NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Predictions

NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Predictions

Happy New Year. You’re history. Happy Hanukkah. Clean out your desk. Merry Christmas. You’re fired. The NFL coaching carousel is about to spin like a dreidel. The NFL is a cold place in losing environments. The annual ritual of firing coaches on Black Monday is a long-established NFL tradition. As retired coach Jerry Glanville used to say, the NFL stands for “Not For Long.”

Thankfully, Black Monday now comes past the holiday season, allowing coaches to enjoy time with their families. The pink-slips come afterward.

This season’s NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Carousel

The 2022 regular season coaching carousel saw three coaches fired during the season. The Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule after he started his third year 1-4. Steve Wilks is the interim coach. The Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett after less than one season. He was dismissed after Week 16 with the team 4-11. Jerry Rosburg is the interim coach. Frank Reich in his fourth year was fired at the midpoint with his team 3-4-1. Jeff Saturday is the interim coach. 

More changes will come Black Monday. 

A time to fire: Rules of the Black Monday coach firing ritual

Owners can fire any employee they want whenever they want, but that does not mean they should. There are certain unwritten rules that owners should consider before firing (or not) NFL coaches on Black Monday.

  • Never fire a coach after a winning season. No matter how badly the team underachieves, some teams would kill to go 9-8.
  • Do not fire a coach unless it is absolutely definite that a better replacement option exists.
  • Do not fire a coach after one season unless there is zero hope for improvement. Bill Parcells won only three games in his first season as an NFL head coach. Jimmy Johnson won one game. Tom Landry won zero games and tied one.
  • Do not fire a coach after two losing seasons if they had four or five winning seasons prior. Allow two or even three bad seasons if the coach has the ability to turn things around.
  • If a coach has won a Super Bowl for you, leave him alone for a few years.
  • If he has won two Super Bowls for you in non-consecutive years, give him a lifetime contract.
  • Lastly, if it is a close call, give the coach one more year.

With that, here are the NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing predictions.

Black Monday firings that are necessary:

Denver Broncos: 

What should happen:

Jerry Rosburg is just a placeholder. The Broncos new ownership is the Walmart family with more money than they could spend in one lifetime. The Broncos already have a very good defense. They need someone to salvage Russell Wilson. They will spend into the stratosphere on a big name hire to excite the fan base.  

What will happen:

Rosburg is gone through no fault of his own. 

Las Vegas Raiders: 

What should happen:

Josh McDaniels is an unmitigated disaster. The Raiders set an NFL record by blowing five double digit leads. The defense is a mess. The secondary cannot stop anyone. That has been a problem long before McDaniels, but he has not fixed the problem. The real problem with McDaniels is that he has learned nothing from 12 years ago when he flamed out in Denver. He destroyed Derek Carr and then blamed Carr for the offensive woes. McDaniel refuses to run the ball in obvious running situations, such as in the fourth quarter with a lead. He prefers finesse to smash mouth and he is failing. He is prepared to gut the team when he is the problem. 

What will happen:

McDaniels has owner Mark Davis wrapped around his finger. McDaniels is only one year into a four year contract, and Davis does not want to eat three years worth of salary given that Davis is already on the hook for some of Jon Gruden’s money. Unlike Denver’s ownership group, Davis does not have money to burn. His father Al Davis was enamored with players but not coaches. Mark Davis is the reverse. McDaniels is staying.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

What should happen:

Todd Bowles is a very good defensive coordinator. He is not a good head coach. He had a losing record in four years with the Jets. He took a playoff team under Bruce Arians and saw the offense regress badly even with Tom Brady. It took a couple of Brady miracles to will this team to an 8-8 record, the worst in Brady’s 23 seasons. Brady remarkably has not regressed. The problem is Bowles does not know offense. Also, firing him would be a powder keg given the NFL’s struggle to hire minority coaches. Bowles is an admirable man. He has refused to make his race an issue. The problem is that he was selected for the job by Arians because of his race. Arians was determined to hire a minority head coach. The goal is admirable but Bowles is not the best minority candidate. Tom Brady may want out of Tampa, which would have the entire organization starting over.

What will happen:

Bowles stays. The Buccaneers did eke into the playoffs. This will earn Bowles one more year, with or without Brady. He will probably be gone next year unless he can finally make a deep playoff run with a talented roster. 

Los Angeles Chargers 

What should happen:

Some would say it is crazy to fire Brandon Staley after not one but two winning seasons. One of the rules is not to fire a coach after a winning season. Last year the Chargers finished 9-8 and this year they are 10-6 and playoff-bound. Yet unless the Chargers make a deep playoff run, firing Staley would not be crazy. He takes too many ridiculous chances on 4th down deep in his own territory. It’s one thing to be bold. It’s another to be foolhardy. The Chargers also have very high expectations. They have a phenomenal quarterback and some play-makers on defense. An early playoff exit could expose him.

