What a great time of year! Leaves are changing colors, the weather is cooling off, warm apple cider fills our bellies, and the football season is getting extremely interesting. Around this time is when the men separate themselves from the boys. It’s also when team owners and general managers start getting restless. Rumors start flying and the dreaded “votes of confidence” are handed out.
A look at the standings shows that the Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, and Jets are all battling it out for the coveted first pick in next year’s draft. Not far behind them (or ahead depending on how you look at it) are the Redskins, Giants, Bears, and Rams. But just because these teams are crowding the proverbial dumpster doesn’t mean their coaches should start polishing their resumes, does it? The Skins, Titans, and Bucs have first year coaches. The Raiders have an interim coach. They should be granted ample time (at least a year!) to turn their franchises around since the teams they took over were not that great to begin with, right? The Jags and Bears head coaches are in their second seasons. Is that enough time to implement new schemes offensively and defensively that need the proper personnel in order for them to work? Laying the foundation to contend every year takes time.
Speaking of contenders, the Panthers at 3-7-1 are still very much in it. The Cowboys look better than they have in years. Everyone wrote off the Niners, but since they won a big game in New Orleans and have some key players returning to the defense, surely they’ll be contending in their division. Those coaches are safe, aren't they? Not in today’s NFL (unless you coach in Pittsburgh or New England).
This list is about 15 coaches in the NFL with the hottest of seats. For some of them, their teams need to show marked improvement finishing the season in order to keep their jobs. For the others, they might as well get the suits pressed and the resumes copied. The NFL is no place for the faint of heart. Black Monday is fast approaching!
15 Mike Shula, Offensive Coordinator, Carolina Panthers
14 Nathaniel Hackett, Offensive Coordinator, Buffalo Bills
13 Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
12 Perry Fewell, Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants
11 Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
10 Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams
9 Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
8 Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator, Chicago Bears
7 Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills
6 Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
5 Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears
4 Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints
3 Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
2 Rex Ryan, New York Jets
1 Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers
When the owner's expectations is that a Super Bowl victory is the only way to signify a successful season, it's safe to say the current coach is on the hot seat. Jim Harbaugh probably isn't at the top of most "hot seat" lists you'll read, but when expectations are, Super Bowl or bust, that automatically puts you there. The 49ers also chose not to extend Jim Harbaugh's contract, indicating a 'show me' attitude. After three straight trips to the NFC Championship game (including one Super Bowl loss), the expectations for this season's 49ers were through the roof. However, 10 games into the season, they find themselves at 7-4 and two games out of first place in the NFC west. Niners fans will say they lost key defensive personnel resulting in their regression, but the stats say their defense is still ranked 2nd in total yards allowed, as well as 10th in points allowed per game. The rumors are flying for Harbaugh's next job- Oakland, the Jets, Michigan, and now Florida! It's hard to say Harbaugh has done anything but a great job in San Fran, but barring a Super Bowl victory, some early season struggles could be enough to push the khaki clad Harbaugh out the door come season's end. In a way, he's become a victim of his own success.
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