Who will be the first NFL coach fired this season? Well if you read my 2017 NFL Bold Predictions article, you already know Todd Bowles will be the only coach to be fired during the season. But what about the other 31 coaches? How hot is their seat? Below I ranked every coach on a scale of 1 to 5.
Rating 5- Seat is on fire: These coaches need a Hail Mary to keep their job.
Jets- Todd Bowles
Would you believe me if I told you the Jets have the worst roster in the league? Of course you would, because it’s true. The Jets are all in for tanking and rebuilding, sorry Jets fans. This team is destined to go 1-15 this season, land the first overall pick in the 2018 draft and fire Bowles, using him as an escape goat for why the team is a mess. Bowles is a good coach and may get a new job as soon as the 2018 season. Therefore, Bowles should already be looking into moving companies.
4- Seat is hot: These coaches need to have a good season to save their job.
Bears- John Fox
In his two years in Chicago, Fox is 9-23 and during the final couple of weeks of the 2016 season a lot of fans didn’t show up to home games. Fox took both the Panthers and the Broncos to the Super Bowl in the past, but with the Bears coming off a 3-13 season, the team has to show significant improvement this year or else Fox will be looking for a new job.
Colts- Chuck Pagano
After three straight seasons at 11-5, including a trip to the AFC title game, the Colts have finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs the last two season. That won’t get it done this year as Jim Irsay is one of the league’s most unpredictable owners. Pagano’s seat has always been warm and he was reportedly almost fired in January 2016 only to be given a contract extension instead. Irsay expects the Colts to contend this year, however with a poor overall roster and Andrew Luck missing the start of the season, the Colts aren’t likely to make the playoffs and Pagano isn’t likely to keep his job.
Texans- Bill O’Brien
Despite back-to-back 9-7 seasons, the Texans are coming off their second straight AFC south division title and usually that would keep a coach’s seat cold. However, O’Brien has a lot of pressure on him to improve the Texans offense this season. Last year the Texans ranked tied for 28th in points per game. Rather than hire a new offensive coordinator this offseason, O’Brien will take over as the playcaller. If the Texans offense doesn’t drastically improve this year, perhaps not even a playoff appearance will save O’Brien’s job.
3- Seat is room temperature: These coaches could be fired if the season turns into disaster.
Bengals- Marvin Lewis
After five straight seasons with a playoff appearance, the Bengals had a disappointing 2016 season finishing 6-9-1. The Bengals struggled with injuries last year and Lewis could have been fired at the end of the year. Instead, Lewis enters the 2017 season with no new contract in sight and owner Mike Brown has said there are no parameters that would guarantee Lewis a new contract. While it isn’t “playoffs or bust” for Lewis this season, if he can lead the Bengals back to the playoffs his job is safe.
Buccaneers- Dirk Koetter
Last year the Buccaneers finished 9-7 and just missed out on the playoffs. In the offseason the team spent big money and draft currency to give Jameis Winston several new weapons. Koetter has done a good job with Winston. The Glazers, the owners, fired Lovie Smith after the 2015 season and promoted Koetter from offensive coordinator to head coach to avoid losing him to another team. While Koetter’s job is safe, if the team regresses severely the Glazers have fired coaches after two years before.
Dolphins- Adam Gase
In his first season as the Dolphins head coach, Gase was playing with “house money” as the team was expected to struggle. After a 10-6 record, the bar has been raised for Gase. Even with a season-ending injury to Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins are expected to at least contend for a playoff spot. While it is a long shot that Gase is fire; it is possible if the Dolphins totally fall apart and the owner losses faith in him.
Eagles- Doug Pederson
Even though he is entering his second season as the Eagles head coach, the clock is ticking on Pederson. Owner Jeffrey Lurie believes he has something special in Carson Wentz and then spent big money in free agency. With Lurie expecting the team to take a major step forward this season, Pederson’s seat could get hot real quick if the team struggles early in the season.
Giants- Ben McAdoo
In his first year as the head coach, McAdoo led the Giants to a 11-5 record and a playoff appearance for the first time in five years. While that is all fine and dandy, McAdoo now has more serious expectations on his plate this year. He will have to figure out how to reshape the offense given the team’s weak offensive line. Barring a total melt down of the offense and a 3-13 record, McAdoo is safe.
