- Only two coaches have been fired at the end of the 2020 regular season with the NY Jets’ Adam Gase and Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone getting their pink slips.
- Three coaches–Bill O’Brien, Dan Quinn and Matt Patricia–were dismissed during the season.
- With the possible exception of the LA Chargers Anthony Lynn it looks as if the rest of the league’s coaching roster will survive.
In a bizarre regular season played with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic the NFL deserves some credit for just finishing. There were times that it looked like it wouldn’t happen but now the playoffs begin and barring something unforeseen–and that can’t be counted out this season–the NFL will crown a Super Bowl championship a few weeks down the road. With the regular season in the books there is a feeling of normalcy today as ‘Black Monday’ results in underachieving NFL coaches losing their jobs in droves.
Actually, as far as ‘Black Monday’ goes the 2021 version has been relatively quiet. Only two NFL coaches have been fired since the end of Sunday action and neither are a surprise–NY Jets’ Adam Gase and Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone. Of course, one reason for this relative calm on the first Monday of the off season for non-playoff teams is that three coaches got the axe during the year. Houston’s Bill O’Brien, Atlanta’s Dan Quinn and Detroit’s Matt Patricia were relieved of their duties mid-year representing the most coaches to be fired during the season since 2010.
At this point, it could be that the rest of the NFL coaching roster is safe for now. There had been speculation about the future of Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn but word is that he’ll be back again next season. He’s fortunate that team ownership generally likes him and are particularly impress with his work in bringing along rookie quarterback Justin Hebert. Lynn and Hebert reportedly have a great relationship and that doesn’t hurt either. The Chargers closed the season with four straight wins to finish 7-9 which isn’t great but at least there are signs the team is heading in the right direction. Lynn could also be ‘getting a mulligan’ due to the general mess caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPDATE: Or maybe not…Lynn has been fired. Chargers owner Dean Spanos released this statement:
“This morning I informed Anthony Lynn that we have made the decision to part ways with him as our head coach. I’m not sure there is another person in this league more respected as a human being than Anthony, and I want to sincerely express my deepest gratitude for his leadership during a time of great change for our organization.”
“As we all know, this is a results-driven business and, simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations. Moving forward, we will redouble our efforts to both build and maintain a championship-caliber program. We have been innovative in many facets of our organization in recent years, and we need to carry that over to our entire operation. Our fans need to know that the Los Angeles Chargers are committed to consistent, winning football. The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.”
So what about the two most recent coaches fired? Many NFL observers (myself included) were surprised that Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone made it this far. It appeared all but certain that he would be gone at the end of the 2019 season but he lived to fight another day. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much fight left. The Jaguars won their opening game of the season before losing 15 straight to finish with a franchise worst 1-15 record. There is a lot of speculation that the Jaguars will make a strong bid for former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer though he might be happy in the broadcast booth. He’ll at least listen to what the Jags (and maybe the Lions) have to say.
Jags’ owner Shad Kahn released this statement about Marrone’s dismissal:
“I am committed and determined to deliver winning football to the City of Jacksonville. Realizing that goal requires a fresh start throughout our football operations, and with that in mind, I spoke this morning with Doug Marrone to express my gratitude for his hard work over the past four seasons as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’ll always appreciate Doug’s passion, grit and class, and I’m confident he will enjoy success in the next chapter of his career. As the search for our new general manager continues, now the quest begins to find a head coach who shares my ambition for the Jacksonville Jaguars and our fans, whose loyalty and faith are overdue to be rewarded.”
As far as the Jets’ Adam Gase, he went a less than stellar 9-23 during his tenure in New York. For now, it’s not apparent what New York is thinking about in terms of their next coach but there has been some talk that they’ll interview some college coaches including Northwestern’s Pat Fiztgerald and Florida’s Dan Mullen. Whether they go that route for their next head coach or bring in a successful assistant from another NFL team remains to be seen.