Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Jun 2009

Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?

Today's three-parter: Will any coaches be fired in the middle of the 2009 season? If so, who? And when?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 18 Jun 2009

41 replies , Last at 11 Sep 2009, 11:33am by Sarkar

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Eddo :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:03pm

Candidates, if their team struggles out of the gate:

- Marvin Lewis - probably lucky to still be in Cincinnati.

- Brad Childress - ditto.

- Wade Phillips - with Garrett in the wings, a 3-5 start could be doom for Wade.

- Jim Zorn - Snyder might not tolerate mediocrity for very long.

- Tom Cable - Al Davis might [insert reason here].

6
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:48pm

I'm putting money on the epic fail (for once, this phrase is not used for exageration) in Denver.

The odds of a first year coach getting fired is pretty long, but if things break right (or wrong, depending on your perspective):

-(ongoing) loss of talent in the offseason
- doubt and uncertainty in the lockerroom
- if they lose one of their two easy early games, McD has the potential to completely lose the lockerroom
- brutal schedule thereafter. There is potential for a 10-plus game losing streak
- looking up after a 4-12 or worse season and see Seattle on the clock.

Bowlen has lost his mind. But if their season really goes down the crapper, it's hard to see McD not sharing fates with luminaries like Cameron and Petrino

17
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by ThunderThumbs (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 4:51pm

If that happened, Bowlen would lose his reputation as one of the better owners in the NFL. Bowlen's belief is that McDaniels inherited a mess (or else he wouldn't have fired Shanahan). If you fire someone dealing with a mess after only one draft, that just looks bad, no matter how crappy the coach might turn out to be.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 5:32pm

Bowlen HAD a reputation as a good owner. But it was pretty obviously reflected glory from Elway and Shanahan. His claim to fame was non-interfering in football operations. This off-season he has had his hands on almost all parts of the implosion in Denver from Shanny to McDaniels to the Goodmans to Cutler to Marshall.

In his ownership of the Broncos, Bowlen has hired three head coaches. Two of them are disasters. The previous disaster, Phillips, was quickly shipped off. If the fan discontent grew after the bad offseason manifests itself on the field, McDaniels probably will follow the same fate.

NFL owners' football reputation are very hard to isolate. Even ten years ago there were still many people who thought Al Davis was an astute football mind. Compared to the bottom line, it's also probably a distant second consideration. When Vick was in the slammer and Petrino resigned, Arthur Blank was thought of as a buffoon.

21
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 7:14pm

Well, maybe it wasn't everyone's feeling, but I know that all of the Bronco fans I know (and my Viking fan father) felt certain that Wade Phillips wasn't getting more than a year when he was hired--he was a seat-warmer for Shanahan and we all knew it.

The season was an absolute disaster, though.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 7:24pm

And just to point it out, that's not to say that Phillips was for sure nothing more than a seat-warmer. That's just what we thought at the time (and still think as far as I know).

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Sat, 06/20/2009 - 7:42pm

If Shanahan was Bowlen's guy at the time, why didn't he just hire him then?

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by tripvm :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 1:28pm

Shanahan was still stinging from his Raiders experience and turned down the job. I think Phillips was HC from 1992 - 1994. Shanahan was hired for the 1995 season after the Niners won the Super Bowl with him as OC in 1994.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by tripvm :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 1:29pm

Correction Phillips was HC for only two seasons 93-94.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by jimbohead :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 10:39pm

hey, if McD gets fired, would Nolan become interim coach? *shudders for the broncos*

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Sat, 06/20/2009 - 7:39pm

McDaniels is not getting fired. No way. Bowlen simply can't afford it.

Putting aside Bowlen's considerable ego and the public relations aspect, he literally cannot afford to pay both Shanahan and McDaniels over $9 million a year not to coach. (I'm doing this from memory, so my apologies if I have the salaries wrong; I think Shanny = $7M and Boy Blunder = $2.2M).

So as much as you might look at Josh's Most-Ham-Fisted-Offseason-Ever and think, "Gee, there's a guy who's over-employed", he ain't going nowhere for at least two years. (Unless, of course, McD is replaced by Shanny, thus saving the $7M hair cut, but I don't see that happening).

