The NFL regular-season has come to a close, and with it likely comes some changing of the guard among current head coaches.
Every year, “Black Monday,” the first Monday following the conclusion of the regular season, sees a wave of head coaches and front office executives let go as teams that had disappointing seasons start to change up the leadership within the organization.
Last year, there were two coaches fired the day after the season ended. The Chargers fired Anthony Lynn and the Jaguars fired Doug Marrone. Two teams already have interim head coaches, with Darrell Bevell leading the Jaguars after Urban Meyer was fired and Rich Bisaccia serving as the coach of the Raiders after Jon Gruden resigned.
Several other teams will likely be headed toward new coaches to lead their teams into the 2022 season. Sporting News is tracking which teams are making coaching changes on “Black Monday.”
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NFL coaches fired
- Joe Judge, Giants
- Brian Flores, Dolphins
- Matt Nagy, Bears
- Mike Zimmer, Vikings
- Vic Fangio, Broncos
- Urban Meyer, Jaguars
- Jon Gruden, Raiders (resigned)
Joe Judge became the seventh head coach to be fired or resign during the 2021 NFL season, joining Brian Flores, Matt Nagy, Mike Zimmer, Vic Fangio, Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden. The Giants, Dolphins, Bears, Vikings, Broncos, Jaguars and Raiders now have head-coaching vacancies to fill in 2022 with more likely to come. The 2021 hiring cycle also produced seven new head coaches, including Meyer.
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NFL coaches on the hot seat
Will the Bears fire Matt Nagy?
It has long been talked about that this will be the final season in Chicago for Matt Nagy. The 2018 NFL Coach of the Year has led the Bears to their first losing season under his leadership, but it will be the second time in his four years at the helm that Chicago has missed the playoffs.
Much of the concern with Nagy at the helm has been the inability to develop first-round quarterbacks. Mitch Trubisky was taken second overall in 2017, but never developed into the star the Bears were hoping for. Following a season of struggles from 2021 11th-overall pick Justin Fields, the Bears are looking for someone who can make sure the former Ohio State signal-caller is the face of the franchise moving forward.
According to reports, Nagy came into Sunday’s game against the Vikings knowing that it would be his last with the Bears. And on Saturday, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that Sunday would be his final game coaching Chicago. The Bears lost 31-17 to Minnesota to finish the season 31-17.
Boomer has been told that Matt Nagy has been told that he will not return as Head Coach of the Chicago Bears
— Morning Show with Boomer & Gio (@WFANmornings) January 5, 2022
Update: The Bears have fired Nagy, along with GM Ryan Pace.
Bears fired Matt Nagy this morning, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 10, 2022
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Will the Seahawks fire Pete Carroll?
Pete Carroll has led the Seahawks to unprecedented levels of success in the franchise’s history. They reached the playoffs in five straight seasons, including back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, the former of which brought a title to Seattle for the first time. The Seahawks finished in the cellar in 2021 for the first time since Carroll took over, and he has admitted it has been a frustrating season. It also looks like it could be his last in Seattle.
Carroll’s vocal disappointment in the team has led to calls from fans to move on from the winningest coach in team history. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler told 710 AM Seattle that Carroll still has plenty of influence over the team, and that it is more likely he would retire or resign than be fired by the organization. That hasn’t stopped speculation from others like Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, speaking with 670 The Score, that Carroll could be on the move, and that he might be an option for a team like the Bears.
Carroll and the Seahawks ended the season by beating the Cardinals 38-30 to end the year at 7-10, and after the game, Carroll sounded confident in his status moving forward.
Pete Carroll says he doesn’t have any doubts about his future here. “I’m in great shape.”
— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) January 10, 2022
Will the Vikings fire Mike Zimmer?
Another change in the NFC North could be forthcoming after Sunday’s game between the Vikings and Bears. Minnesota has recorded its second straight losing season, the first time it has had two straight sub-.500 years since Mike Zimmer took over as the head coach. It has also been the second season where the Vikings’ defense was one of the worst in the league.
Vikings’ ownership reportedly met last week to discuss personnel changes involving both the head coach and general manager positions, with The Athletic reporting that a move on the future of both Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman could be made on Monday. La Canfora reported for CBS Sports on Saturday that the team is expected to move on from Zimmer at the end of the season.
Zimmer ended the season with a 31-17 win over the Bears to end the season at 8-9. Following the team’s win, Zimmer said that the decision on his future is not up to him, and that he didn’t want to talk about it, according to ESPN.
Update: The Vikings have fired Zimmer, along with general manager Rick Spielman. Zimmer’s Vikings tenure ends with a 72-56 record.
The Minnesota Vikings have fired both head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, per two league sources.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 10, 2022
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Will the Giants fire Joe Judge?
Back in December, a report came out from SNY that Giants’ co-owner John Mara has kept faith that Joe Judge is the right head coach to remain in New York. Instead, the biggest replacement for New York this offseason appears to be in the front office, with the likely retirement or firing of general manager Dave Gettleman. Reports have swirled for a while that Gettleman will not return, but despite the second straight losing season under Judge, he might appear to be safe.
Judge went on a bizarre rant following his team’s crushing loss to the Bears in Week 17 where he defended his team and said many former New York players wish they were still playing for the Giants. It is possible that the performance since that report (0-3 record, outscored 84-19) combined with his tirade could prompt Mara to fire both Gettleman and Judge and just hit the reset button all over again. But since Tom Coughlin’s resignation, no Giants’ coach has lasted more than two seasons. New York might want to end that streak and give Judge one last chance to turn the tide.
Judge ended the season with a 22-7 loss to Washington to fall to 4-13 overall, which included a puzzling decision to call for a quarterback sneak when facing a 3rd-and-9.
Update: The Giants fired Joe Judge on Tuesday after two seasons (10-23). His departure came one day after GM Dave Gettleman announced his retirement.
Will the Broncos fire Vic Fangio?
When George Paton took over as the general manager of the Broncos in 2021, it was reported that Vic Fangio had to lead to the playoffs in 2021 or he would be out following the campaign. The Broncos missed the postseason, but even after elimination from the hunt, Fangio has remained at the helm.
That certainly doesn’t mean that Fangio is going to be around in 2022. Florio reported in December that Fangio was already a candidate to be fired. With new ownership coming to the team in 2022 and already working under a general manager that didn’t hire him, Fangio could be on the way out with new faces at the top looking for a change. La Canfora reported that Fangio is not expected to return after his team’s final game against the Chiefs Saturday.
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Update: The Broncos fired Vic Fangio on Sunday morning following their 28-24 loss to the Chiefs in Week 18. He went 19-30 in three seasons as head coach.