Football’s home stretch is upon us and that means assistant coaches and offensive and defensive coordinators all across the game’s landscape are tidying up their resumes.
Black Monday is just ahead. Job opportunities will abound.
One of the plums exists in Green Bay, where the Packers, embarrassed by a loss to the 2-9 Arizona Cardinals, got a head start when they fired coach Mike McCarthy immediately after the game.
Not on Black Monday, the traditional departure date for most failed coaches. Not a day or two after the loss to Arizona. Right now. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
McCarthy, whose Packers won a Super Bowl in 2010, was in his 13th season in this job, one of the more stable in the business. The franchise has only had nine coaches since the departure of Vince Lombardi in 1967, in sharp contrast to the revolving door that operates for many other teams. And never had the Packers dismissed the coach in midseason as abruptly as they did this time.
But McCarthy did not have a warm and fuzzy relationship with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was often critical of game strategies. Disagreeing with a player of Rodgers’ stature is poison in this sport. And two days after McCarthy was dismissed, assistant coach Winston Moss bit the dust when he posted a snarky tweet on Twitter about the next coach’s dealings with the quarterback.
McCarthy was permitted to return to Lambeau Field twice after his dismissal, once to talk to his staff and then to address the players. He has talked of taking the next year off but he is sure to be mentioned when other heads begin to fall at the end of the season.
For the moment, there is certain to be an opening in New York where Todd Bowles, who always seems detached, is a dead man walking as the Jets bungle their way through another disappointing season. In Cleveland, Gregg Williams has done a decent job as interim following the dismissal of Hue Jackson but he will always have the spectre of the New Orleans Saints bounty affair of a few years ago over his head. That piece of business cost him a chunk of time on the sidelines.
Marvin Lewis was thought to be done in Cincinnati a year ago but survived then. He might not this time around. His 0-7 playoff record is an albatross but it’s unlikely to get worse this year when the Bengals almost certainly will be home for the postseason.
In Dallas, Jason Garrett frequently seems to be skating on thin ice but It would be tough even for the mercurial owner Jerry Jones to fire a coach whose team finishes in first place.
There are others on the hot seat in the throes of disappointing seasons and there will be plenty of openings for ambitious coaches to consider. Sometimes, though, the rumors drift into the theater of the absurd like the one in Cleveland where there were whispers that one of the candidates for the coaching job might be Condoleeza Rice, the former secretary of state.
Rice declined to be considered. She’s thinking about being the league’s next commissioner instead.
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