8
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Joe T. :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 1:12pm

I'm thinking Chilly's fate depends on whether Favre plays or not. If the Vikings are Favre-less, and stink it up, then his head could be on the block. But he won't get the axe with Favre at QB until after the season.

In all honesty, Lewis should have been fired a couple seasons ago. Despite being a defensive guru, he's never had a truly competent defense and relied on the offense to carry them to any success.

I think Zorn gets a full 2nd year from Danny Boy.

24
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 7:29pm

I disagree; even with Favruh, Childress could (deservedly) get the axe. Unless Mr. Wranglers again decides to call his own plays at the line regardless of the sideline call, then Childress' penchant for predictable, vanilla playcalling can and will get him canned.

2
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by VinnyMurphSully (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:04pm

Dick Jauron if performance trumps the owner's dedication to avoiding contract buy-outs.

3
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by VinnyMurphSully (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:08pm

Forgot to add -- by Week 7 if the Bills start off 0-3 in division play again.

4
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by DavidL :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:11pm

Is anyone ever lucky to be in Cincinnati?

5
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Bill Barnwell :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 12:26pm

Otis Smith is not an acceptable answer.

7
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by JasonK :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 1:11pm

Mike Singletary will be fired on November 9, when it is revealed that, after a lackluster defensive effort in the first half against the Titans, he spent halftime urinating in the helmets of all of the team's starters in the front-seven, saying that he wanted them to "get pissed."

9
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Duke :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 2:17pm

My vote is for someone from the AFC West. And honestly, aside from Todd Haley, it could be any of them.

11
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Joe Curwen (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 3:26pm

Yeah, I was surprised that Norm Turner wasn't already mentioned. The Chargers' front office isn't terribly patient and they will fire a coach mid-season if they think a change is needed long term. Ron Rivera is being groomed for the head coaching spot should Norm fail in the first half of the season.

Joe

14
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Joe Curwen (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 3:54pm

Gah, that's Norv Turner.

29
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Marver :: Fri, 06/19/2009 - 6:23am

Chargers haven't fired a head coach midseason since Gilbride in '98. They didn't even fire Mike Riley in the midst of a 1-15 season, or the following 5 win campaign. If they were going to fire Norv midseason, they would have done it last season sitting at 4-8. A.J. Smith has repeatedly said Norv is his guy; there's no way he gets fired midseason.

37
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Chris 1 :: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 10:04pm

They say that AJ Smith loves Norv Turner. Sort of funny coming from the guy that didn't like Marty.

12
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by are-tee :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 3:26pm

My vote is for the Cable guy.

10
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Hari-Kiri Bengal (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 3:20pm

I don't think Marvin will be fired. I think he deserved to be at the end of last season, but, after what looks to be the best draft of his tenure and facing a much easier schedule than last year, I think we'll do better, though that isn't saying much.

And, a dark horse candidate: Jack Del Rio, anyone?

28
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by greybeard :: Fri, 06/19/2009 - 1:21am

How could it be the best draft before the guys played a single down of football?

13
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by tuluse :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 3:51pm

Could McCarthy get canned if the transition to a 3-4 fails?

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by ammek :: Thu, 07/02/2009 - 7:37am

Doubtful that it would happen during the 2009 season, or even after it, unless the offense completely falls to bits too. The new defense probably needs a season and a half before it can be judged properly. Raji and the OLBs will be given time to acclimatize, and the coaches will also wait to see how the secondary shakes out in a more zone-based system.

In any case, the baying hordes in Packerland are calling for Ted Thompson's head, rather than McCarthy's — although presumably, if the GM was canned, the head coach would follow.

15
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Enigma (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 4:22pm

Del Rio is signed through 2012. Wayne Weaver is notoriously cheap. Unless the Jaguars are just pitiful, it's unlikely that Del Rio will be cut loose.

31
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by BigCheese :: Sat, 06/20/2009 - 2:42pm

Josh McDaniels because, after all the strife and head-scratchers, when they look up at the Raiders in the standings, enough will be enough.

Tom Cable because Al Davis' cable will fail during a showing of America's Game, and he will take it out on the Cable Guy.

