Andrew Siciliano of the NFL Network had quite the interesting factoid to open Tuesday's "Total Access" show. With the firing of Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, all but two head coaches hired by NFL teams in 2009 — a total of nine names — have been fired. Only Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions remain.
And you thought the draft class of 2009 was a howler — well, it seems that the coaching fraternity that year was even iffier from a long-term perspective. Coaches don't usually last long in this game at the best of times, but it's unusual that we'll see a near-total blackout of an entire year of coaches just three full seasons after their hires. Caldwell was hired as Tony Dungy's replacement, and it was expected that once Peyton Manning got hurt before the 2011 season, things were going to fall apart. That was as much about the personal missteps of Bill and Chris Polian (who are also gone in Indy) as anything Caldwell did, but there you go; 2-14 says what it says.
As for the other eight names gone, let's do a quick "Where Are They Now?":
Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos — Hired to replace Mike Shanahan and immediately went on a personnel rampage that had Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis out the door. Won his first six games in 2009 and went 5-17 thereafter. Was fired after Week 13 of the 2010 season, but he also drafted Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft, so he's got that going for him. McDaniels coordinated St. Louis' offense in 2011 to minimal effect, and he was last seen running back to New England to replace Bill O'Brien as the Patriots' offensive coordinator — the position he held before Denver hired him.
Jim Mora, Seattle Seahawks — The former Atlanta Falcons head coach was brought over by former Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell to replace Mike Holmgren, and that move was announced before Holmgren's last season, effectively making Holmgren a lame duck at the end of a very successful decade. Mora was an unmitigated disaster in 2009, using tough talk and throwing kicker Olindo Mare under the bus after a loss to the Chicago Bears. He was fired after one season, took a year off to do analysis at the NFL Network and other places, and recently replaced Rick Neuheisel as UCLA's head coach.
Eric Mangini, Cleveland Browns — Mangini was retained by Holmgren, the Browns' new team president, after a 5-11 season in 2009, but the same record in 2010 sealed his fate. Like McDaniels, he's seen as proof positive that Bill Belichick's acolytes aren't always getting the lessons of the master, but he's been doing an outstanding job as an ESPN analyst of late. Of all the coaches on this list, he's probably got the best shot at another head coaching gig.
Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers — The Hall of Fame linebacker was less impressive as a head coach — he was more famous for pulling his pants down in the locker room as a motivational tactic, benching tight end Vernon Davis mid-game, and a series of very interesting press conferences. Last seen as the linebackers coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders — Cable put together a fairly impressive Raiders team in his two full seasons as the head coach; he was actually hired as an interim head coach with five weeks gone in the 2008 season. However, disagreements with Al Davis, and a series of embarrassing allegations regarding a violent past and present, sealed his fate there. Cable was last seen doing a very impressive job with the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line.
Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs — The man who put together the offense that got the Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII got off to a great start with the Chiefs — they were the AFC's surprise team of 2010 with a 10-6 record. But a disappointing follow-up year — and apparently, some really weird stuff going on in the Chiefs' front office — set things on the wrong path. Last rumored to be scouted as the Jets' passing game coach, Haley is still looking for a new place to land, but he'll probably get another shot as a head coach down the road. Underrated as a pure football guy.
Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams — "Spags" was the Giants' defensive coordinator when the G-Men upset Josh McDaniels' combustible Patriots offense in Super Bowl XLII, and that got him the job with the Rams as Scott Linehan's full-time replacement. Following a 1-15 season with a depleted roster, Spagnuolo went 7-9 in 2010 with new quarterback Sam Bradford and what looked to be an improved team. But a huge host of injuries blew the Rams apart in 2011, and Spagnuolo was sent packing in favor of Jeff Fisher. He might wind up replacing Gregg Williams, Fisher's new defensive coordinator, in New Orleans.
Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — A longtime big name as a defensive backs coach before his head coaching hire by the Bucs, Morris matched Haley's surprise accomplishment in the NFC by leading his team to a 10-6 record in 2010 after a 3-13 first season. In 2011, Josh Freeman's regression and an unusually porous defense front sunk Tampa Bay in a ridiculously competitive NFC South. He was recently hired by the Washington Redskins to coach their defensive backs, and he'll probably get another shot down the road. Still a highly respected name.
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