals in '08 and the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in '10.
Whether Mike gets the opportunity to erase his 0-fer comes down to the Falcons play down the stretch. They hold the final playoff spot over Detroit as it stands, but a lot could change in the last five weeks of play.
Either way, Smith is staying put.
Chances Smith Gets Fired: 0 Failed 4th Down Conversions In OT out of 5
Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-7
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Talk about a disappointing season.
The Bucs finished third in the South last year with a 10-6 record. The effort to follow up on that season has fallen short, as Tampa is 4-7 and on a five-game losing streak.
Is it possible Morris gets the boot in his third season? Anything's possible. Is it likely? Not at all.
Chances Morris Gets Fired: 1 JASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSH Freeman out of 5
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, 3-8
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Has there been a more entertaining team to watch lose this year than Carolina?
Cam Newton has made every game this year a thrill, even if the team's three wins came against squads a combined 7-26.
Ron Rivera's in the position to make this team relevant again, something that hasn't been said since Jake Delhomme was taking snaps in the early 2000s.
Chances Rivera Gets Fired: 0 Auburn Eligibility Controversies out of 5
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers, 9-2
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Jim Harbaugh knows how to win, and judging by this picture, also knows where his team's logo is located on his cap.
Harbaugh has led a resurrgence in San Francisco following the firing of Mike Singletary last year. A 6-10 disappointment has evolved into a 9-2 surprise which has dominated the pathetic NFC West.
Chances Harbaugh Gets Fired: 0 Rough Handshakes out of 5 (I'm officially retiring all jokes involving handshakes from here on out.)
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, 4-7
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Pete Carroll did what he set out to do last year when he left USC to coach the Seahawks: Get to the playoffs. Albeit it was with a laughably bad 7-9 record that was good enough to win the worst division in football, but it was a playoff berth nonetheless.
And then the impossible happened: They won a playoff game. Against the Saints. In what was supposed to be a blowout.
This team shows few signs of getting ready to turn things around, but Carroll remains in charge.
Chances Carroll Gets Fired: 0 Marshawn Lynch Stiff Arms out of 5
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals, 4-7
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Meanwhile, in Arizona...
The Cards have been in a downfall since Kurt Warner retired at the end of the 2009 campaign. The team has struggled to develop a strong QB, relying on Derek Anderson last year and Kevin Kolb this season.
Whisenhunt needs to turn things around, or he could be looking for a new job. I don't see any movement coming this year, but next season could be make-or-break for Whisenhunt.
Chances Wisenhunt Gets Fired: 1 They Aren't Who We Thought They Were out of 5
Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams, 2-9
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Behold, the worst team in the NFC!
Spagnuolo led the Rams to a surprising 7-9 last year, losing out to the Seahawks on the last week of the season to miss the playoffs. Fronted by Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson, the Rams looked like they were on their way to creating their own version of "How The West Was Won."
But Bradford's been miserable. The only redeeming quality about this team is their eighth-ranked pass defense and a fluke win against New Orleans. A 10-33 record in three seasons does not bode well for a head coach. Better start looking Steve.
Chances Spagnuolo Gets Fired: 4.5 Can't Think of Any Witty Comparisons out of 5
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, 8-3
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Blah, blah, blah, reigning AFC East champions, etc, etc, etc.
Look, I'm a Jets fan, I don't like this guy, he's staying. Moving on.
Chances Belichick Gets Fired: 0 Sleeveless Hoodies out of 5
Rex Ryan, New York Jets, 6-5
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Rexy and the Jets have disappointed this season, to put it lightly.
Every offseason Ryan has predicted a Super Bowl championship in New York. Those promises have been followed up by losses in the AFC Championship, and this year a chance to miss the playoffs entirely.
The Jets destiny is in their own hands, likely needing to win the remainder of their games in order to even get a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy.
Rex's team might not have been able to back up his mouth, but Ryan's staying in New York regardless of this year's results.
Chances Ryan Gets Fired: 0 Bird-Flipping Fingers out of 5
Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills, 5-6
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The Bills got off to a great start this season...And then faded away into third place in the AFC East.
There was a point when the Bills were a part of playoff talks, but now focus has shifted over to the future of the team. After last week's dogfight with the Jets, wideout Stevie Johnson's future in Buffalo was brought into question over his immaturity and tendency to drop easy touchdowns late in games, resulting in ramblings in how God is to blame. But I digress.
Lost in all this is the status of Chan Gailey. It's only his second season in Buffalo, so he's likely staying, but due to the vast number of coaches on this list I've given an zero chance of being fired, I'll go out on a limb and give the smallest possibility.
Chances Gailey Gets Fired: 0.5 "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..." Tweets out of 5
Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins, 3-8
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Pack the bags, Tony. You're leaving town.
With only one playoff berth in four years, Sparano has struggled to get the Dolphins on the right foot. (Flipper?) A consistent quarterback is nowhere to be found in the city of Miami, the defense is inconsistent, and the team is regressing towards 2007, the 1-17 year.
I'll give Sparano some chance of staying, because the absence of any true talent in Miami makes his job a tad harder. And then there's the fact that firing rumors flew around last year too, yet Tony was still on the sideline for 2011.
Chances Sparano Gets Fired: 4.5 "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" out of 5
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens, 8-3
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As has become commonplace in the AFC North, the Ravens and Steelers are fighting for the top spot.