- Alvaro

16
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Randy :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 4:50pm

If the Skins struggle out of the gate, I think Zorn (along with Campbell) is gone. There were already rumblings at the end of last season, and I wouldn't put it past Snyderatto to make another boneheaded move. It took Snyder 7 years to stop meddling with player personnel decisions, it will probably take longer for him to take his grubby hands off the front office.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Sun, 06/21/2009 - 5:11pm

Number of head coaches fired by Dan Snyder mid-season: 1 (Norv Turner)

19
Since no one specified "in the NFL"...
by Kevin Eleven :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 5:46pm

Here's a list of college coaches that are on the hotseat, and will likely have a poor enough 2009 that will send them packing. In order of likelyhood:

George O'Leary, UCF
Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville
Mark Snyder, Marshall
Bill Lynch, Indiana
Doug Martin, Kent State
Al Groh, Virginia

These coaches need a good 2009 (or at least make progress), and will likely have one. If they disappoint, move them up:

Dan Hawkins, Colorado
Mike Sanford, UNLV
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
Dave Wannstedt, Pitt
Mike Stoops, Arizona
Pat Hill, Fresno State

These seats will be hot a year from now:

Frank Solich, Ohio
Bill Stewart, West Virginia
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M
Bob Toledo, Tulane
Robb Akey, Idaho
Ralph Friedgen, Maryland

20
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by chappy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 6:39pm

Well, I'll take the Price is Right Bid of $1: No coaches will get fired mid-season. It is so rare and just doesn't make sense to do it mid-season. Lane Kiffin was the exception, not the rule. If you want a list of coaches that get fired by seasons end, I think the above posters are on to a good start.

22
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 7:22pm

I agree-probably no mid-season firings. I actually would bet there won't be many coaches fired even after the season (my early, early guesses, without even having done my total record predictions, would be Del Rio, Phillips, Zorn, and Lovie Smith).

25
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 7:36pm

Jim Mora Jr., after he's caught (once again) gazing longingly from Qwest Field towards the Huskies' stadium.

In all honesty, the most likely are probably:

1. Phillips
2. Lewis
3. Childress
4. Jauron

You could add Zorn and Cable to the list, although they haven't had much time to work their mojo, simply because their bosses are nucking futs.

26
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Brad Johnson (not verified) :: Thu, 06/18/2009 - 10:08pm

(1) Brad Childress: Goes first, Without Matt Birk coordinating the offense from center, they get off to a slow start

(2) Gary Kubiak: Goes second, Expectations are higher for the Texxans now that they had an 8-8 season. They'll fall back to 6-10 with the difficult schedule and he'll get fired

(3) Jim Zorn: Goes third, they'll be mediocre (in the NFC) and Snyder will show no patience

(4)Mike Singletary: Goes fourth, because 49ers will be bad (esp. on defense)

Coaches who just make it: Dick Jauron (Bills finish 9-7); Wade Phillips (10-6, WC for Cowboys), Marvin Lewis (8-8, respectable Bengal team); Sean Payton (Needs to back to the playoffs soon, could lead off the list next year)

32
Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 06/20/2009 - 4:16pm

The Texans have been 8-8 back to back seasons - last year wasn't the first. 6-10 could get Kubiak fired at the end of the season, but I wouldn't totally count on it. McNair is not a trigger-happy man, and he really likes Kubiak. There's certainly no way that he'll be fired mid-season (short of getting messed up on crack and exposing himself to McNair's grandchildren): if Capers didn't get canned mid-season in 2005, there's no way in hell Kubiak will in 2009. Apart from anything else, who the hell would replace him? Frank Bush, who's never even been a co-ordinator before this season? Kyle Shanahan, who's not yet 30 and called the plays for the first time in his career in week 17 of 2008? Never going to happen.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by La Fougue (not verified) :: Fri, 06/19/2009 - 9:36am

I'd like to hear the take of raiderjoe on this one.

I would say John Fox and it pains me to say this. They lost tons of depth and Delhomme is not getting younger/better.

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 10:17pm

zorn childress jaron

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Re: Who's The First Coach To Get Fired?
by Sarkar :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:33am

Raiderjoe right on the money, and I think he's even right on the order (of likelihood).

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