The 2012 NFL regular season has come to an end. For those that advance to the playoffs, congratulations, you get to continue on your march towards the grand prize: The Lombardi Trophy and the legendary status of being a Super Bowl winner. However, for the others, some of you get to pack your bags because the NFL sometimes stands for Not For Long.
Today is Black Monday, the first Monday after the end of the regular season and the day where the pink slips are handed out to coaches and general managers for failing to achieve the only goal in the NFL and of Charlie Sheen: Winning. Today was especially bloody as we saw long-term coaches get canned, as well as some of the newer ones that probably did not get the chance they deserved to see the improvement through.
Regardless, let’s recap to who is looking for new jobs this winter.
Andy Reid is probably the biggest, and yet least surprising name on the list. The Philadelphia Eagles dismissed the 14-year head coach today after a massively disappointing 4-12 season. Despite six division titles, five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance, the record that stands out is his last two years where he was 8-8 in 2011 after collecting superstars such as Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominque Rodgers- Cromartie. The defense was horrid and took even more of a hit after changing coordinators mid-season this year. He also was 1-4 in NFC Championship games and the Philly faithful won’t forget that. He knew this was coming and I’m sure he will welcome the change. It has been a rough few years as he had a myriad of family issues in Philadelphia that came to a head when his son was found dead at the Eagles training camp. He already is trying to inquire about coaching openings and building a staff so he should get right on his feet. I do think Philadelphia will miss him because his teams always makes runs at the division or the playoffs but after the last two years, it was time to move on.
On the somewhat surprising front, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears was also let go just as his team was eliminated after the Minnesota Vikings victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. After nine years with the Bears, he made the Super Bowl once in 2006 losing to Peyton Manning’s Colts. Again, a solid coach with a good record (81-63 with the Bears) but the collapses of recent years and the offensive struggles did him in. Last year, the Bears started out 7-3 before going 1-5 the rest of the way and this year started 7-1 before going 3-5 the down the stretch and missing the playoffs again. The end of the year consistency has not been there and despite having Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte the offense has ranked 2nd to last in yards per game since being hired as head coach. Something had to change, especially with the NFC North offenses being powered by Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson. They needed people to keep up with the vaunted defenses he fielded during his tenure. Again, he’ll definitely find work again, if anything as a D-Coordinator because he always employs great defenses dating back to his times with Tampa Bay and St. Louis.
In Kansas City, after locking up the 1st pick yesterday after getting thrashed by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Romeo Crennel was let go by the Chiefs. Again, no shock, but surprisingly GM Scott Pioli remains employed and most definitely, it’s the personnel that did in the Chiefs, not just the coaching. The reverse actually happened in New York when the Jets let go of GM Mike Tannenbaum and kept coach Rex Ryan. Again, personnel depth and the Tim Tebow trade probably destroyed Tannenbaum’s chances to redeem himself for 2013.
In San Diego, Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith finally got canned after constant disappointment in their organization. Watching Philip Rivers regress and the drafting of LT replacements go south made the decision easy for the Chargers brass. I still think A.J. Smith should’ve been fired years ago after the way he handled LaDainian Tomlinson’s exit from the Chargers, and getting rid of Drew Brees. Plus getting rid of Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season was pretty stupid, especially since the reason was because they had a ‘dysfunctional relationship’.
In other news, the Cleveland Browns got rid of coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert. New ownership took over so they just wanted their own people to take over and start fresh considering the ridicule the franchise gets nowadays. Shurmur has a great offensive mind so it will interesting where he ends up because of the job he did to help Sam Bradford (before he regressed). The Buffalo Bills also got rid of Chan Gailey after three losing seasons so that comes as no shock. With the Bills not making the playoffs since 1999, they carry the longest playoff drought in the league. The $100 million dollar signing of Mario Williams signing didn’t help the expectations as well so he had to go.
For now, the Arizona Cardinals end the red slip list with the firing of their coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves. Despite making the Super Bowl in 2009, the team could not recover from the Kurt Warner retirement and have been languishing in the bottom ever since despite having Larry Fitzgerald. The GM Graves didn’t help things by trading to get Kevin Kolb and handing him a $63 million dollar contract. Also getting destroyed 58-0 by the division rival Seattle Seahawks didn’t help keep the spotlight off their ineptitude.
So that’s the list so far, I guess we’ll see if we add more names to the list. Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers are probably on the clock as we speak…