Black Monday analysis: Tracking the head coaches fired around the NFL

The day after the NFL’s regular season always means plenty of head coaches losing their jobs.

It’s part of the gig, and every coach goes into it knowing there’s a very good chance that’s how it will end. Some teams didn’t wait until “Black Monday” to make changes. The Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers fired their coaches during the season. Other moves happened after the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Here’s a recap of the teams that are looking for a new head coach.

Cleveland Browns fire Hue Jackson

This move seems like it happened years ago. Jackson was dumped on Oct. 29 after posting a 3-36-1 record as Browns coach, and the Browns got a lot better when he was gone. They went 5-3 under interim coach Gregg Williams and new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, who will each interview for the head-coaching job. It’s an attractive opening due to a ton of young talent, most notably 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield.

Green Bay Packers fire Mike McCarthy

The Packers also didn’t wait to fire McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with them. They made the move on Dec. 2 after a loss to the Cardinals at home. That Super Bowl win offered McCarthy a lot of job security, even as the team underachieved with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has already reached out to some candidates, and notably asked permission to interview New England Patriots coordinators Brian Flores and Josh McDaniels.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Dirk Koetter

Once upon a time, the Buccaneers fired Lovie Smith, and part of the reason was they were worried about losing then-offensive coordinator Koetter. Koetter didn’t work out well, and a constant shuffle at quarterback this season didn’t help. Whoever Tampa Bay’s next coach is will have Jameis Winston at quarterback; the team reportedly decided Winston will be their quarterback in 2019 no matter who the head coach is.

New York Jets fire Todd Bowles

The Jets had instant success with Bowles, going 10-6 his first season, but after three losing seasons the Jets ran out of patience with him. Bowles is a sharp defensive mind and could get interest for other openings, despite his failing in New York. The Jets will likely be looking for an offensive-minded head coach to work with quarterback Sam Darnold, the third pick of the 2018 draft.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles was fired after four seasons. (AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles was fired after four seasons. (AP)

Denver Broncos fire Vance Joseph

Joseph narrowly kept his job after a bad first season in Denver, but couldn’t survive a second straight losing season. It’s the first time the Broncos have had back-to-back losing seasons since 1972. The Broncos’ opening is somewhat attractive because of the team’s history of winning, but it has pitfalls too. General manager John Elway has been impatient with his coaches and hasn’t done a good enough job building the roster, and the quarterback situation is still unsettled.

Miami Dolphins fire Adam Gase

Gase was hailed as an offensive genius when he was hired by Miami, but after three seasons of uninspired offensive football, Gase was let go. He was 23-25 with Miami. He led the Dolphins to the playoffs his first season, but injuries to quarterback Ryan Tannehill in all three of his seasons didn’t help. Whoever takes the Dolphins job could be looking at guiding the team through a rebuilding situation.

Cincinnati Bengals fire Marvin Lewis

Lewis was the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL, but the Bengals finally turned the page. Lewis famously went 0-7 in the playoffs, the most postseason losses without a win for a head coach in NFL history. Cincinnati started well this season and then fell apart, which led to a change. The Bengals are notoriously cheap, which won’t help them looking for a new coach, and don’t have an ideal quarterback situation with 31-year-old Andy Dalton.

Arizona Cardinals fire Steve Wilks

The Cardinals decided one year was enough for Wilks, firing him after a miserable 3-13 season. A win at Green Bay in December seemed like it could be a sign of progress, but the Cardinals were terrible after that. Arizona will have to sell candidates on the potential of quarterback Josh Rosen, who had a bad rookie season after being the 10th pick of the draft. There’s a lot of work to do on the roster, and hopefully the new coach will be afforded more patience than Wilks.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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