8 NFL Head Coach Openings
The NFL regular season has concluded, which unfortunately means there will be a litany of changes made by teams that did not make the playoffs during the offseason. To date, eight head coaches have been fired by their respective organizations.
There were two head coaches fired in-season: Jon Gruden (Raiders) and Urban Meyer (Jaguars). Both have had legendary football careers but ran into trouble off the field. A slew of inappropriate emails from Gruden was obtained during an NFL investigation, and he was promptly (and correctly) fired as a result.
Meyer ran into of the field issues galore. There were several rumors that Meyer's personality clashed with his players and coaching staff in Jacksonville, including a report that he kicked kicker Josh Lambo in pregame warmups after he missed a field goal. Meyer also stayed behind from the team after a road trip and was later seen in a "questionable at best" situation at a bar he owns in Columbus, Ohio. All this and more led to his dismissal after only 13 games.
Denver's Vic Fangio was the first firing of the offseason. The Broncos dismissed Fangio after a season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. Denver finished the 2021 season with a 7-10 record and went just 19-30 during Fangio's three-year tenure. Fangio is a highly regarded defensive coach, but the lack of offensive development, particularly at quarterback, definitely contributed to the situation.
On Monday, the Chicago Bears fired Matt Nagy, the Minnesota Vikings fired Mike Zimmer, and the Miami Dolphins surprised everyone by firing Brian Flores.
In terms of doing the most with what he was given, Flores did the best job of the three and will likely be a coveted target on the open market. Zimmer had a good eight-year run with Minnesota filled with playoff appearances, but the team had noticeably regressed and it was time for a change. Nagy was one of the more obvious candidates. He did lead the Bears to two playoff appearances in four years, but there was a strong lack of production on offense (his area of expertise) and a severe lack of accountability.
On Tuesday, the New York Giants let go of Joe Judge after two seasons as head coach. Judge was hired after serving as the special teams coach in New England and becomes another failed Belichick disciple. The Giants are also hiring a new general manager, who will have input on the new coach.
The most recent firing came on Thursday afternoon. After much speculation from national media, the Houston Texans fired head coach David Culley after just one season. It was a move some say they could see coming ever since he was hired last year. Culley was not that bad of a coach overall--although he did decline a penalty so he could punt--it was just a lose-lose situation. He clearly was not respected enough by the brass, or else they would have given him a longer contract. Plus, the franchise QB openly did not want to play for him.
We'll see who gets hired to these roles. I would expect someone with New England connections in Houston. So far, Jacksonville, Denver, Miami, Minnesota, and Chicago have lined up interviews with prospective candidates. Vegas will likely wait until it is eliminated from the playoffs, and New York and Houston will have to catch up ASAP.