Only three NFL head coaches have been handed their walking papers by the end of Week 17 but much more could be in store in this year’s Black Monday. The Cleveland Browns cut ties with Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after two seasons, and the San Francisco 49ers evidently had a very short leash on Jim Tomsula and let him go following a singular and disappointing 5-11 run.
Those two join now former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly on the NFL’s unemployment line, but the firings are unlikely to stop there.
However, recently many of the head coaches who many perceived to be on the hot seat, may be retained. The San Diego Chargers are “expected” to keep Mike McCoy on, Jim Caldwell’s full resume might allow the Detroit Lions to pause and ponder, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones squashed the idea and backed Jason Garrett.
Still, there are two coaches who are either fighting for their job or clinging to it.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Much has been made of the fact that many of Coughlin’s family members were on hand during New York’s season-ending 35-30 loss to Philadelphia, a sign that the game was also a bit of a goodbye. There was also Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer’s report that the 69-year-old Coughlin is expected to “ride off into the sunset,” and many reports indicated he would resign rather than force the Giants ownership into firing him after 12 seasons, two Super Bowl titles, and a 192-102 record in blue, red, and white.
But Coughlin also seemed frustrated and annoyed with questions about his and the franchise’s plan going forward after the loss to Philadelphia. Also many players told the New York Daily News that they want Coughlin back for next season. That could be the reason Couglin hasn’t been let go yet, and why he may still have a job by the end of Black Monday.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Just like Coughlin, Pagano’s players actually got emotional in the locker room after their win over Tennessee with linebacker Robert Mathis handing Pagano the game ball and many other players defending their coach, according to the Indianapolis Star.
But, unlike Coughlin, Pagano’s firing seems imminent as he meets with Colts owner Jim Irsay on Monday morning.