Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
The NFL is a brutal business. No day exemplifies that more than “Black Monday,” the period immediately following the end of the regular season, when teams cut their losses, namely in the form of underperforming head coaches.
The cull can be widespread: last year, eight teams changed coaches. Some switches have worked better than others: Joe Judge’s dismissal opened the door for Brian Daboll to take over the Giants, and he proceeded to lead New York to a playoff spot in his first year in charge.
On the other end, the Broncos replaced Vic Fangio with Nathaniel Hackett, who couldn’t even last a full season in the Mile High City before getting the boot.
This is a time of great intrigue around the league as the coaching carousel spins anew. This year’s Black Monday should be no exception: a number of coaches, including the Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury, are believed to be on the hot seat.
So, which coaches have been culled or could be culled, this season? The Sporting News is tracking this year’s Black Monday purge. Follow below as the drama unfolds.
NFL coaches fired in 2022
- Matt Rhule, Panthers (replaced by Steve Wilks)
- Frank Reich, Colts (replaced by Jeff Saturday)
- Nathaniel Hackett, Broncos (replaced by Jerry Rosburg)
- Lovie Smith, Texans
Three coaches were served their walking papers during the 2022 season. Rhule was the first to lose his job, dismissed in Carolina after a 1-4 start.
Reich joined the list shortly thereafter. He was handed a pink slip with his Indianapolis team floundering.
Hackett was relieved of his duties after a 51-14 loss to the equally woeful Rams on Christmas Day, but also long after it became clear the Broncos weren’t going to make the playoffs.
But after the Texans’ third win of the season, which ended the year, Smith was reportedly fired by Houston. He is the second Houston coach to last only one season.
NFL coaches on the hot seat
Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals
Kingsbury is the likeliest candidate to lose his job ahead of Black Monday. The 43-year old inked a five-year extension ahead of the 2022 season, with some reports saying he’s set to earn $5.5 million a year. It seems unlikely that he’ll stick around for the entirety of that deal, given the Cardinals’ struggles this year.
Arizona enters Week 18 fixed to the bottom of the NFC West at 4-12. Kyler Murray is set for a serious spell on the sideline due to a torn ACL. This seems as good a time as any for the organization to make a clean break with its fourth-year coach.
OutKick’s Armando Salguero reported that Kingsbury “will all but certainly be fired” after the Cards’ Week 18 clash with the 49ers.
Who replaces him — and when that decision will be made — remains up in the air, however. General manager Steve Keim, who also signed an extension with the Cards prior to the year, is on health-related leave and also finds himself on the hot seat, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. It’s a real possibility that Arizona could look to figure out the direction of its front office before making a choice on the coaching front.
Lovie Smith, Texans
The Texans haven’t made much of a mark in the AFC South, with a league-worst 2-13-1 record ahead of Sunday’s season finale. That has placed Smith firmly on the hot seat. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported over the weekend that Smith has been trying to make his case to team owner Cal McNair for a second season in Houston.
Smith entered the season in an unenviable position. Just as his predecessor, David Culley, found out, the prospect of replacing now-former quarterback Deshaun Watson after numerous sexual assault allegations was a challenge.
Source: Sporting News