Seven coaches, five GMs axed on Black Monday
NFL sacks 7 coaches, 5 GMs
Pat Shurmur wasn’t the only coach who got a pink slip on Black Friday.
Seven coaches and five general managers were fired 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, 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.
Smith spent nine seasons with the Bears, leading them to the 2007 Super Bowl — a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Turner has now been fired as head coach by three teams. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09, but didn’t make the postseason the last three years.
“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning,” Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement.
Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons, including taking the Cardinals to a Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh after the 2008 season. He had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, and has one year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract. GM Rod Graves had been with Arizona for 16 years, nine in his current position. A 5-11 record after a 4-0 start cost him and Whisenhunt their jobs.
Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills; Shurmur after two; and Crennel had one full season with the Chiefs.
Reid took over a 3-13 Eagles team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.
He led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a trip to the NFL title game. But the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season’s 8-8 finish, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year. Instead, it was even worse. The Eagles finished 4-12.
Crennel took over with three games left in the 2011 season after GM Scott Pioli fired Todd Haley. Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft as a result of having one of the worst seasons in its 53-year history. The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired.
“I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.
Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, compiled a 16-32 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, never doing better than 6-10.
Smith and the Bears went 10-6 this season and just missed a playoff spot. But Chicago started 7-1 and has struggled to put together a productive offense throughout Smith’s tenure. His record was 81-63 with the Bears, and he took them to one Super Bowl loss and to one NFC championship game defeat.
The fired GMs included Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets; Gene Smith of the Jaguars; A.J. Smith of the Chargers and Tom Heckert of the Browns and Graves of Arizona.