The annual efforts by NFL teams to change their fortunes by firing one head coach and finding a new leader is moving a little slower than usual.
Mangini the only victim of ‘Black Monday’ Traditionally the first day after the end of the NFL regular season sees a number of head coaches receive their pink slips. Eric Mangini was the only casualty as he was sacked by the Browns, a moment which some sports anchors celebrated a little too much. A couple of factors contributed to Cleveland’s Mangini being the only coach to lose his job on Black Monday. Firstly, several NFL teams had already cut ties with their head coaches before the end of the regular season. Minnesota and Dallas had interim coaches for large parts of the season, Josh McDaniels was fired by the Broncos, and Mike Singletary was axed by San Francisco before the final game of the year, while the end of John Fox’s tenure in Carolina was also announced before Week 17.
There’s also the matter of the impending labor lockout. NFL betting fans know that franchises will be wary of installing a new coaching team ahead of a season where all or part of training camp could be cut. Teams will think a little longer before making the decision to cut ties with their head coaches this off-season, especially if it harms their short-term prospects.
Not out of the woods While Gary Kubiak and Jack Del Rio will live to fight one more year in Houston and Jacksonville, there are still several head coaches with uncertain fates. Despite leading the Raiders to an 8-8 record, including a 6-0 divisional record, Tom Cable looks unlikely to survive in Oakland. Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher knows one of him and quarterback Vince Young will be back with the Titans for 2011, and Young looks the more likely to survive. Miami’s Tony Sparano also appears to be in the final days of his tenure with the Dolphins.
One door closes… When a head coach gets fired it opens up a vacancy for a new man to try his hand at turning around an ailing NFL team. Jason Garrett, in Dallas, and Leslie Frazier, in Minnesota, have both been made permanent after impressing in their interim roles. Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh could be named as the new 49ers coach by the end of the day, although they will face competition from Harbaugh’s alma mater Michigan. John Fox may not be out of a job for too long, the now former Panthers coach is amongst the favorites to replace Mangini in Cleveland. Bill Cowher will surely be linked with every job that becomes available. Cowher will be picky and will only go to a franchise he believes he can quickly turn into a winner. That makes him an unlikely target for any of the current openings but the right job may open up in the coming weeks.