LOS ANGELES, December 31, 2012 — Welcome to the annual National Football League coaching carousel, where the message is “Happy New Year, you’re fired.” As former (fired) coach Jerry Glanville remarked, “This is the NFL, which stands for Not For Long.”
Here are rules for NFL owners.
1) Do not ever fire a coach after a winning season.
2) Do not fire a coach after a playoff season or division championship.
3) If it is a close call, give the coach another year.
4) The more past successes had, the more time deserved.
5) Do not fire a coach unless there are virtually guaranteed better alternatives.
Here were the Black Monday predictions and what should have happened.
This year, plenty happened.
Arizona Cardinals: Coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves were fired.
Analysis: Right decision, not enough. Arizona started 4-0 and finished 1-11. The 2008 Super Bowl team only went 9-7. The Cardinals have been awful for 125 years. That falls on terrible owner Bill Bidwill, who should fire himself.
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey and his entire staff were fired.
Analysis: Right decision. Ralph Wilson’s Bills have the longest playoff drought since 1999. Chan Gailey failed in Dallas. GM Buddy Nix was retained, appropriately giving him time.
Chicago Bears: Coach Lovie Smith was fired.
Analysis: Bad decision, bad timing. Smith is a good, not great coach. His 2006 Super Bowl team was unremarkable. His teams overachieved, and 7-1 this year was a mirage. They were never that good. Yet firing a coach after going 10-6 is wrong.
Cleveland Browns: Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert were fired. President Walrus Mike Holmgren hired them, and he was fired last month.
Analysis: Right decision. The Browns have been awful for fifty years. New owner Jimmy Haslam has every right to bring in his people.
Kansas City Chiefs: Coach Romeo Crennel was fired. As of now GM Scott Pioli remains.
Analysis: Right decision, not enough. One could justify retaining Crennel and firing Piolo. Crennel was saddled with Matt Cassel. 2-14 is unacceptable, and Crennel lost previously with Cleveland. Owner Clark Hunt has the next coach reporting to him, not the GM.
Philadelphia Eagles: Coach Walrus Lite Andy Reid was fired.
Analysis: Terrible, awful, mind-boggingly stupid decision. After 14 seasons, 9 playoff appearances, 5 NFC Title Games, and a Super Bowl appearance, Reid is the winningest coach in Eagles history. Owner Jeffrey Lurie should have done what Seattle did with Holmgren. Take personnel decisions from Reid and have him just coach. Classy to the end, Reid deserved better. Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh had his resignation refused. Reid deserved a contract extension and orders to turn it around.
San Diego Chargers: Coach Norveleous Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith were fired.
Analysis: Absolutely the right decision. Turner failed as a head coach in Washington, Oakland, and San Diego. Like retreads Dave Wannstedt and Ray Rhodes, Turner should remain a coordinator. Turner inherited a 14-2 team from Marty Schottenheimer and ruined it.
New Orleans Saints: Interim Coach Joe Vitt has ended his interim term.
Analysis: This does “not count.” Sean Payton was suspended one year for Bountygate. Vitt was a caretaker. Payton returns with a contract extension.
Tennessee Titans: Nobody fired.
Analysis: Right decision. Mike Munchak took a 9-7 Titans team to the playoffs last year but they regressed this year. Owner Bud Adams will demand staff changes, and Munchak will comply. Yet this close call means Munchak deserves another year to improve.
New York Jets: GM Mike Tannenbaum was fired, Head Coach Rex Ryan was retained.
Analysis: Absolutely the right decision all around. Owner Woody Johnson gave Ryan total power and responsibility. He got the Jets to the AFC Title Game in his first two seasons. Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterback Mike Sanchez must go.
Jacksonville Jaguars: GM Gene Smith was fired, but Coach Mike Mularkey was not.
Analysis: Bad decision, not far enough. Relatively new Owner Shad Khan should clean house. Mike Mularkey failed in Buffalo and went 2-14 in Jacksonville. Blaine Gabbert has not panned out.
Oakland Raiders: Assistant Coaches were fired, but Head Coach Dennis Allen appears safe.
Analysis: Awful decision. Either Owner Mark Davis or GM Reggie McKenzie must fire Allen. This is not a close call. The Raiders began 3-4 and finished 1-8, with 3 of 4 wins against teams finishing 2-14. The losses were mostly by double digits. The Raiders are not competitive, and far better coaches abound. Allen inherited an 8-8 team with talent from Hue Jackson and plummeted downhill. McKenzie needs time to draft players, but Allen had zero head coaching experience before 2012 and it showed. Firing Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp was appropriate due to terrible play-calling.
Dallas Cowboys: Nobody has been fired.
Analysis: Right decision. Owner Jerry Jones often overreacts, but patience is appropriate this time. Coach Jason Garrett is a close call. The last two seasons Dallas lost Week 17 games to miss the playoffs. Close calls deserve another year. Fans want Jerry Jones to fire the GM, who also happens to be Jerry Jones. That will never happen. Tony Romo is an unfairly maligned quarterback. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards. This talented team should not be blown up.
Carolina Panthers: As of now nobody has been fired.
Analysis: Right decision. Ron Rivera saw his team start terribly last year and finish strong. This year they started 2-8 but finished 5-1. Owner Jerry Richardson will meet with Rivera, but quarterback Cam Newton was sensational down the stretch. Rivera deserves another year to show progress.
Detroit Lions: Nobody was fired.
Analysis: Absolutely the right decision. The Ford family gets much wrong, but they should leave Coach Jim Schwartz alone. He took an 0-16 team in three years to 10-6, although this year they lost their last eight to go 4-12. They fought hard to the end, and Schwartz deserves time to turn it back around and show 2011 was not a fluke.
Any owner wanting Andy Reid or Jon Gruden should act immediately since they will be the hottest big names available. The Raider Nation still loves Gruden. The Black Hole would welcome him with arms extended.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” When not watching football, his only other hobby is Republican, Jewish women. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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