Harbaugh has led his Baltimore squad to the playoffs in all three years he's been there, and signs are pointing for No. 4, barring an end-of-year collapse.
The only blemish on his resume this year is the play against bad teams. Baltimore's three losses came to Tennessee, Seattle and Jacksonville, a combined 13-20. They can sweep the Steelers and hold off the Niners, but the expected wins have become traps.
Are the losses enough to start firing rumors? Of course not. As long as they don't prevent a Baltimore playoff berth.
Chances Harbaugh Gets Fired: 0 Insert Witty Comments Here out of 5
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-3
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Much like rival Harbaugh, a Tomlin-led Steeler team has become a staple of the playoffs.
Only missing the postseason once in his four years of coaching, the Steelers are poised to start yet another run at the Lombardi trophy.
At this point, they could still walk away with the North in their grasp, as long as Baltimore loses trap games (Looking at you Cleveland and Indy). Even if they finish second, a wild card berth is waiting for the Steelers. Which means Tomlin is staying in the Steel City.
Chances Tomlin Is Fired: 0 "Coolest Timeouts In The NFL" out of 5
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals, 7-4
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Oh, how a season can change a lot.
Heading into Week 1, the Bengals were set to be the worst team in the NFL. No Carson Palmer. No big name targets. A questionable Cedric Benson. Last place in the North was all but locked up.
Then Andy Dalton happened. The second-round draft pick connecting with first-rounder A.J. Green in the end zone six times this season has saved Lewis his job in Cincinnati. For now.
Chances Lewis Gets Fired: 0 Red Rockets, Yum out of 5.
Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns, 4-7
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Is it really any surprise that Cleveland is again at the bottom of the North?
The team hasn't had a winning season since 2007, and hasn't been in the playoffs since 2002.
Shurmur can't be to blame for the team's bad play, especially in his first season on the job. Give him at least two years before shipping him off a la Eric Mangini.
Chances Shurmur Gets Fired: 0 Madden Curses Out Of 5. (Credits to Justin Ellis for this one.)
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans, 8-3
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It's finally happening.
After years of playing catchup with the Colts, the Texans are going to win the AFC South.
Never mind the fact Peyton Manning hasn't taken a snap all year.
Never mind the fact that the Texans no longer have a first or second string quarterback.
Never mind the—wait, what?
The Texans lost both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, forcing the rumors of Favre-mania coming to Texas, and the much more welcomed signing of Jake Delhomme.
So scratch that part about winning the South. For all we know, Delhomme could be Delhomme and throw INTs aplenty, causing the Texans to fall behind the Titans.
But that's the worst case scenario...Right?
Chances Kubiak Gets Fired: 0 Andre Johnson-Cortland Finnegan Brawls out of 5
Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans, 6-5
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First year guy gets a bye.
Regardless of how this year turns out, Munchak's staying put. If things fall into place, the Titans could even sneak in to the playoffs, getting his coaching career in Tennessee off on the right foot.
Chances Munchak Gets Fired: 0 Quality Chris Johnson Games out of 5
VACANT, Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-8
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Can't fire a coach who doesn't exist!
Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts, 0-11
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Any other coach gets off to an 0-11 start, they're sent packing.
Caldwell's staying in Indy for the sheer fact that Peyton has been injured all year. His absence has shown how much this team really needs him, which should make the NFL draft interesting since the Colts all but have the first pick locked up.
Chances Caldwell Gets Fired: 0 Suck for Luck Campaigns out of 5
Hue Jackson, Oakland Raiders, 7-4
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The Raiders are in first place in the AFC West. Yes, Seabastian Janikowski is more responsible for this than the rest of the team, but first place is first place.
What seemed like a cakewalk early will turn into a brawl for the crown, as the Tebow-led Broncos make a resurgence and aim for the playoffs. Should a collapse happen, Jackson's still in the first year of his contract, so a firing does not seem likely.
Chances Jackson Gets Fired: 0 Record-Tying Field Goals out of 5
John Fox, Denver Broncos, 6-5
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ALL HAIL TEBOW.
Somehow, some way, Tebow Time is getting things done in Denver. It's seems improbable, impossible even, but a guy throwing eight completions a game is leading comebacks like a certain Bronco legend.
Okay, not quite like Elway.
But give John Fox credit for taking a sinking ship with captain Orton at the helm and fixing it with the man, the myth, the legend, Tebow.
Chances Fox Gets Fired: 0 Tebowing Tebows out of 5
Todd Haley, Kansas City Cheifs, 4-7
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Haley's team has been a wreck all season marred by injury.
QB Matt Cassel is out for the season. RB Jamaal Charles suffered the same fate. Numerous other injuries have set this team back.
A coach can't control his players getting hurt, but Haley's been thrown into the hot seat. I'll give him some chance of survival due to the fact that injuries are beyond his control.
Chances Haley Gets Fired: 4 Seas of Red out of 5
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers, 4-7
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Fitting how the coach most likely to get fired is the last on the list.
Unlike most of the "bad" teams in the NFL, Turner has weapons at his disposal. Rivers, Matthews, Jackson, Gates. There's no reason this team should have four wins. They should be running away with the West, but instead, they are tied for last with the Chiefs. There's no way to defend keeping Turner in San Diego. The question isn't will the firing news break, it's when.
Chances Turner Gets Fired: 5 Lightning Bolts out of 5