At the end of the 2012 NFL football season, seven coaches and five general managers were given pink slips on the Monday following the Super Bowl. Most of those fired were not surprising, but some like Chicago’s Lovie Smith with ten wins raised eyebrows. It is just a reminder that a successful head coach takes their team to the post season and wins championships.
This forces owners into a predicament on whether to let a coach develop talent or put winning team immediately on the football field. In some cities, this approach is necessary, but others like New York and Dallas, there is no room for error, so it was shocking some coaches returned for another year. Who are six coaches that are on the hot seat going into the 2013 season? Who might possibly face “Black Monday” at the end of the football season?
Number 6: Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders
Being a head coach for the Oakland Raiders is probably one the most difficult and daunting tasks. The Raiders have failed to make the playoffs in ten years.. In Allen’s first season, the Raiders finished a dismal 4-12 after coming off their first 8-8 season in a decade. While most fans from the AFC West rejoice, it continues a string of losing season for an organization that still prides itself with the past. Can the blame solely be placed on Allen? The Raiders repeatedly sign overpriced free agents, draft under achieving college players, and lack a starting quarterback. In this case, the blame should be placed on the general manager and ownership. However, Allen will have to prove himself in 2013 and nothing short of an 8-8 season will keep his job in Oakland.
Number 5: Mike Munchack, Tennessee Titans
When hired back in 2011 Munchack replaced the long tenured Jeff Fisher. Despite Munchack’s three decades with the organization, he has been unable to deliver as head coach going 9-7 in 2011 and 6-10 in 2012. Instead of progressing forward, the Titans have taken a step backwards in a tough AFC South. QB Jake Locker needs to step up and RB Chris Johnson must regain his form that made him one of the top three running backs in the league. The Titans do not have to win the division for Munchack to keep his job, but the team needs to compete with the Colts and Texans for Munchack to remain on the sidelines.
Number 4: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Rivera’s future with Carolina Panthers will rest on QB Cam Newton and the defense. After a stellar rookie season, Newton struggled through most of the 2012 season, but he showed signs of his rookie campaign toward the end of it. Further, the Panthers ranked toward the bottom of the league in defense, so they aimed at improving this side of the ball by drafting defense.. With Sean Payton returning as head coach in New Orleans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers adding CB Darelle Revis for 2013, the Panthers will find it a challenge. Being Rivera’s third year as head coach, it is critical he take the team to the playoffs as a wild card or division winner. The Panthers have the talent on both sides of the football, so nothing less than a playoff berth keeps Rivera in Carolina past 2013.
Number 3: Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions
If Schwartz does not take the Lions deep into the playoff, Lion fans will more likely being a seeing new head coach on the sidelines in 2014. Entering his 5th season, the Lions have underachieved under Schwartz despite playoff berths in two seasons. However, there is no reason this team cannot consistently win the NFC North or compete each year against the Packers with Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. The Lions offense is explosive, but the defensive has been subpar despite drafting Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in consecutive years. At times, the Lions appear undisciplined and inconsistent. Is this recipe for success? Schwartz may have the support of ownership and players, but this does not win championships if the team is constantly underperforming.
Number 2: Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Since his early success, Rex Ryan’s ego has suddenly been deflated as the Jets have been unable to make the playoffs the past two seasons. He faces intense scrutiny from the media and fans in his handling of QB Mark Sanchez. Ryan’s antics appear to be running its course in New York, so it was bit surprising ownership kept him around one more year. Ryan’s defense still ranks toward the top of the NFL, but the problems are on the offensive side of the football. Sanchez continues to digress, they lack a wide receiver threat, and the team is banking on QB Geno Smith to emerge as the next star. Is this a recipe for success? When Fireman Ed states he is not renewing season tickets for 2013, there is a significant problem in New York and a new head coach might be the answer in 2014.
Number 1: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
When Garrett took over full time in 2011, there were already enormous expectations put him upon by owner Jerry Jones. Despite Garrett’s offensive success, Jones and fans are growing impatient with poor clock management and inconsistencies from week to week. The team has one playoff win since 1996 and that is unacceptable for an organization that still calls itself America’s Team. For the 2013 season, Dallas brought in former Raider Head Coach Bill Callahan. Callahan’s success with Rich Gannon in Oakland allows Garrett to solely focus on his head coaching duties. For Garrett to return for 2014, the Cowboys will have to win the NFC East and make a run toward the Super Bowl. Jones has shown his impatience and frustration with head coaches in the past, so it is not going to be surprising if Garrett is let go during the season if the Cowboys stumble early.