Black Monday Hits the NFL
You’ve heard of Black Friday. You may have heard of Cyber Monday. Today in the NFL was “Black Monday.” Black Monday is the day after the final Sunday of the NFL regular season. 12 of the 32 teams have a playoff game to get ready for. The other 20 are looking forward to mini-camps and the draft. For many of those, it is time to get a new head coach as well. Today, and in some cases late yesterday or even a few weeks ago, six NFL teams fired their coach. Some made sense, others not so much.
Gary Kubiak was let got about a month ago as head coach of the Houston Texans. Rumor has it that current Penn State Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien will take his place, which opens up yet another big college job. On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns fired Rob Chudzinski after one season. Really? One season? Perhaps there is a reason the Browns are perennial losers?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Greg Schiano after two seasons. That’s not much better. The Minnesota Vikings fired Leslie Frazier one season following a playoff berth. That’s a bit unfair.
The Washington Redskins fired Mike Shanahan after four seasons. That was perhaps the worst kept secret in the NFL this season. Shanahan did not get along well with star quarterback Robert Griffin III and found out that quarterback trumps coach unless your name is Bill Belichick, and maybe even then.
Perhaps the cruelest blow was the firing of Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz. Coach Schwartz and his Lions missed the playoffs because o a missed passed interference call against him tow weeks ago against the Ravens. Had the refs gotten that call right, the Lions likely go on to win the game and maybe they win the NFC North. Instead they lost their last two games and now he is unemployed.
And then we also have openings all over college football as well, and as some of these NFL jobs are filled, we may even get more. One has to wonder though if the fans and owners/college presidents are just too darned impatient these days. Take for example the Russell Athletics Bowl this past weekend. The Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a possible number one pick for one of these teams next year, shredded the Miami Hurricanes. Bridgewater originally committed to Miami ans he was a high school star at Northwestern High School there. But Miami fired coach Randy Shannon which caused Bridgewater to change his mind. So instead of playing quarterback for the Canes on Saturday, he was ripping their secondary apart. What if they had not fired Shannon?
Of course in the pros players are not recruited right? So this doesn’t apply. Well, not so fast. Free agents are recruited. And one thing a free agent wants to know before he commits to a team is whether the coach he is agreeing to play for is going to be there. One would have to think that the Browns and Bucs may have a tough time getting free agents in there with the revolving door.
But then you have the Florida Gators fans who are wondering why Will Muschamp can have the two worst seasons the school has had since 1979 and still have his job. That’s right, the last time the gators had a losing record the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series and Jimmy Carter was busy getting punked by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Yet their 4-8 record was not enough to get Muschamp canned? Somewhere Ron Zook wants to know what’s the deal?
But theses decisions are why GMs and ADs get paid the big money. If they get them wrong, they too will be on unemployment soon.
Jim Folsom is a regular contributor to http://www.bettingsports.com