Disclaimer: Coaches and General Managers were fired over the course of this article and are acknowledged at the end
Every year on the Monday after the last Sunday of the NFL Regular Season, there is a ritual of sorts. As of noon December 31, 5 coaches have already been fired and there are more who could be fired. But this so called “Black Monday” is not only a bad day for coaches. Multiple General Managers (GMs) are also fired every year. This year there have already been 4 GMs fired with the possibility of a few more being fired in KC, San Diego, Arizona and Detroit still evaluating the position.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann
Every year the moves puzzle me. I feel like a coach like Romeo Crennel should not be fired. The Chiefs had a terrible season, but Crennel is not to blame for the team’s struggles. On the other hand, the team’s GM, Scott Pioli, has not yet been fired. Pioli was hired by Kansas City after being a part of the front office that built the dynasty in New England and the Chiefs ownership had hoped that he would be able to have similar success. Pioli brought QB Matt Cassel, former Patriots backup, with him from New England. Needless to say, Cassel has not panned out as planned. Pioli also tried to rebuild the coaching staff from the early New England days by hiring Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively. In Kansas City, Pioli has not been overly successful in the draft, recently focusing a lot of attention on defense and particularly the defensive line. As of now, Crennel will be fired because he could not get the team that Pioli put together to perform well.
On the other hand, a coach like Norv Turner deserved to be fired. Turner took over a team that went 14-2 in Marty Schottenheimer’s final season before he was fired (ridiculous in its own right). The team Turner took over was a great team with enormous amounts of talent such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Phillip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates. Norv was unable to make the most of this talent as he could win just 1 playoff game after his first season in San Diego. Norv has not been successful as a head coach with any team that he has coached, and he deserved to be fired. With that being said, the Chargers made the decision to fire their GM as well, a very smart move because AJ Smith has shown that he could not make the moves necessary to have a successful team. Yes, Norv Turner still had plenty of weapons to use and should have done much better than he did, but Smith constantly allowed star players to leave such as Tomlinson, Jackson and Michael Turner to name a few. The Chargers ownership made a decision to start over with a new GM and new Head Coach, a move that will most likely be very helpful in the long run.
Photo Credit: M. Ebenhack/AP Photo
And now the most puzzling scenario of “Black Monday”, the New York Jets fired their GM Mike Tannenbaum, but will keep Head Coach Rex Ryan. Maybe Woody Johnson figured that Rex was hurt by losing his 2 best players (Darelle Revis and Santonio Holmes) early in the season. I am not a fan of Ryan, mostly because I really did not like how Rex started running his mouth and bragging at his introductory press conference as a head coach, but I do think that most of the Jets problems were caused by Mike Tannenbaum because this team simply was not built well. They had just 2 solid skill players on offense in Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller and both got hurt this year. The offensive line was porous and the quarterback was bad. On top of that, he handed out the most ridiculous contract extension that I can remember; he gave QB Mark Sanchez an extension because they might have talked to Peyton Manning last offseason. The extension was basically saying “Sorry for talking to the best quarterback to play in the NFL in the last 25 years. How about we give you more money and you pretend it didn’t happen. Would that make it all better?” So I completely understand firing Mike Tannenbaum, but I do not understand what the Jets did. Why in any situation would a team fire the GM and not the Head Coach? Most of the time, a GM will go into a situation and that person will want to hire a new coach that fits the model of what the GM wants to do. Instead the Jets will hire a new GM, and then when they realize that Rex does not fit into what the GM wants to do, they will fire Rex too. Why not just get everything done in one offseason rather than basically waste a year?
This is “Black Monday”. These are 3 basic situations that can happen. It is now just about 3 pm on December 31. Since I have started writing this article, Arizona fired their coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves, and the Chargers finally officially fired coach Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith. These firings bring the coach count to 7 and the GM count to 6. In total, 13 firings and I would not be surprised to see more in the coming days.