Ten NFL Head Coaches Who Are On the Hot Seat
Jack Del Rio Was a 2011 Hot Seat Victim
hot seat: n. 1. Slang The electric chair. 2. Informal A position in which one is subjected to extreme stress or discomfort, as by excessive criticism.
Nobody wants to be on either of those, but in the case of an NFL head coach, option number 1 might seem like the more favorable place to be.
Every season the discussion begins around this time as to which head coaches will find themselves with their backsides being grilled on their office chairs.
It’s not always a losing record that can put a coach in a precarious position of employment. The expectations of owners, and fans, can weigh heavily into who eventually becomes a garnish for the sports journalists cocktail parties.
It’s not always the coach who is to blame for the failures of a team, but in the end, the head coach has the ultimate responsibility. When players, assistant coaches, coordinators and others have all been replaced, the fall almost always lands squarely on the head coach next.
The thing any owner has to consider before firing a head coach is, who is available that would be an improvement to our current coach? It’s this question that has undeniably kept many a failing coach in his position for several seasons longer than he should have been there.
Player’s coaches are replaced by disciplinarians, and vice versa. Offensive geniuses give way to defensive gurus, and likewise in reverse. Wherever the perceived weakness lies is where the focus is given in a new hire.
So without further adieu, here is a list of the ten most likely candidates to be replaced by – or even before – season’s end, and some of the names on the list could be surprising.
Ken Whisenhunt - Arizona Cardinals
Whisenhunt may seem like one of the surprises on this list, but now that Arizona Cardinals fans have had a taste of success, they are hungry for more. The Cardinals started off the season 4-0, but there are still few who believe that either quarterback Kevin Kolb or John Skelton can lead this team back to the Super Bowl. If the Cardinals falter again, Whisenhunt may find his days numbered in the desert.
Andy Reid - Philadelphia Eagles
Andy Reid has has more overall success than any other coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, but his inability to get this team the championship trophy may end up costing him. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said before the season began that 8-8 wasn't going to be good enough this year, but the fact is that even a playoff appearance may not be good enough to save Reid's job. The Eagles need to make an appearance in the NFC Championship game at the very least for Reid to feel completely safe.
Lovie Smith - Chicago Bears
Love Smith and his job are all tied to the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler. When Cutler plays the way he is capable of playing (and stays healthy) the Bears are one of the toughest teams in the NFL. But with Smith's track record in the past, and ownerships hunger for the Bears first title since 1985, he may be on a short leash. If Cutler has another sideline blowup with a coach, or comes under question again, it could cost Smith his job.
Norv Turner - San Diego Chargers
For many San Diego Chargers fans, the firing of Norv Turner is a long time coming. The Chargers have become synonymous with slow starts to the season, and underachieving by the time January rolls around. With one of the top quarterbacks in the league, they still have been unable to even get to an AFC Championship game under Turner. This could be a "Super Bowl or Bust" year for Turner to keep his job in sunny San Diego.
Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals
It's amazing to some that Marvin Lewis has been able to last this long as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals seasons have pop-corned from good to bad year after year with Lewis at the helm. From all outward appearances, Lewis would seem to have the full support of ownership, but it seems unlikely that another sub-par season will end up with Lewis keeping his job...even in Cincinnati.
Ron Rivera - Carolina Panthers
If you're the head coach of an NFL team sporting an overall number one pick at quarterback, and that quarterback is Cam Newton, there aren't going to be many losing seasons you will get away with. The Carolina Panthers had what many believed to be a step-up season in 2011, but so far this year it looks as if they have regressed. Even if the Panthers finish above .500 - which seems unlikely at this point - Rivera may end up getting the axe. It wouldn't be surprising to see ownership treat Newton very similarly to the way Dwight Howard was in Orlando. A sure sign of trouble.
Chan Gailey - Buffalo Bills
Chan Gailey is facing nearly insurmountable odds to keep his job in Buffalo. Ownership spent a ton of money in the off-season to beef up the roster, brought in some marquee names, and he's a former Dallas Cowboys coach. All ingredients for "You're FIRED!" if the Bills don't turn this season around in a hurry. Gailey should just go ahead and spruce up that resume now.
Jim Schwartz - Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have a ton of playmakers on both sides of the ball, and 2011 showed what can happen when they all start to play well at once. So far, 2012 is an example of what happens when they don't. The question is, were they winning in spite of Jim Schwartz, or are they losing because of him. Either way, it looks like the honeymoon may be over in Detroit for Schwartz unless the Lions can pull a Super Bowl rabbit out of the hat, or get bailed out by President Obama. Either one seems unlikely.
Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys
If Jason Garrett survives this season intact as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, it will be a good ol' fashioned Christmas miracle. They say a team takes on the identity of the head coach, and so far the Cowboys are just that. Plain, unemotional, stoic, and not very entertaining. The only question that remains in Dallas is how many coaches are going to meet their eventual demise because the failures of quarterback Tony Romo are blamed on them. The mythical sideline firing could be in Garrett's future if owner/GM Jerry Jones feels embarrassed on national television one more time.
Rex Ryan - New York Jets
Rex Ryan and his viral video-worthy press conferences aren't going to save his job this year. The Jets are a complete and utter abomination given the type of team Rex says he wants to coach. "Ground and pound" is supposed to be a clock controlling running game countered by a stifling defense. The Jets have neither. Not even Tim Tebow will be able to bargain for Ryan's job to be spared, and he should be thankful for that. But never fear Jets fans...Urban Meyer is sure to get bored after one season at Ohio State. The Meyer-Tebow reunion tour in New York begins!