The last time an NFL season came and went without a coach being fired was 2012.
Whether we agree or disagree with the idea of firing coaches during the season, it’s practically an annual occurrence. There are always teams that go against public outcry to bring back an embattled coach for another season, then fire him anyway before the season ends.
These five coaches are the hot seat to start the season, all of whom might not make it the full 18 weeks if they don’t get off to a good start: Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy is on the hot seat going into the season. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
I think Zimmer is a good coach and the Vikings would have trouble finding someone better. But there were questions about him after a 1-5 start last season, and finishing 7-9 might have bought Zimmer another season. The Vikings have two playoff wins under Zimmer in seven seasons. One was an absolute miracle and the other came in overtime. The Vikings haven’t been bad under Zimmer, but is that enough?
4. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
You don’t hear a lot about Taylor’s job security, mostly because Bengals ownership has been asleep at the wheel for a few decades. But any coach with a 6-25-1 record should be worried. Most teams would move on if Taylor didn’t show progress this season with second-year quarterback Joe Burrow. In Cincinnati, who knows.
3. Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
It’s not Fangio’s fault that the Broncos haven’t figured out the quarterback situation. Still, a 12-20 record for a franchise that is used to being competitive isn’t going to fly. Last season the Broncos were 5-11, outscored by 123 points and finished in last place. If the Broncos finish under .500 this season, people in Denver will be impatient. In fact, they already are.
2. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
When Kingsbury was hired, he was a failed Big 12 coach who immediately jumped on USC’s offensive coordinator job. There was never going to be a ton of patience for him after he was hired by the Cardinals. A 13-18-1 record in two seasons, with a late-season collapse that cost Arizona a playoff berth last season, has put Kingsbury on the hot seat. And it won’t be easy to get off of it in a tough NFC West.
1. Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace barely survived last season. A media conference with Bears chairman George McCaskey to announce Nagy and Pace would be back sounded like an apology to fans that the duo would be back in 2021.
“We understand your frustration. We’re frustrated, too,” McCaskey said, according to the Bears’ site.
Yeah, Nagy might want to get off to a good start. His confusing stubbornness surrounding starting Andy Dalton in Week 1, despite exciting rookie Justin Fields’ strong preseason, isn’t helping his case. Nagy should lead any list of first coach fired, simply because it seemed he was nearly fired after last season.