When it comes to being an NFL head coach, it is much more complex than what is portrayed on television. For a number of coaches around the league today, some are facing critical seasons with their job status being on the forefront. So which coaches will enter the 2017 season on the proverbial ‘hot seat’?
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals – Lewis is entering his 15th season during his tenure with the Bengals organization and it has for sure been a peculiar one. He has had success (118 wins, four division titles, six seasons of 10 or more wins) but has also had impactful failures (0-7 in the playoffs, several on/off-the-field issues with players). A 6-9-1 season in 2016 ended a string of five straight playoff appearances. Granted, the losing seasons have not been alarmingly frequent as of late, but for a coach that does not have a playoff win in 14 seasons, the management may decide to move on pretty soon.
Todd Bowles, New York Jets – Year three of the Bowles campaign seems to be on the verge of a major rebuild. The team has moved on from veterans such as: Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Geno Smith, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. Right now, the depth chart is full of young faces, unproven talent, and very little veteran leadership. Which means, the head coach will have to answer that call. A head coach who is entering just his third season at the helm. A head coach who has yet to experience the playoffs with the Jets. If this is a rebuilding project, Bowles will enter this season with his job in jeopardy for the foreseeable future.
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints – Yes, Payton has a Super Bowl ring during his tenure in New Orleans. However, let’s face it, the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Lately, the Saints have been stuck at 7-9 for each of the past three seasons. It also means that the team has been playoff-less in that time span as well. The Saints made some interesting moves this offseason (trading WR Brandin Cooks, signing RB Adrian Peterson, drafting CB Marshon Lattimore) that will improve the team somewhat; but what if the team falls short of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season?
John Fox, Chicago Bears – Two seasons, nine wins, questions at quarterback, losing the team’s #1 wide receiver, inconsistencies on defense, and more. The amount of issues have piled up in just a short time for the former Panthers, Broncos head coach. Friction between Fox and general manager Ryan Pace has resonated as rumors lately, and recent miscommunication at the draft was the central point in the Bears draft class. Based on the roster, Fox may be headed for the his third straight losing season. With so much that has occurred in just two seasons, a third losing one may not be the charm for Fox in the Windy City.