NFL Black Monday 2014: Coaches on Hot Seat, Rumors and Firing News

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2014

AP Images

The NFL's 2014 regular season has officially concluded, and multiple coaches have lost their jobs.

On Sunday, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers mutually agreed to part ways. On Monday morning, Rex Ryan was informed of his termination, while the Falcons also announced Mike Smith's firing before Marc Trestman of the Bears was let go.

Continue for updates.


Mike Smith Fired, Thomas Dimitroff Retained

Monday, Dec. 29

Mike Smith has been fired after the Atlanta Falcons finished the season with a record of 6-10, owner Arthur Blank announced:

Blank also stated general manager Thomas Dimitroff would remain with the team and assist in the decision-making process.


Marc Trestman, Phil Emery Fired

Monday, Dec. 29

Following a 5-11 season, the Bears announced the termination of both head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery: 

Following the announcement, Adam Hoge of WGNRadio.com provided a statement from Trestman:


Rex Ryan, John Idzik Fired 

Monday, Dec. 29

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson officially fired both head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik on Monday morning:

After extensive thought and reflection about the current state of our football team, this morning I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 season. Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment. Over the years, Rex brought the Jets a bold confidence and a couple of great postseason runs, which all of us will remember.

I am beginning our search for new football leadership, effective immediately, with guidance and support from respected football experts, including Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, two Super Bowl winners with decades of valuable experience.

We will consider all options to improve the Jets.

Getting the Jets back on track is my top priority, and today’s decisions are important steps towards achieving our goals.


Multiple Coaches on the Hot Seat, Harbaugh Leaves 49ers

Sunday, Dec. 28

One coach (Oakland's Dennis Allen) was fired before Halloween. Another (San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh) has seemingly been planning his next move all season. As for the rest of the guys sitting on the NFL's proverbial hot seat? Following Sunday's games and the end of the regular season, their fates should be answered soon.

As is typically the case, the end of the regular season initiates perhaps the tensest 24-hour span in a coach's life. The NFL's "Black Monday" usually brings a host of pink slips, resignations and the like as front office members attempt to save their own jobs by jettisoning the people on the sidelines.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears were considered the teams likeliest to make quick moves. Oakland has been under the stewardship of interim coach Tony Sparano since firing Allen following a Week 4 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Despite near-constant rumblings, Allen was the only head coach fired midseason in 2014.

After the 49ers defeated the Cardinals, Harbaugh and the 49ers mutually agree to part ways confirmed the team: 

By any objective measure, Harbaugh is one of the best football coaches on the planet. He led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, including a run to the Super Bowl two years ago. San Francisco's record in 2014 is a disappointment, but in most situations, a coach with Harbaugh's track record would be afforded leeway.

Of course, Harbaugh's situation was far from ordinary. Rumors of a power struggle between Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have been simmering since last season, via Peter King of SI.com, and the coach's abrasive style has worn on players. Deion Sanders said on NFL Network in September that 49ers players "want [Harbaugh] out."

The result has been a season-long distraction during which the wildly talented team slowly imploded. San Francisco lost four straight games after a 7-4 start, falling out of the playoff race as speculation on Harbaugh's potential exit increased. Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported Saturday that Harbaugh is expected to fill the vacancy at the University of Michigan.

Ryan had been embattled in a power struggle of his own with general manager John Idzik, but both ended up losing to owner Woody Johnson. Ryan was fired after six seasons and Idzik after two. The Jets finished a miserable 4-12 campaign with a 37-24 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Ryan led New York to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009 and 2010, but his team missed the playoffs the last four years. 

Three years ago, meanwhile, Smith was one possession away from being an NFC champion. Now, he's out of a job after two disappointing campaigns. The Falcons have hired a search firm to assess candidates for a head-coaching vacancy, per an ESPN.com report.

The only thing Trestman has in common with his contemporaries is that he is an NFL head coach. The longtime CFL coach's NFL experiment has largely gone up in flames, as he's compiled a 13-19 record in two seasons. His failure to develop Jay Cutler into a franchise-level quarterback is the most glaring of those failings, especially after Chicago awarded Cutler with a massive contract before this season.

Cutler's status with the organization going forward is also in question, likely to be decided by Trestman's replacement. 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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