Not every head coach in the NFL was fired after Week 17 of the 2012 season, but sweet mercy, the pink slips were flying and heads were (figuratively) rolling.
Shockingly, the New York Jets will keep coach Rex Ryan, having only fired GM Mike Tannenbaum. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will also be hitting the road. Perhaps Tannenbaum was the real reason for the Tebow debacle, but I’m sticking with Ryan’s inability to do anything more than allow talented players to do their thing.
Regardless of Ryan miraculously surviving the cut, several coaches were cut loose. Most surprising: Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears.
The Bears finished the season 10-6 and missed the playoffs. That alone is almost unbelievable. Teams finishing 10-6 always make the playoffs. It didn’t help Smith’s cause that they were knocked out by division rival Minnesota (which also finished 10-6, and owned the tie-breaker).
Not as surprising were the firings of Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey and Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs saying no-mo to Romeo Crennel and San Diego Chargers finally giving the ax to Norv “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing” Turner (according to the great Jerry Rice, he really doesn’t).
Rumors are swirling that San Diego might go after USC head coach Lane Kiffin following today’s bowl game. That would further prove the organization’s ineptitude. They’re still a laughing stock for firing Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-win season, only to hire Norv Turner and continue to stink it up in the playoffs.
And finally…there’s Andy Reid.
I’m of the opinion Reid should have stepped down or taken a leave from the Eagles in 2012, after the death of his son. It was too much. But he put in the time, and worked his 14th season as the Eagles head coach — mouth-breathing, panting and heavy whispering during post-game press conferences. His season was one of the saddest and most painful to watch I’ve ever witnessed. I’m glad the Eagles brass put him out of his misery.
Let the speculation begin. Who will fill these voids? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden back on the sideline.
Update: Ken Wisenhunt has also been added to the list of the coaching unemployed.