One NFL head coach stated recently that there are only two types of individuals in his profession, coaches who have been fired and those who are about to be fired. Black Monday in the NFL is known as the day after the final game of the regular season since that is the day several members of the coaching fraternity are asked to surrender the keys to their office.
Carolina’s John Fox agreed to part ways with his organization before their last game.
Eric Mangini of the Browns was the only one canned less than 24 hours after the final gun went off in Seattle this week. But, unlike most years, several head coaches got the ax before the season ended.
Dallas’s Wade Phillips, Minnesota’s Brad Childress, Denver’s Josh McDaniels and San Francisco’s Mike Singletary were all let go during the season. When all is said and done, there could be up to ten new coaches roaming the sidelines next season. The Bengals’ Marvin Lewis and Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher might walk away from their current posts due to disagreement with their owners and general managers. The general sentiment is that neither one of them will be unemployed for long should they decide to leave the current position.
Miami’s Tony Sparano and Oakland’s Tom Cable are hanging onto their jobs with a wing and a prayer.
Then you have our own Tom Coughlin who has made the playoffs in all but two of his seven years with the Giants, yet some of the Big Blue faithful are calling for his head. It is a wonder that the angry villagers have not shown up at the Timex Center with torches and pitchforks. Thank God, that the Giant hierarchy are level-headed individuals and do not bow down to some of the zealots that follow the team.
Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio and Houston’s Gary Kubiak both received stays of executions and will be back on the sidelines next season. But they better make the playoffs in 2011 or they will be looking for work 365 days from now.
Other than the Presidency of the United States, the military or law enforcement there are few jobs tougher than a NFL coach. They work 17-20 hour days. Their success could hinge on things out of their control like a bad call or could be influenced by the weather. Then their every move is subjected to the scrutiny of second guessers like the media and fans who possess nowhere near the knowledge of the game that they do. Why would someone want to subject themselves to this type of pressure knowing that very few get to leave on their own terms?
It is in their blood. Football coaches are a rare breed and to make it to the highest level of that profession can provide an adrenaline rush better than any legal or illegal stimulant on the market. But, like any drug or vice, sooner or later the downside is going to catch up with you.
If the coach does not burn himself out like Bill Parcells did during many of his jobs, his record and/or the League will eventually catch up to him. Brian Billick and Mike Ditka rode two of the most dominant defenses to Super Bowl victories. A few short seasons later, they found themselves unemployed. The League discovered ways to score on their once formidable units.
The Vikings’ Leslie Frazier and Cowboys’ Jason Garrett will have their interim tags removed from their titles after taking over the helm of their respective clubs by the end of the week. Frazier and Garrett are both deserving of their new positions but one has to wonder if they truly know what they are getting themselves into. The San Francisco, Cleveland, Denver and Carolina jobs, along with some others, will be filled in the near future. Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher are among the former head coaches currently holding TV analyst positions who are waiting in the wings to, perhaps, fill some of those positions. Or perhaps, the GMs with vacancies will all go after Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh or look for that hot young coordinator who has been penned as the next big thing.
Remember the old saying, “Be careful of what you ask for, you might just get it.” These guys work all of their lives to get a job for which they will be eventually fired from. God Bless Them!