We are just days away from from the end of the NFL's regular season which means Black Monday is looming. That's the day where a lot of coaches get relieved of their duties.
This year is extremely interesting. One, there has been a lot of turmoil in several organizations. Two, heading into the weekend, only 3 of the 16 games have zero playoff implications. Some of the coaches that may be on the hot seat are a win away from making the playoffs.
Instead of doing a ranking of who is on the hottest of seats, I'm just going division by division to get a bit of perspective on any heat.
Hot Seat check:
The only coach that feels safe is Chip Kelly (Eagles). Whether they beat Dallas and win the NFC East or not doesn't matter; he's good. No one else can say that. In Dallas, Jason Garrett (Cowboys) has the backing of Jerrah Jones but not everyone believes that. The Cowboys are the epitome of average over the last 17 years or so and a loss would put them at 8-8 ... their 3rd straight 8-8 season and making them 136-136 over the last 17 seasons. The fact that he may not have Tony Romo for this big game (and Jones' belief about Romo's awesomeness) helps him if they fall. If I had money on it, Garrett will stay at least one more season.
The other two jobs are interesting. Both are multiple Super Bowl winners who had really bad seasons this year. Tom Coughlin (Giants) to me should come back. I know his style can wear thin, but it also has proven to work. I don't think it's all his fault (*cough* Eli) and I think he deserves at least another season after what he's done for that team. Hopefully if they want him gone, maybe just a retirement can make this easier. Mike Shanahan (Redskins) is currently overseeing a mess in Washington. With all these rumors coming out about the coaching staff, the owner Daniel Snyder and the franchise QB Robert Griffin II, it is hard to believe that Shanahan won't be the won't chopped off. But in DC, you never know.
We all know Sean Payton (Saints) is good and the guy on everyone's hot seat list over the last two years, Ron Rivera (Panthers) is now probably safe too. I mean, how can you fire Rivera when he is one more win from tying the franchise record for most wins? Mike Smith (Falcons) is most likely fine. However, was this season just a blip caused by a slew of injuries or is this franchise in decline? I ... and the front office ... are leaning toward the former.
Down in Florida, Greg Schiano (Buccaneers) will probably be gone. Sure, the team seemed to stabilize after the whole Josh Freeman debacle, but the writing is on the wall.
Mike McCarthy (Packers) has done a lot in Green Bay and is gravy. So is Marc Trestman (Bears) in Chicago.
Jim Schwartz (Lions) is done. Personally, I've felt this team has woefully underperformed during his helm in Detroit. This team has all the talent in the world but Schwartz' leadership has caused them to make so many errors. Dropped passes, bad passes, personal fouls, bad penalties and all of that are universally attributed to Schwartz' leadership. Leslie Frazier (Vikings) is also done. Minnesota had that surprising playoff appearance last year but Frazier has done little else there.
This isn't a very hot division. Pete Carroll (Seahawks) and Jim Harbaugh (49ers) are golden. Bruce Arians (Cardinals) could win Coach Of The Year for the 2nd straight season for two different franchises. Jeff Fisher (Rams) probably is safe despite not having St. Louis doing much in his two seasons there. Not much to see here.
Bill Belichick (Patriots) is going nowhere. Rex Ryan (Jets) probably is. The irony is that Ryan probably did his best coaching job this season. However, the circus that surrounds this organization and the lack of improvement of anyone on offense should force him out. It seems as if Ryan may be better served going back into that defensive coordinator role and again be one of the best at it.
Doug Marone (Bills) is finishing up his first season where he had an injured rookie quarterback and other injury issues. He should be good.
Joe Philbin (Dolphins) is an interesting case. They are surprisingly inches away from winning a wild card berth. On the surface, it would make little sense to fire a guy that make get the Phins to the postseason for just the 2nd time in 12 years. Still, this franchise has been stuck in the friend zone for a few years now and Philbin looked extremely weak during the entire Richie Incognito drama. I think that what happens this weekend goes a long way to his future in South Beach.
The Texans job is already open. Gus Bradley (Jaguars) won 4 games with that joke of a roster so he should be okay. Chuck Pagano (Colts) has his team back winning divisions like Indianapolis is used to.
Mike Munchak (Titans) could be gone. The Titans have turned into that team you totally forget exist just because they live in that below average world. Still, he didn't have Jake Locker for a lot of the season so maybe he gets a break. Tough call.
Marvin Lewis (Bengals) has gotten the Bengals back into the playoffs and his owner loves him. He may get a statue erected outside Paul Brown Stadium. John Harbaugh (Ravens) has his team close to the playoffs and is coming off a Super Bowl title. Mike Tomlin (Steelers) has had missteps this season that has put his legacy in question, but the Steelers rarely make rash decisions. Rod Chudinzki (Browns) has had one heck of a time at quarterback this year yet the Browns, despite their record, have been very competitive.
Andy Reid (Chiefs) is good. So is John Fox (Broncos). Mike McCoy (Chargers) is in his first season and has the Chargers playing good ball right now.
That leaves one slot. I feel bad for Dennis Allen (Raiders). He was hired to take over a team that decided to just weather their salary cap horrors to start fresh in 2014. The problem is that he may not be the guy who sees the upside of that transformation. He's done a decent job considering, but this is Oakland and no one sticks around for very long.