As I sit and write this, I’m reminded that today is officially “Black Monday.” No, it’s not the day that we do our after Christmas or New Year’s shopping. It’s the day after the NFL season ends when many head coaches lose their jobs. Coaches that may have been on the proverbial hot seat during the season.
So far, there have been four coaches dismissed from their teams. Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland; Pat Shurmur, New York Giants; Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins and Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers. Two others could be let go by the time you read this: Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars and Jason Garret, Dallas Cowboys.
The rumor mill says that the Redskins are very interested in Rivera and that the Giants could dip into the college ranks by hiring Matt Rhule from Baylor. I wouldn’t be surprised if most teams looking for a coach wait until the Cowboys decide what they’re going to do with Garret. He will be a hot commodity if he has indeed coached his last game in Dallas. His contract expires on January 14th, so there may be no news from the Big D until then.
Garret would be intriguing. He is 85-67 in nine seasons with the Cowboys. He is 2-3 in the playoffs. The knock against Garret is that he has gone 8-8 four times in his career, including this year when the Cowboys roster looked loaded from top to bottom. His teams continually underperform and they often look unprepared. Obviously, that would be a huge upgrade to several teams currently looking for a new coach.
If the Cowboys move on from Garret, it’s anybody’s guess where they go from there. There are a few college coaches that they could pursue. Rhule, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Urban Meyer, who has expressed interest in the job. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has stated that he would like to have a proven NFL coach.
I really think that Jones holds the chips in the coaching carousel that we’re about to witness. Like them or not, the Cowboys job is one of the THE best coaching jobs in the NFL. Several guys will be interested if it opens up and Jones will pretty much have his pick of the litter. I expect Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy to be one of those guys.
Speaking of the Chiefs, in case you missed it, which I doubt you did, they were able to earn the #2 seed in the AFC Playoffs when they defeated the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots were upset by the Miami Dolphins. An interesting stat that they showed during the Chiefs game was teams that played in the opening weekend of the playoffs had a 20% chance of winning the Super Bowl while teams that had a bye in the first week had a 78% chance to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs will host the 2nd round and then probably have to play at Baltimore in the AFC Championship game. However, if Baltimore falls in the 2nd round, the Chiefs will host the AFC Championship.
Who knows, crazy things do happen, isn’t that right, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald?
–Rob Mooney, Metro Voice sports writer