The Philadelphia Eagles got a six-day jump on Black Monday, dismissing head coach Chip Kelly after three seasons, a 26-21 overall record with one postseason berth and loss, and tumultuous accusations levied against the coach for his failure to relate to players and his questionable moves as general manager.
The Eagles and owner Jeffery Lurie were widely expected to hand Kelly his walking papers, and opted to start a regime change well before Jan. 4, the date as many as eight other teams could pink-slip their current head coaches ominously and appropriately dubbed Black Monday.
Kelly was sitting on the hot seat with two weeks left to the season, and his fate was ultimately decided after Philadelphia lost to Washington and fell out of the NFC East hunt.
Nevertheless, the Eagles are now one of what could be as many as four huge vacancies in some of the NFL’s biggest markets.
So as Philadelphia begins its latest regime change, here are the three other candidates who could also be out of a job come Monday.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Speculation not only places the 69-year-old Coughlin but Giants GM Jerry Reese on the hot seat as well, suggesting New York may follow Philadelphia with a total face lift on the sidelines and the front office. Coughlin’s undoubtedly served the Giants and its loyal fan base well, picking up two Super Bowl victories and standing as the only coach to best New England’s Bill Belichick in the NFL’s title game.
Coughlin also tallied a 102-89 overall record and 8-3 postseason mark over 12 years in New York, but the Giants will miss out on the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The Giants failure to close out games, especially five squandered fourth-quarter leads, can be directly attributed to Coughlin’s decisions on the sidelines.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Garrett once again finds himself on the hot seat a year after guiding Dallas to its first postseason victory since 2008, and there’s two big reasons why owner Jerry Jones might retain his services for a seventh year. For one, the two major injuries to quarterback Tony Romo and Dez Bryant missing six games so far severely hampered what was last season’s No. 5 scoring offense. The Cowboys dropped to No. 31 this season with 16.8 points per game.
And yet because the NFC East was so weak this season, the Cowboys were in the playoff mix up until a couple of weeks ago.
Furthermore, Garrett has four years and $24 million left on a contract he inked just 11 months ago, and if Jones will not only have to payout the rest of that deal but also shell out big bucks to his next coach. Even if Jones wants to pry Sean Payton from New Orleans, the Saints will expect, and deserve, major compensation for the Super Bowl winner.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Much like Garrett, Pagano does have the "injured quarterback excuse" with Andrew Luck down for eight games and 15 other players sent to injured reserve this season. But for a team that’s won no less than 11 games each season since Pagano took over in 2012, claiming a 7-8 record behind 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck should be a feather in Pagano’s cap.
Yet now there’s rampant speculation that Pagano might even want to leave Indianapolis, and that GM Ryan Grigson is likely safe with one year left on his contract. Several reports before and during the season said the two have been at odds for some time. Given Grigson’s contract status, and Pagano potentially deciding to hit the open market, the Colts should have an opening on Monday.