Monday, December 31, 2012

Seven NFL head coaches fired in one day

Quite a day for NFL sacks.

Seven coaches and five general managers were fired Monday in a flurry of pink slips that were delivered the day after the regular-season ended.

There could be more, but so far the sent-packing scorecard looks like this:

Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Lovie Smith in Chicago, and Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, all coaches who took teams to the Super Bowl, Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.

Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach — San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and in New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.

Reid was the longest tenured of the coaches, removed after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 — a loss to New England.

***

Chan Gailey didn't work out after three losing seasons, leaving the Buffalo Bills looking for their fifth head coach since 2001.

The Bills fired Gailey on Monday after he failed to deliver on his vow to transform a losing franchise into a playoff contender. Gailey's entire staff was fired, too, but the status of general manager Buddy Nix remained uncertain.

Gailey's teams lost twice as many games as they won, going 16-32 over three seasons. The Bills have now posted eight straight losing seasons, and closed with a second straight 6-10 mark after beating the New York Jets 28-9 on Sunday.

***

The Kansas City Chiefs are doing more than looking for a new coach after firing Romeo Crennel on Monday. They're changing the entire structure of the organization.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in an interview with The Associated Press that he will hire the next head coach and that person will report directly to him. That's a departure from the previous 53 years in Kansas City, where the head coach had always reported to the general manager.

Hunt relieved the 65-year-old Crennel of his duties after a 38-3 loss to Denver on Sunday that finished off a 2-14 season, tied for the worst in franchise history.

***

Before the ball dropped on a new year, the Browns said goodbye to another coach.

The same thing happened after seasons in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2010.

One day after another dismal, double-digit loss season ended, the Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert, the initial offseason moves by new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who intend to put a stop to the franchise's never-ending cycle of change. The Browns' next coach will be their sixth since 1999.

***
The Arizona Cardinals have fired coach Ken Whisenhunt after six seasons that included the long-suffering franchise's only Super Bowl appearance.  The team also ousted general manager Rod Graves, who had been with the franchise for 16 years. He'd been general manager since 2007.

The housecleaning by Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, son of team owner Bill Bidwill, followed a season that saw the team start 4-0 but lose 11 of its last 12 to finish 5-11.

The 50-year-old Whisenhunt had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, 4-2 in the playoffs. He had a year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract.  Of the team's three winning seasons the past 28 years, two came with Whisenhunt as coach.

***

Andy Reid's worst coaching season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Monday after 14 years when he was fired by owner Jeffrey Lurie, who said it was time ''to move in a new direction.''

The dismissal came one day after Reid and the Eagles were humiliated 42-7 by the New York Giants and ended their season at 4-12.

***

The San Diego Chargers fired coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith on Monday after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

Coming after a season of stunning come-from-ahead losses and increasing fan anger, the firings complete a startling fall for a team that won the AFC West from 2006-09.

The Chargers are the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114-122-1.

***

The Chicago Bears reached the Super Bowl under coach Lovie Smith and consistently boasted a formidable defense.

However, they missed the playoffs too many times, never solved their problems on offense and even after a 10-win season they are moving on without him.

The Bears fired Smith on Monday after the team missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. General manager Phil Emery delivered the news to Smith on the day after the Bears beat Detroit to finish 10-6 but still didn't make the playoffs.

Hired in 2004, Smith led the 2006 team to the Super Bowl, but he also saw his team collapse in the second half of the past two seasons. He was let go with a year left on his contract, ending a nine-year run that produced an 81-63 record, three division titles and two appearances in the NFC championship game.

*** [1/4/13]

Kansas City names Andy Reid as head coach

*** [1/16/13]

In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Philadelphia Eagles their guy.

The Eagles hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he originally decided to stay at Oregon. The 49-year-old Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.

Kelly, 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in a two-day span after leading the fast-flying Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

... Thanks Andy Reid.

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