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Hot Seat for NFL Coaches – Take a Number
Posted By Christopher Rowe On Nov 3 2010 @ 4:04 pm In NFL | 14 Comments
At midseason of 2010, it appears that a few realities have become apparent. First off, the Dallas Cowboys are not hosting the Super Bowl in their new palatial stadium. Next, the race for first pick in the 2011 Draft is more hotly contested than we expected. Most importantly, there are a lot of coaches on the hot seat and many of them could be applying for unemployment benefits by season’s end. The good news for these coaches is they’ve already been paid a lot so they can use their savings. The bad news is that there are only 32 NFL Head Coaching jobs. Supposedly they could go to the United Football League or the Arena Football League rather than working the drive thru window at Flippy Burger.
I can’t recall there ever being so large a class of NFL Head Coaches in danger of losing their jobs in one year. While doom looms on the horizon for these soon-to-be ex-Head Coaches, there are some excellent opportunities for experienced coaches waiting in the wings. NFL owners have the option of paying for accomplished Super Bowl coaches like Cowher and Gruden or they can save money by trying to find the next hot assistant – a la Josh McDaniels, Ken Whisenhunt or Rex Ryan. So which coaches are on the hot seat?
Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings
Childress appears to be asleep at the switch, blaming everyone in the organization for his mismanagement of the offense, game strategy, personnel and team behavior. He was brought on board to restore order, instill a level of professionalism and teach this team how to win. Epic fail on all three counts, three strikes and you’re out!
Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Wade Phillips has been an extremely successful defensive coordinator but he has never been an effective head coach. When Jerry Jones brought Phillips in, he was tagged as a player’s coach. That means he is not a stickler for discipline and is very much the diametrical opposite of say a Bill Parcells control freak type. The result:
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
Poor Lovie Smith. This man took over the Chicago Bears in 2004 and has been fighting a losing battle ever since Day One. 56-47 overall, but just 3 winning seasons. How this team got to Super Bowl XLI is beyond me but there is no danger of that happening anytime soon. Some of the reasons:
Who else could be on Death Row?… Childress… Wade Phillips… Lovie Smith… then Possibility of Parole includes:
So all of this being said… who is on the horizon to come in and rebuild some of these struggling franchises? Well it is safe to say that Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, Jimmy Johnson and Jim Mora, Sr. (playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Are you talking about PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS?]) are retired for good. Pete Carroll has made the jump back from college to the NFL (and is one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL) while Mike Shanahan wishes he hadn’t come out of retirement to take the job in Washington. There’s more backstabbing and back-door politics with the Redskins than in Congress.
So who is out there for owners to hire? College coaches? Veterans? Coordinators?
1.Jon Gruden, MNF…Gruden is considered the best X and O coach on the market, intense disciplinarian and exemplary game manager not to mention accomplished talent evaluator and emotional motivator. 11 years, 95-81 with Oakland and Tampa Bay plus a Lombardi trophy in 2002. Will he leave Monday Night Football to take on an NFL team? Bet on “Chuckie” to be back on the sidelines somwhere (above the high school ranks) in 2011!
Target teams include Dallas, Minnesota, Carolina but tempting to have him return to Oakland. Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
2. Bill Cowher, CBS… Cowher has been mentioned for every coaching vacancy in the past three years and rightfully so. He is hands down the most accomplished coaching candidate because he has 2 Super Bowl championships, 15 years in Pittsburgh, 149-90 and only 3 losing seasons. Any team would be happy to instill some Cowher Power into their franchise but they will have to pay through the nose to wrest him out of that comfy chair in CBS Studios. Highest bidder wins. Cowhers has hinted at his own short list of franchises.
Target teams: All 32 NFL franchises Prediction: Carolina on my mind.
And then… there are the rest:
Brian Billick… FOX analyst…who may or may not want to get back into coaching Target teams: Minnesota, Chicago, Oakland, Buffalo, Carolina, NY Giants, Cleveland, SF, Jacksonville Prediction: Jacksonville while team relocates to Los Angeles in 2012. San Diego is also an option.
Steve Mariucci, NFL Network and looks very comfortable on the set in Hollywood… Target teams: Minnesota, Chicago, Oakland, Buffalo, Carolina, NY Giants, Cleveland, Jacksonville Prediction: New York Football Giants
Denny Green – UFL… he’s in the UFL for a reason. “You wanna crown ‘em, go ahead and crown ‘em!” Maybe Denny gets a Burger King sponsorship deal?
Dick Vermeil, Marv Levy, Mike Ditka… stick to the Coors Light commercials. Living legends don’t come out of retirement a second time… do they?
Jim Fassel - he’s in the UFL because Arena League said “No thanks” (fossil?)
Jim Mora, Jr. – Got shafted a bit by previous NFL work and could be a very appealing candidate in Minnesota or Cleveland but likely to be coordinator before head coach. San Diego would be interesting or Oakland. Prediction: DENVER
Herman Edwards – ESPN… Maybe he will coach again with so many openings he will have the chance…if he wants it? “You play to win the game! ” Target teams Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota. Prediction: Minnesota
Jeff Fisher is the longest-tenured coach in the NFL (dating back to 1995 Houston Oilers) and is the only coach the Titans have ever known. Maybe he decides to leave the cacophony of chaos that is Tennessee to witness the rebirth of the Los Angeles Jaguars? That would leave the Tennessee job open for the likes of Russ Grimm, Jim Mora, Greg Williams, Dom Capers, Mike Zimmer, Josh McDaniels or my dark horse candidate, Al Golden currently of the Temple Owls.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly will be the hot college coach who jumps to the NFL.
Target teams: Minnesota, SF, Oakland, Buffalo, Carolina, NY Giants, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Jacksonville Prediction: Raiders, Bengals or 49ers. My guess is he’d take any NFL job – even the Raiders or Tennessee!
Certainly moves can be made anytime as teams promote their in-house assistants. While that will reduce offseason vacancies, I still predict no less than 7 openings and as many as 10 head coach changes before 2011 - pending the outcome of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
I also predict two franchise relocations by 2012 which would put the Jacksonville Jaguars in Los Angeles and the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. As of the 2010 season, the Jaguars and Bills rank 31st and 30th in ticket prices, respectively; the Bills jumped ahead of Jacksonville after raising prices for the 2010 season. Toronto has hosted Bills games and the market would be a welcome presence both as an established sports city (Maple Leafs  in hockey, CFLArgonauts, the Blue Jays  in baseball, the Raptors  in basketball, the Rock  and the Nationals  in lacrosse and Toronto FC  in soccer) and expanding the NFL’s international flavor.
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