Monday, December 29, 2008

Pink Slips Start Arriving

It's not even noon on the day after the NFL season ended, and already three coaches have been given their pink slips. In New York, Eric Mangini lost his job after the Jets swan dive cost them a playoff berth.

The Browns fired Romeo Crennel after four disappointing seasons. there were signs of life in Cleveland last year, when the team surprisied everyone by finishing 10-6. This season they fell to 4-12, and by the end of the year weren't even competitive.

Rod Marinelli is out in Detroit, and that'll happen when your teams goes 0-16. He won just 10 games in three seasons and endured criticism for hiring two relatives to his coaching staff.

There will undoubtedly be more moves. During a radio appearance three or four weeks ago, the host suggested that as many as 12 teams might change coaches. I thought that was a rdiculously high number, but that the number of openings still might be as high as seven.

Two other guys are really on the hot seat, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear their names before the day is out. Herm Edwards has a 15-32 record in three seasons with the Chiefs. His job security evaporated when his biggest supporter, Carl Peterson, resigned two weeks ago. Across the state, Jim Haslett has been serving as the Rams interim coach since late September. The team went 2-10 under his leadership, and while the team likes Haslett, GM Billy Devaney may be pressured to make a move.

It's tough to tell what will happen in Oakland and Cincinnati. Marvin Lewis has a year left on his contract, and history has shown that owner Mike Brown doesn't like to pay coaches to walk away. Raiders' Owner Al Davis doesn't have any such qualms... if anything he's been impatient with his coaches. Interim Tom Cable got off to a slow start, but he got a dysfunctional group pulled together and won three of his last six games.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said "the coaching staff is set," but the team's December swoon and 12-year playoff drought suggest that head coach Wade Phillips could be in trouble.

Buffalo's Dick Jauron reportedly signed a three year contract extension in October, but the team's 2-8 finish has many fans calling for his head. The Bills haven't been to the playoffs since 1999.

I suspect that at least two of those six guys will lose their jobs within the next ten days, and we'll probably see another surprise. Someone who had a good season will get the ax, or someone will retire. That'll put the number of openings at six, which is about what I expected.

Stay tuned.