The Fruitcakewalk

The final week of the 2008 NFL regular season has concluded, and right on cue, teams have begun to fire coaches. Some of the firings were obvious; Rod Marinelli was at the help of the first NFL team to ever go 0-16, so it’s no shock that the Lions cut him loose. Over in Denver, the Broncos decided that it was better to buy out the three years left on Mike Shanahan’s contract, than to let him continue running the team as head coach. Or in any position there. The Jets canned Mangini, while the Dolphins,* Browns, Raiders and Rams all showed their head coach the door. Oddly, the Dallas Cowboys reacted to their worst finish in memory by promising to keep Wade Phillips, but in a token move fired Special Teams coach Bruce Read. In Houston, Gary Kubiak celebrated keeping his job by firing three coaches who worked for him, including his defensive coordinator. In San Francisco, interim head-coach Mike Singletary lost the ‘interim’ tag and began clearing house for new coaches, firing his offensive coordinator and two other assistant coaches, while many other teams are looking closely at their staffs to decide whether to ax someone, for poor performance, to open a slot for someone else, or just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Tis the season of the pink slip, and it happens every year.

What’s really goofy, though, is that these same teams will be looking for replacements for those coaches, and what they want in most cases is NFL experience at that position. So, the NFL being a closed market, a cartel if you will, most of these fired coaches will end up with another team, doing pretty much the same thing for the same money. Change of wardrobe, not much else. There are a few changes that happen; the 49ers got a real steal by signing Singletary, a real talent on the field and on the sidelines who was snubbed for many years for no reason other than he lacked head-coaching experience. And there are always a handful of NCAA head coaches who could be considered for open slots. But mainly, the NFL fraternity continues to take care of its own, promising far more change than ever really happens.

* Cameron was fired after the 2007 season, I mis-recalled.

Despite its problems, 2008 was a totally cool year
Last Round Up for 2008
  • bryanD

    The NFL is goofier than WWF but not quite as goofy as the NBA.

  • Mister Tan

    Dolphins? Didn’t Sparano take them to the playoffs a year after a 1-15 record?

  • BigFire

    Me think you’re mistaken. Both Dolphins and Falcons have got a new GM/Head Coach that managed to take them to the playoff this year, and both coach are good candidate for coach of the year.

  • jaymaster

    Eh, who cares?

    I’ll be in Charlotte on the 10th for the Panthers versus Arizona, Minnesota, or Atlanta.

    Things are good in my NFL world!

  • Hermie

    Mike Singletary was long due a head coaching spot. As a player, he was an on-field ‘general’, implementing one of the most complex and aggressive defenses in the NFL. (Buddy Ryan planned the defense, but Mike had to make sure it worked.) He is a great motivational speaker and understands what it takes to be both a great player and a coach.

  • Alan Orfi

    I find it incomprehensible that a head coach as incompetent as Dick Jauron still has a job while a proven winner like Mike Shanahan is looking for work.

  • Matt

    “…who was snubbed for many years for no reason other than he lacked head-coaching experience.”

    The fact that Lane Kiffin and Eric Mangini were handed head coaching jobs before anyone gave Singletary a chance was always an abomination. Neither one of them are worthy of carrying his jockstrap. Jerry Jones was an idiot for not hiring him when he had the chance.