Categories: Sports

NFL Coaching Carousel: 20% of the NFL Teams Fire Head Coaches

In less than 24 hours after the 2018 NFL regular season ended, numerous teams have fired their head coaches as they begin the New Year in a new direction. Some of these firings were expected, while others are a moderate surprise. With that in mind, let’s take a look at these fast and furious NFL firings:

16 Years Later: Bengals and Marvin Lewis Part Ways

This marriage was over a long time ago and many people were shocked that Marvin Lewis even lasted 16 years. Cincinnati (6-10) has suffered their third straight losing season this year, which was the 6th losing season in Marvin’s tenure. Furthermore, the Bengals never made it past the first round of the playoffs and went 0-7 in the postseason.

Despite those shortcomings, Marvin still finishes as the all-time winningest coach in Bengals history with a record of 131-122-3. He also had 5 AFC North division titles in his 16 years.

Bengals owner Mike Brown had this to say about Lewis after the announcement of his departure:

“The team is very appreciative of all that Marvin has accomplished over the past 16 years. I thank him for what he’s meant to this franchise. But it is time to turn the page and look toward the next chapter for our organization, and we are excited about what the future holds for the team and our fans.”

Although they are calling it a mutual parting of ways, Lewis was going to be fired if he wanted to stick around longer. Marvin Lewis still has a desire to coach in the NFL and should be a name that’s considered for other openings in the league. At the very least, he could end up as a defensive coordinator.

Broncos Fire Vance Joseph After 2 Losing Seasons

After two years on the job, the Denver Broncos have decided that Vance Joseph was no longer the man to lead this team where the owners and John Elway want it to go. On Monday, the Broncos announced that they have fired Joseph and will begin looking for his replacement.

President of Football Operations and GM John Elway commented on the firing of Joseph:

“Vance made a lot of strides and deserves credit for how hard and competitively the team played this season. There’s always going to be a high standard here — The bottom line is we need to win more football games. We’re excited about the foundation that’s being built and look forward to putting in the work to get the Broncos back on the winning track.”

Vance Joseph was hired on January 17th, 2017, and fired less than two years later. He finished with a record of 11-21, which is a .344 winning percentage. Although the Broncos looked much better this season than the 2017 season, they still looked inept at times and failed to make significant progress. Their new head coach will be tied to what the team plans on doing at the QB position this offseason. Joseph is another name being considered for openings at defensive coordinator.

Steve Wilks out After 1 Year with Cardinals

Halfway through the season, expectations of Wilks’ demise began to surface as many NFL media outlets, critics and yours truly felt that Wilks was done after the year. It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to confirm these expectations as they fired Wilks on December 31st.

The Cardinals finished the year at 3-13 and lost in Week 17 via last second field goal to the Seahawks. Arizona’s abysmal season guarantees them the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, which also played a small part in the decision to go in a new direction.

Wilks is the first coach to be fired after one season with the Cardinals since Joe Kuharich in 1952. He becomes the 9th coach in the last 12 years to be fired after only one season on the job.

Players have come out and publicly supported Wilks after the firing and acknowledged that they let him down. Wilks is a candidate to land a coordinator job in the league, so it won’t be all doom and gloom for the Wilks’ household in 2019.

Dolphins Send Adam Gase Packing

One day after getting destroyed by the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins began cleaning house. Not only was head coach Adam Gase fired, but the team also reassigned Executive VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had this to say about the firing of coach Gase:

“I want to thank Adam for his hard work and dedication to the Miami Dolphins. This decision was not easy as he gave everything he had to the organization. I wish him and his family the best going forward.”

Gase was hired on January 9th, 2016, and became the 12th head coach in team history. Gase had worked his way up the food chain by becoming one of the league’s best offensive coordinators.

From 2009 to 2014 he was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. In 2015, he went to the Chicago Bears and became the OC. Unfortunately, the Dolphins finished 23-25 under Gase which is just under a .500 (.479) winning percentage.

In 2018, the Dolphins were 7-7 and on the cusp of making the playoffs. But, things went badly and they finished the season 7-9. Gase is also a candidate to land on his feet for another team as an offensive coordinator, which he still excels at.

Jets Mercifully End Tenure of Todd Bowles

Out of all the NFL firings in the last 24 hours, this was the most expected. Todd Bowles was a “dead man walking” for at least half of the 2018 regular season.

Many media outlets speculated that Bowles would be fired during the season, but the Jets front office assured the team and fanbase that wasn’t going to happen. So, less than 8 hours after the regular season ended, New York fired Bowles instead.

Jets Chairman and CEO Cristopher Johnson made the following statement about the Bowles firing:

“I would like to thank Coach Bowles for his dedication to the New York Jets for the last four years. After carefully evaluating the situation, I have concluded that this is the right direction for the organization to take. I would like to wish Todd, Taneka and their family only the best.”

Bowles finished his tenure with a 24-40 record and three straight losing seasons. The Jets lost 21 of their last 27 games under his watch. After starting the 2018 season at 3-3, the Jets went 1-9 the rest of the year. It was the 8th straight season that the Jets missed the playoffs, which is the 3rd longest active streak in the NFL.

Since 2000, the Jets have hired 6 coaches, which is 3rd most in their division behind the Dolphins and Bills who both have 10.

Bucs Fire Koetter Before Late Games End

Tampa Bay didn’t even wait until Sunday night before firing head coach Dirk Koetter. In fact, before the late games of the day were completed, Tampa had canned Koetter after three years as their head coach. Tampa Owner and Co-Chairman Joel Glazer had the following comments about Koetter and the team:

“We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by Dirk over the past several years. Working with Dirk has been a pleasure and we wish him and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be conducted by General Manager Jason Licht.”

Koetter was named the 11th head coach in the team’s history as he replaced Love Smith in January 2016. During his 3-years at the helm, Tampa went 19-29 overall. In his first year, Tampa went 9-7 and barely missed the playoffs. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there as Tampa went 10-22 over the next two seasons.

They were 5-11 in 2018 as they endured a QB controversy throughout the majority of the season. In addition to finding a new coach, Tampa will also have to decide what to do with the QB position and their starter Jameis Winston.

Early Season Betting Odds for Coaches Getting Fired

In September, we examined the betting odds for coaches on the hot seat. Looking back on BetOnline’s NFL betting odds, we can see that many of the favorites did get fired. The following is a list of the recently fired head coaches and their previous betting odds:

  • Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns 5/1
  • Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos 10/1
  • Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals 10/1
  • Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10/1
  • Todd Bowles, New York Jets 12/1
  • Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals 25/1
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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