Less than 24 hours after the NFL closed the books on another regular season, the coaching carousel gets revved back up as teams immediately start handing out pink slips to the men in charge of underachieving clubs.
Who got canned, who stayed and who is lucky to still have a job?
Philadelphia Eagles Fire Andy Reid: The Eagles broke ties with Andy Reid on Monday after 14 seasons as Philadelphia’s head man in charge.
Andy Reid was 130-93-1 over that stretch but was ultimately unable to bring a Lombardi trophy to Philly. The “City of Brotherly Love” was not so cordial to Reid at times as the coach routinely found himself having to wriggle his way off the hot seat amidst fans calling for his job, despite the Eagles making the playoffs nine times where they played in five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
In a statement, owner Jeffrey Lurie said, "Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come. But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Coach Reid leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future."
There has been no decision made on the future of quarterback Michael Vick, however, numerous reports throughout the year had speculated the futures of Vick and Andy Reid would be inexorably linked this season.
Lovie Smith Fired as Chicago Bears’ Head Coach: Despite having a defense which led the league in takeaways, two starting Pro Bowl cornerbacks, a 1,000+ yard running back and a Pro Bowl wide receiver who caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns, the Chicago Bears missed out on the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons under Lovie Smith.
The Bears started 7-1 but finished just 3-5 over their final eight games and lost a postseason berth to a tie-breaker with the Minnesota Vikings. Although the Bears consistently had one of the top defensives in the league under Smith, many cite his lack of attention to the offensive side of the ball as the reason for his ultimate downfall in Chicago.
The Bears ranked 28th in the NFL in total offense in 2012 and have ranked no better than 23rd over the last six seasons.
Jets' GM Mike Tannenbaum Fired, Rex Ryan Safe: Even though it was Rex Ryan who completely mismanaged the quarterback situation in New York, it is the general manager who gets to be the scapegoat this time.
Perhaps the Jets have decided to roll up this entire season and place the blame exclusively on the shoulders of Tim Tebow and the man who brought him to the Big Apple.
The Jets are 57-55 with two AFC Championship appearances with Tannenbaum as the GM. Although, after trading for Tim Tebow and giving Mark Sanchez an overpriced contract extension, which the Jets will still be forced to suffer through next year, it is easy to understand why Tannenbaum was shown the door.
However, the only explanation I have for Rex Ryan keeping his job is that he must have some scandalous black mail photos of owner Woody Johnson punching a nun or something.
This season makes it two in a row the Jets have missed out on the postseason. Ryan has led the Jets to a 14-18 record over those two campaigns and has shown a complete unwillingness to care what happens on the offensive side of the ball. "I believe that he [Ryan] has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team," owner Woody Johnson said with a straight face.
Kansas City Chiefs Fire Head Coach Romeo Crennel: After valiantly leading the Kansas City Chiefs to the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft – on the strength of their league worst 2-14 record – head coach Romeo Crennel was let go on Monday.
Crennel was brought in as the defensive coordinator in 2010, but was promoted to head coach after Todd Hailey was fired late last season. Despite his 28-55 record as a head coach, Crennel was said to be very popular with players, as Chiefs’ defensive tackle Shaun Smith said, “That's my guy. Everybody knows that. That's not only my coach, that's my role model. My father figure. We don't just talk football, we talk life."
Still, the writing may have been on the wall for their “commander-in-‘Chiefs’” after KC finished with the worst points per game mark (13.2) despite having Jamaal Charles rush for a career best, 1,509 yards. Along with Charles, the Chiefs will send four other players to the Pro Bowl from a team who finished dead last in football.
“I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement. "I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Chiefs. The entire football operation will remain under review and there may be additional changes to come."
Buffalo Bills Fire Head Coach Chan Gailey: The Buffalo Bills ended the 2012 season with a record of 6-10, making Chan Gailey exit Buffalo with a three-year mark of 16-32. Gailey was the sixth coach the Bills have tried since Marv Levy retired in 1998, but Buffalo has been unable to make the postseason for 13th straight years (longest active streak).
"I understand this is a business. We didn't get the job done," Gailey said. "I've been called two other times to get things turned around, was able to do it. We weren't able to get this one done soon enough and I understand that completely."
Cleveland Browns Fire Head Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert: Apparently the Browns have yet to learn that even Tony Stewart isn’t going to be winning the race if he’s sitting behind the wheel of a 1985 Ford Pinto.
Cleveland parted ways with both their head coach and their general manager on Monday after a disappointing 5-11 season. The Browns were hopeful after drafting rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson, but were unable to make the kind of immediate impact that others in their rookie class were.
“We feel very good about this opportunity here," new owner Jimmy Haslam said. "We think we have a good young team in place. As you have all taught me, this is a great football town. We think the person that can come in here and make the Cleveland Browns a winner will be recognized as one of the great coaches of all time and will be beloved in this area. So, I think we're confident that this is a good situation. We're not going to worry about who else is out there looking for a coach. We have our people in mind and we're going to work hard to bring the right person to Cleveland."
Pat Shurmur was the Browns’ fifth head coach since 1999.
San Diego Chargers Part Ways with Head Coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith: Norv Turner is no stranger to the hot seat as the embattled head coach spent much of his tenure with the Chargers firmly ensconced there. After seven seasons with San Diego, Turner was finally let go on Monday after posting a 24-24 record over the last three seasons with zero playoff appearances.
"I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day," team president Dean Spanos said. "Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal."
Turner had a career record of 55-40 with the Chargers, but was unable to duplicate the early success he achieved as the head man in San Diego. He has a record of 114-122-1 over his entire NFL head coaching career.
For A.J. Smith, his legacy in San Diego will forever be tied to the fact he drafted Eli Manning in 2004, but was unable to convince him to sign and was then forced to trade his to New York for Philip Rivers, who he ultimately chose over Drew Brees.