The Darkest Of Days For NFL Coaches, and GMs are Upon Us

With the completion of the 2022 NFL Regular Season yesterday. 16 teams in the NFL are moving on to the playoff for the chance to play for the Lombardi trophy.  The other teams well they are heading back to the drawing board as they say.

Monday the day after the regular season is known in the NFL as Black Monday. It symbolizes the day in which teams owners of the teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs pull the trigger on changes at the top of their football operations.   

It is a day dreaded by Head Coaches and GMs alike.

The Casualties So Far

Houston Texans– Lovie Smith was hired for one reason: to lose games and advance the Texan’s rebuild. But like David Culley before him, he was a failure at being a failure. Houston won one too many games and missed its opportunity for the top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

That’s not why Smith was fired he was almost certainly always going to be one-and-done like Culley. But it wasn’t a point in his favor. The Texans rallied to beat the Colts in Week 18, but they still finished 3-13-1.

The next coach for the Texans will inherit a roster with a handful of nice young defensive pieces. The number one priority for Houston has to be a franchise, Quarterback. With the second overall pick in this spring’s draft that certainly can be achieved.  This should be a selling point for Smith’s successor. He will also have to deal with holes across the roster and a disheveled ownership group.

Arizona Cardinals- Cliff Kingsbury is out less than one year after signing a massive four-year extension. Although Kingsbury had to coach a team without DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games. Kyler Murray for the last five games. Tight end Zach Ertz for the last seven games. Without four of the Cardinals’ five starting offensive linemen for stretches this season. He was still relieved of his duties as the Cardinals set out to find their third head coach in the last six years. The firing of both Kingsbury is certainly an indictment of a cultural issue inside the Cardinals organization.

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The Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts

Denver Broncos Hackett was a disaster through and through. The man who’d helped guide Aaron Rodgers to back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021. Oversaw Russell Wilson’s plummet from “franchise cornerstone” to “borderline top 30 quarterbacks.” Rather than guide the Broncos back to the postseason, Hackett’s complete inability to generate offense tanked the 2022 season and ensured the first and second-round picks headed to the Seattle Seahawks as part of the Wilson trade will be wildly valuable.

Wilson, bad as he has been, signed a lucrative extension last off-season that ties him to Denver through at least 2025. Someone had to go, and the head coach unable to gameplan for his quarterback or manage in-game clock situations efficiently was the easiest choice. Carolina Panthers– Rhule was a fixer at the college level, leading Temple, and Baylor to great heights with quick turnarounds. He couldn’t do the same in Carolina. While he was often limited by underwhelming quarterback play, his ignominious tenure looks even worse when you consider the success interim coach Steve Wilks has had in his stead.

Rhule was the first head coach fired during the 2022 regular season. He lasted only five weeks — and one win — into his third season coaching on Sundays. Indianapolis Colts- Reich’s firing after Week 9 was a bit of a surprise. After all, he’d led a Colts team in constant need of consistent quarterbacking to a winning record and a pair of postseason berths. But his 2022 Indianapolis team underwhelmed en route to a 3-5-1 start, leading to his ousting.

Of course, the biggest surprise for the franchise was yet to come. Owner Jim Irsay used Reich’s departure to name former center Jeff Saturday. A man with zero coaching experience above the high school level his interim head coach. Saturday has been a success in exactly one regard; he’s lost enough games to put the Colts in a position to land their next franchise quarterback.

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What’s Next

More Coaches. Coordinators and GMs will undoubtedly become victims on this day and the days to follow as we move through the 2023 NFL offseason. 

Of course, we here in the Delaware Valley have been spared from the black Monday shenanigans our team is headed to the playoffs as the number one seed in the NFC.  But one can’t help but imagine for the day that complete liberation will come.  When we here in Philadelphia can celebrate Black Monday but until then all I can do is.  FIRE HOWIE.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.