Lions- Jim Caldwell
Coming off their second playoff appearance in three years, Caldwell’s job is secure. However, the team limped into the playoffs last season as they lost their last three regular season games. Then to top off the ugly end to the season, the Lions were crushed in the Wildcard round, losing 26-6 to the Seahawks. The Lions are expected to contend for the NFC North title this year and while it isn’t “playoffs or bust” for Caldwell, if the team ends the season in an ugly fashion again, he could be let go.
Panthers- Ron Rivera
Rivera was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015, taking the Panthers to a league best 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance. However, the Panthers have a losing record in four of Rivera’s six seasons. The team fired general manger Dave Gettleman a little over a month ago and Rivera could be out the door next if the team has another losing season.
Ravens- John Harbaugh
Despite winning a Super Bowl in 2012 and beating the rival Steelers in the 2014 playoffs, Harbaugh’s seat is warmer then people think. The Ravens have missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons and this franchise is used to consistent playoff appearances. While it is unlikely that owner Steve Bisciotti decides a change is needed, it is a real possibility. Good news for Harbaugh is if he is fired, he would be the top coaching candidate on the market.
Redskins- Jay Gruden
During the Redskins wild offseason the team gave Gruden a two year contract extension and he would be owed $15 million if fired. With that much money left on his deal, Gruden is more than likely safe. After winning the NFC East division in 2015, the team unperformed in 2016. While Gruden is entering his fourth season as the head coach, no coach has lasted more than four years under owner Dan Snyder. It’s a long shot, but it’s the Redskins; don’t rule out anything.
Saints- Sean Payton
With three straight seasons at 7-9, Payton’s seat is hotter than many believe. The team did give him a five year extension last offseason and believe he can get the Saints back into the playoffs. However, if the team goes 7-9 again or Drew Brees calls it a career, Payton or the team may decided it’s time for a change.
2- Seat is cold: These coaches are all but guaranteed safe with very little chance of being fired.
49ers- Kyle Shanahan
With a six year deal, Shanahan’s job is safe even if the 49ers go 1-15 this season. The six year deal signals the team expects this to be a long rebuilding process and with that the organization understands that the team will struggle this year. However, owner Jed York has fired three coaches in the past three seasons, so never say never.
Bills- Sean McDermott
Rarely are first year head coaches fired, so McDermott should be back in 2018. Entering his first year with the team is also general manager Brandon Beane. The team recently made a few trades which signals they are looking towards the future. Either way McDermott is safe.
Broncos- Vance Joseph
Another first year head coach, Joseph is in a great situation. As a defensive minded coach he now has one of the best, if not the best, defense in football. However, he now has to manage a whole team and the quarterback position is ugly in Denver. Even if the team struggles because of the quarterback position, Joseph will be back in 2018.
Browns- Hue Jackson
While the Browns went 1-15 in Jackson’s first season as the Browns’ head coach, the team is committed to giving Jackson at least through the 2018 season. The Browns’ biggest problem for their struggles over the last almost 20 years is lack of stability and leadership; Jackson provides both. The team expects to see development in its young players and while Jackson’s firing would be a shock, the Browns did fire three coaches in a four year span.
Chargers- Anthony Lynn
With the move from San Diego to Los Angeles, the team won’t fire Lynn after one season. However, Lynn will have to win “the battle for L.A.” well before the Chargers move into their new Inglewood stadium in 2020 or else the team will use his firing and replacement as a headliner entering the new stadium.
Chiefs- Andy Reid
With a recent contract extension, Reid’s job is safe. With the firing of veteran general manager John Dorsey, Reid now has a more important role in football operations. With a bigger role in the organization it would take a total meltdown for the team to even consider firing Reid.
Cowboys- Jason Garrett
Coming off an NFC East division title and the best record in the conference, Garrett’s seat is cold. However, if the Cowboys totally fall apart this season he could be let go. In 2014 the Cowboys went 12-4 only to finish 2015 at 4-12, mainly because of injuries to Tony Romo. Unless Dak Prescott gets hurt and misses most of the season, Garrett can’t afford a disaster season.
