The end of the 2014 regular season also means the end of the road for a few coaches and general managers around the NFL. After their respective teams missed the playoffs, four head coaches, as well as two GMs, were fired on Black Monday.
None of the decisions came as much of a surprise. There have been rumors about potential coaching changes for weeks, and multiple losing seasons in a row left a few owners with little choice but to make a change. Last season, five coaches were fired, following the conclusion of the regular season.
Below is a look at the casualties of Black Monday 2014.
New York Jets (Head Coach Rex Ryan, General Manager John Idzik)
After the Jets got off to a slow start this season, Ryan’s firing seemed to be inevitable. He survived the firing of GM Mike Tannenbaum after the 2012 season, and kept his job following an 8-8 season in 2013, but a fourth straight season without a playoff appearance forced owner Woody Johnson to make a change.
Idzik only got two years as GM with New York, but he didn’t make the most of his time with the team. He drafted Geno Smith, who doesn’t appear to be the team’s answer at quarterback. In the offseason, Idzik failed to spend the $24.3 million that the Jets had under the salary cap, leaving the team unable to compete in 2014. Ryan might get another head coaching job, and could do so this offseason, but Idzik’s days as a GM are likely finished.
Chicago Bears (Head Coach Marc Trestman, General Manager Phil Emery)
Trestman was hired after the 2012 season, having no experience as an NFL head coach. He failed to reach the playoffs in two years, going 5-11 this season and missing out on a chance to reach the postseason in Week 17 last year. The Bears had some internal issues that were brought into the public in 2014 when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitted to being the source of a report that criticized Jay Cutler. Kromer was fired, as well.
Emery is done with Chicago after three seasons. He helped hire Trestman when Lovie Smith was fired, following a 10-6 season that saw the Bears miss the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons (Head Coach Mike Smith)
Smith had been one of the longest tenured head coaches in the NFL, spending seven seasons with the Falcons. He achieved immediate success with the team, reaching the playoffs in four of his first five years, culminating with a trip to the NFC Championship game. However, the Falcons have been one of the most disappointing teams in each of the least two years, going 10-22.
While other firings appeared to be set in stone for weeks, Smith seemingly had a chance to save his job up until the final week. The Falcons had a chance to reach the playoffs and host a first-round game, but the team got blown out at home by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. According to owner Arthur Blank, the team’s new coach will decide if he wants to keep any of the team's existing assistant coaches.
San Francisco 49ers (Head Coach Jim Harbaugh)
The 49ers didn’t even wait until Monday to let the public know that they were parting ways with their head coach of four years. The two sides announced their decision to split on Sunday, after San Francisco beat the Arizona Cardinals and finished the season with a .500 record.
Harbaugh was one of the most successful NFL coaches during his tenure with the 49ers, averaging 12 wins in each of his first three years and reaching the NFC Championship game in each of those seasons. There had been rumors about Harbaugh’s impending departure for much of the season, and differences with general manager Trent Baalke, as well as players on the team, spelled the end for the 51-year-old in San Francisco. He’s likely to be on the sidelines in 2015 as the head coach of Michigan.