The NFL is set to release the new head coaches for each of the 32 teams on Black Monday (January 2nd). The coaching changes are typically a result of poor performance or scandal. Here’s a look at who will likely be fired and how their replacement may perform in 2019.
The “college football coaches most likely to be fired” is a list of the 6 most likely NFL coaches fired after Week 18 on Black Monday.
Since 2000, one to three NFL coaches have been dismissed during the regular season. Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders both lost their positions before Week 18 (although Gruden formally resigned).
On what has become known as NFL Black Monday, once the regular season ends, many more NFL coaches will almost certainly be fired. Here are the (potentially) soon-to-be fired NFL coaches who may be seeking for work on Tuesday, listed by their chance of being dismissed (and not counting interim head coaches Rich Bisaccia or Darrell Bevell).
off the chopping block
Mike McCarthy, the Dallas Cowboys’ second-year head coach, was the leading possibility for the first NFL coach sacked when the 2021 NFL season began. The veteran Green Bay Packers coach was 7/1 to be the first coach fired this season, but after taking Big D to the top of the NFC East with an 11-5 record coming into Week 18, he is now safe with the Cowboys.
While some coaches started the year on this list and also appear below, others, in addition to McCarthy, worked their way off the chopping block in 2021.
Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals and Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals not only got out of their toasty seats, but they’re also in the running for NFL Coach of the Year. That’s how rapidly things in the NFL can change.
That’s excellent news for the coaches listed below. If they make it through Black Monday 2021, nobody knows what 2022 will bring.
6. Houston Texans’ David Culley – one season (4-11 record)
Watching the #Texans game back now: David Culley punting at the 49ers 41, down 17-7 with 6:54 left is mind-boggling.
I’d keep him for a second year, but they are the kinds of actions that will get you fired in a year.
— Jake Asman (@JakeAsman) January 3, 2022
Should David Culley be fired after only one season with the Houston Texans? No.
Is he going to be one of the NFL coaches fired on Monday? Who knows for sure.
Culley, a 65-year-old wide receivers coach at the time, was an unexpected pick to lead the Texans in the offseason of 2021. Who else would agree to take over a club with a tainted ownership group, a former team chaplain in charge of operations, and a franchise quarterback with major legal issues?
All of these issues are still there until the end of 2021, so who will solve them if not Culley? In addition, given the circumstances, Culley has performed well. The club competed hard throughout the season, did a good job of developing late-round rookie quarterback Davis Mills, and won a few games, including significant upsets against the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers.
If for no other reason than the reality that no other outstanding coach would accept the position at this moment, Culley deserves another season. Who knows, however, since it’s still the Houston Texans.
5. Carolina Panthers’ Matt Rhule – two seasons (10-22)
You can’t learn two things about the Carolina Panthers’ ownership, front office, or coaching staff by reading or listening to anything about them. David Tepper, the company’s owner, is a hedge fund manager who specializes in analytics and is very wealthy.
Neither of these things bode well for Matt Rhule, the Panthers’ second-year head coach. According to Football Outsiders, Carolina ranks 30th in weighted DVOA this season. And Rhule is just in the second year of a seven-year, $62 million contract.
The offensive stats are poor, and the contract is much worse, but the first truth may trump the second for the NFL’s wealthiest owner.
Tepper’s vanity could preserve Rhule after backing up the Brinks truck to acquire him two seasons ago (outbidding the New York Giants). The fact that the former Baylor Bears head coach abruptly fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady in December might also play a role.
Right now, it seems that the odds of Rhule being fired on Black Monday are 50/50.
Vic Fangio coached the Denver Broncos for three seasons (19-29)
Vic Fangio will become the 14th coach to have a losing record in his first three seasons since 2000.
From the previous thirteen:
… after the season, 8 of them were sacked…
… four were dismissed during or after the next season, and one was fired the following season.
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 4, 2022
Vic Fangio, the head coach of the Denver Broncos, would normally be towards the top of this list. However, since the offseason in Denver in 2022 will not be typical, it is difficult to forecast Fangio’s future at this time.