Falcons- Dan Quinn
The former Seahawks defensive coordinator took the Falcons to the Super Bowl in just his second season in Atlanta. Quinn has brought a championship mentality and stability to the Falcons. Quinn has a strong relationship with his players and owner Arthur Blank. Expect Quinn back in 2018 no matter what.
Jaguars- Doug Marrone
As a first year head coach in Jacksonville, Marrone will back in 2018. Owner Shahid Khan is one of the more patient owners in the league and won’t fire Marrone even if the team goes 1-15. Marrone has the same philosophy as vice president of football ops, Tom Coughlin. However, Khan expects the team to compete for the division title and Marrone could be in trouble this time next year if the Jaguars lose 10+ games again this year.
Packers- Mike McCarthy
McCarthy might be one the most underrated coaches in the league. The Packers have made the playoffs eight straight seasons under McCarthy. Rumors swirled last year when the Packers were 4-6 that McCarthy could lose his job, that was never the case. However, if the Packers are slow out of the gate again this season and miss the playoffs, McCarthy’s seat could get warm quick.
Raiders- Jack Del Rio
Coming off the team’s first playoff appearance since 2002, Del Rio led the Raiders to a 12-4 record last season and was expected to make a run for the AFC title if not for an injury to Derek Carr. In the offseason the team gave Del Rio a contract extension, further cementing his job security. Del Rio will be back in 2018.
Rams- Sean McVay
As the league’s youngest head coach at age 37, McVay is a star in the making. The Rams have finished the last ten seasons with a losing record and had one of the worst offenses in the league last year. The Rams are expecting McVay to improve the offense and help Jared Goff develop in year two. The Rams know McVay won’t lead the team into the playoffs in year one, so McVay will be back in 2018 no matter what happens this season.
Titans- Mike Mularkey
In his first season as the head coach, Mularkey led the Titans to a 9-7 record and just missed the playoffs after an injury to Marcus Mariota. Thanks to general manager Jon Robinson, the Titans have a very talented roster. Playoffs are expected this season and if the team falls apart and they finish with a losing record, Mularkey would be on the hot seat entering the 2018 season.
Vikings- Mike Zimmer
During the three seasons with Zimmer as the head coach, the Vikings have only one winning season and zero playoff wins. However, the defense has taken a giant step forward under Zimmer and is now one of the best in the league. With extenuating circumstances in both of Zimmer’s losing seasons; Adrian Peterson’s suspension in 2014 and Teddy Bridgewater’s injury in 2016, Zimmer should return in 2018 no matter what happens this season. However, if he returns, his seat will be much warmer.
1- Seat is made of ice: These coaches won’t be fired and have earned the right to leave on his terms.
Cardinals- Bruce Arians
While Arians won’t be fired, he might be forced to retire after the season due to on going health issues. If Arians doesn’t retire, will he want to return to Arizona? The team could be facing a long rebuilding process if both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald retire after the season. Between his health and the team’s plan for a long rebuild, Arians might choose to leave after the 2017 season.
Patriots- Bill Belichick
If there was such a thing as “the most securest job ever” title, it would belong to Belichick. He currently owns the record for the most Super Bowl wins as a head coach with five. Belichick could go 0-16 this year and still have his job in 2018. However, at 65 years old, Belichick might decide to hand the keys to the franchise over to one of his coordinators and retire after the season, especially if the Patriots win another Super Bowl.
Seahawks- Pete Carroll
After Carroll signed his contract extension last offseason, he is under contract through the 2019 season. Even at age 65, Carroll has shown no signs of considering retirement. In six seasons, Carroll has two Super Bowl appearances and one ring; not many coaches can say similarly. With a strong relationship with general manager John Schneider, Carroll seems likely to be the Seahawks head coach till he decides to retire.
Steelers- Mike Tomlin
After signing a contract extension in the past month, Tomlin’s job couldn’t be anymore secured. Now under contract till 2020, Tomlin is only the third Steelers head coach since 1969. The team values stability at the top and Tomlin has produced great results during his ten years in Pittsburgh. He has earned the right to leave on his own terms.