What will happen:

Staley stays. He will be on the hot seat unless the Chargers make a deep playoff run next year. Yet firing him at this stage with the team winning 10 games would be risky. 

Indianapolis Colts:

What should happen:

Saturday was a shocking interim hire given that he had never coached a pro or college game before. He was a studio analyst after his playing career ended. He described himself as a “leader of men.” After an emotional win in his debut, the Colts have lost 7 straight. They even sent an NFL record by blowing a 33-0 third quarter lead. 

What will happen:

Saturday is gone. The Rooney Rule requires minority candidates to be interviewed, and Saturday has just not shown that his tremendous skills as a center translate into the ability to coach. 

New Orleans Saints:

What should happen:

Dennis Allen is a terrific defensive coordinator who is not a head coach. He had a terrible record coaching the Raiders, although to be fair that roster was being deconstructed and reconstructed. Yet Jack Del Rio came in the next year and turned things around. Allen has been devastated by injuries to his quarterbacks.  

What will happen:

Allen will be given another year to see what he can do with a healthy Jameis Winston. If the team is healthy next year, Allen will be out of excuses. His coaching seat will be white hot.

Deserve to stay but will be fired: 


Deserve to stay and will stay:

Carolina Panthers: Steve Wilks:

The players fight hard for him. The Panthers rebounded from a terrible start to the season under Matt Rhule to the brink of the playoffs. Wilks only went 2-14 in his lone season with the Cardinals, but he deserves in Carolina what he never got in Arizona: A chance to turn things around. The trends are positive. The Panthers have a good defense. Sam Darnold might be salvageable. Either way, Wilks deserves a chance to turn the Panthers into his team. His expertise is defense, so he needs to show he can build an offense. 

Closest of calls:

Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury: 

The Cardinals began 10-2 last year before stumbling down the stretch and flaming out in the playoffs. This year they dropped from 11-6 to 4-12. Kyler Murray has been injured for parts of the year and has serious maturity issues. Yet Murray also has a fat guaranteed contract. If they cannot coexist, Kingsbury is gone. It is quite possible that NFL defenses have figured out Kingsbury’s offensive system. That frequently happens to college coaches unable to make the leap. Yet The 10-2 start in 2021 should be worth something. Give Kingsbury one more year to see if he can turn it around. The Cardinals were way too hasty in firing Steve Wilks and need to have some stability. If the Cardinals do not rebound next year, Kingsbury will be gone. He deserves to stay one more year.

Houston Texans: Lovie Smith:

The Texans last year won only 4 games. This year they are the worst team in the league and won only two games.  Yet the Texans just stunned Tennessee on the road and gave two of the toughest teams in the league in Dallas and Kansas City a real fight. Lovie Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl. He was not given nearly enough time to turn the Buccaneers around, which was a mistake. The team fired David Culley last year after one season. Firing Smith after one season would be another dumb move. His defense fights hard. He does not have a top level quarterback. He deserves time to build an offense. This is a close call only because the Texans have made impetuous moves in recent years.

Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera:

This should not be a close call at all. Rivera is a very good coach and a fine leader of men. He is well respected in the community. He represents everything that is right about football. He even led the team last year while battling cancer. He does have to figure out the quarterback situation. Turning from Taylor Heinecke to Carson Wentz was a gamble that backfired on Riverboat Ron. The Commanders were 7-5-1 and in the playoff race before three straight losses knocked them out. The only reason he could be out is because the Commanders are dysfunctional front office mess. Owner Dan Snyder is finally selling the team, and a new owner might want a new coach. Rivera is the only thing respectable about management in DC. If he gets thrown under the bus, he will have other teams immediately trying to snap him up.  

Eating our words:

Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor

In his first year, Taylor was 2-14. In his second year the Bengals improved to 4-11-1. Taylor was put in the category of “deserves to be fired but will stay.” Last year, with a healthy Joe Burrow, the Bengals were 10-6 and AFC North champions. They went to the Super Bowl and almost won it all. This year they have a very good shot at repeating as AFC North champs. They even have an outside shot at home field advantage throughout the entire playoffs. The critics (myself included) were wrong. Taylor can coach. This is old news from last year, but the error was so great it deserves to be repeated one more time. 

Lifetime contract to silence the critics:

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

Tomlin is not on any list of coaches being fired. However, in the past, he has been. That speculation needs to end permanently. In 15 years, Tomlin never had a losing season. This year the Steelers are 8-8. Their last game will tell if that streak continues. Yet with Ben Roethlisberger retired and Kenny Pickett a rookie, the Steelers started 2-6 and 3-7. Again, Tomlin turned them around. He wins with hard-nosed running and defense. The Rooney family should let him stay as long as he wants. At this point, they probably will. They are smart, patient owners, and their loyalty has been rewarded. Tomlin is as good as they get on and off the field. He is another guy who represents the best of football.


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