By lunchtime Monday, seven National Football League coaches were looking for work.
With the regular season ending the day before, the firings came at a furious clip and within a two-hour span the following were sacked: Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Lovie Smith in Chicago, Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo,
Though he also had a losing record, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan held onto his job while general manager Mike Tannenbaum was let go. Jacksonville fired its GM, Gene Smith, and coach Mike Mularkey could go soon.
The Chargers and Browns made it a clean sweep. San Diego dismissed GM A.J. Smith along with Turner. Cleveland fired GM Tom Heckert along with Shurmur.
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 Super Bowl in 2006 – a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Turner went 56-40 with the Chargers, the third team to fire him as head coach. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09 – he was 3-3 in the playoffs – but didn’t make the postseason the last three years.
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 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.
“Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” Lurie said. “But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon.”
Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change – the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.
Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons, including taking the Cardinals to a Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh after the 2008 season. The 50-year-old had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, 4-2 in the playoffs. He had a year worth about $US5.5 million ($A5.33 million) left on his contract.
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 a 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 this year and has struggled to put together a productive offence throughout Smith’s tenure. His record was 81-63 with the Bears.