The Broncos are for sale, and the NFL wants to find a new owner or group as soon as possible. According to CBS Sports, the new boss/bosses may be in place as early as March.
The veteran defensive coordinator has shown that he is more effective as an assistant than as the head coach. Keeping him on until the team’s sale is completed, on the other hand, allows Peyton Manning and his family — I mean, whomever the next Broncos owner is — the most freedom when they take over.
On Black Monday, Fangio should be one of the NFL coaches sacked, but his team’s murky ownership position may spare his career, if only for a few months.
3. Joe Judge — two seasons with the New York Giants (10-22)
Is Joe Judge truly coming back to the Giants? How did no one get fired on Monday?
— Michael McGarry (@ACPressMcGarry) December 26, 2021
Bill Belichick and Nick Saban disciple Joe Judge was the New York Giants’ consolation prize after failing to get Baylor’s Matt Rhule in 2020.
That, too, hasn’t worked out so well.
The Giants are now in such a disaster as a club that they have slid behind the New York Jets in the pecking order of the city’s tire fire sports franchises. The Daniel Jones experiment didn’t work out. Saquon Barkley is now officially too prone to injury to be a successful NFL running back, and the team may not have a single top-10 talent at any position on the roster.
All of this, along with Judge’s 31.1 percent winning rate and his out-of-control diatribe after the G Men’s most recent defeat, doesn’t bode well for year three of the Joe Judge Era.
The common perception of the Giants’ owners, the Tisch and Mara families, is that they don’t overreact by firing coaches, giving them an opportunity to succeed. However, after only having five coaches in 32 years (1983-2015), the team has had three in the previous six seasons.
On Monday, Judge is expected to be one of the NFL coaches dismissed, bringing the total to four in seven years.
2. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings) – eight seasons as head coach (71-56-1)
If Mike Zimmer and Vic Fangio are both dismissed next week, organizations should go to great lengths to appoint them as head coaches.
— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) January 5, 2022
Mike Zimmer, the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, is by far the most capable and successful coach on this list. In his eight seasons, he has a 55.9% winning percentage and has reached the playoffs three times, including a trip to the NFC Championship Game in 2017.
Even with a competent coach, organizations may sometimes stall, and that’s where the Vikings are at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Zimmer’s team has a 14-18 record in the previous two seasons and has struggled to compete in an NFC North that isn’t quite like the old NFC East of the 1990s.
Kirk Cousins’ deal has one year remaining (and a $45 million cap charge) on it. Before throwing it all up and starting over, owner Zygi Wilf wants to see whether another coach can get more out of Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and a quality defense.
Zimmer deserves to be fired less than any other coach on our list, but no club needs to remove its coach more than the Vikings in a last-ditch effort to extract anything from a talented squad. Zimmer will almost certainly be among the NFL coaches fired this season as a result of this.
1. Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears — four years as head coach (34-30)
(L-R) Matt Nagy, Joe Judge, and Mike Zimmer | Quinn Harris/Getty Images; Quinn Harris/Getty Images; Quinn Harris/Getty Images; Elsa/Getty Images
If Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy isn’t dismissed by the NFL on Monday, the residents of the Windy City will set fire to the city (again).
Nagy is the only coach on this list that has a fervent hate from his native fans. However, the former Andy Reid disciple has a poor rep. He has a winning record (34-30) and two postseason berths in four seasons, both with Mitchell Trubisky and now Justin Fields.
By contrast, “offensive genius” Kyle Shanahan has a (slightly) lower winning percentage in his five seasons in San Francisco (47.5 percent to 53.1%), and he may have also missed out on trading up for a rookie quarterback. No one, however, is asking for his execution.
Nagy has been harmed by a terrible general manager in Ryan Pace, who has traded up twice for quarterbacks in the previous five seasons, as well as the excessive expectations of a large city fan base.
The only bright spot for Nagy, who will almost certainly be fired on Monday, is that Pace will follow him out the door, and the Bears will become someone else’s issue.
Pro Football Reference provided all numbers, while Spotrac provided contract statistics.
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The “youngest coach in nfl” is a statistic that has been used to rank the 6 most likely NFL coaches fired after Week 18 on Black Monday.
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