The day after regular season in the NFL ends, is anything but dull. It is a day known as “Black Monday” because of the firings and staff changes that occur within the teams. The change is needed in order to succeed in the future. Though this event happens every year, the amount of personnel that were let go made this year stand out. When it was time for lunch, seven NFL coaches had been told, by their team, they would not be returning for the 2013 season. Several general managers were told the same thing, leaving plenty of time for more firings to occur.
Every year, by the time the regular season ends, a whirlwind of firings takes place in the NFL of coaches and top executives that teams feel they did not do their job effectively. This year stands out in that firings happened within teams that are usually patient – maybe too patient – in deciding to let go of key personnel. The firings came at a furious pace and within a span of three hours; seven coaches and five general managers were fired and will start the New Year without a job.
One of the coaches that was let go, which was no surprise, was 14-year-veteran Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles. The head coach started the season with an edict from owner Jeffrey Lurie that said Reid needed to have a better record of 8-8 in order to keep his job. Unfortunately for Reid, the Eagles finished the season with a 4-12 record that signaled the end of him returning as head coach for the team.
The firings continued in Chicago with head coach Lovie Smith being relieved of his duties after nine seasons, despite finishing the season at 10-6. San Diego saw six-year coach Norv Turner being given his walking papers along with General Manager A.J. Smith, who managed to hold onto his position for almost ten years. Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt was dealt the same fate after being with the team for six years. Whisenhunt, Reid and Smith were able to take their team at some point to the Super Bowl during their tenure; Turner only got as far as taking his team to the A.F.C. championship game.
With an NFL owner’s philosophy of “what have you done for me lately,” all of the coaches had not been producing as of late. Cleveland’s Jimmy Haslam, the league’s newest owner, fired Coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert.
On Sunday, three teams had a horrendous season last year but were able to turn things around this season. The Minnesota Vikings, the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins were able to make the playoffs this season. Of course, every owner would love to have this kind of result and the reason for the coaches’ firings this season was summed up by Haslam who said, “It might be a little unfair of me to put that pressure on that new head coach already, but the way the N.F.L. operates, there is relative parity. And you can turn things around quickly.”
Others who ended up being fired were Buffalo’s Chan Gailey and Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel. As for general managers, the Cardinals fired Rod Graves, the Jets let go of Mike Tannenbaum and the Jacksonville Jaguars dismissed Gene Smith. The quickness of the firing may have been breathtaking but not a surprise as owners want to get these positions filled quickly. That way, coaches can have the time to assemble new staff members and get organized.
Turner was expecting the news of being fired although being with the team for six years. He alluded to this as he talked with reporters after the game against the Oakland Raiders. “Obviously, we’re going to meet with the team, and I’m sure they’ll start looking for a new coach.” With today being only Monday, it is expected for more firings to take place. So, if you were a team owner, who would you be dismissing from your team?
Tannenbaum Fired, Ryan Safe
Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter discuss the Jets’ firing of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan’s future as head coach.