As the regular season comes to a close, we have a pretty good idea of who the contenders and pretenders are. The playoff picture is starting to clear up, and some teams have already moved onto 2023. Which coaches are fired, who might be fired, who could be fired, and who won’t be fired? Look no further.
Head Coaching Carousel: Which NFL Coaches Are on the Hot Seat?
These coaches got fired before I even had a chance to write this article.
Frank Reich, Matt Rhule, and Nathaniel Hackett got fired before I even had a chance to talk about supposed job security, what a bummer. With a combined record of 55-71, bolstered by Reich’s 40-33 record, it’s no mystery why their names are written here.
These coaches should already be on LinkedIn.
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Kliff has perpetually underwhelmed as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. His teams fall apart down the stretch and he never seems to win the games that matter. After having a very messy and public breakup with his star quarterback, his days are probably numbered.
Lovie Smith, Houston Texans
Poor Lovie was always going to be a lame duck in Houston. They’ve been tanking for years and this hasn’t changed. His teams play hard for him, but it’s a foregone conclusion that the Texans will look for a new head coach to teach Bryce Young/CJ Stroud in 2023.
Ejector Seat from Austin Powers
These coaches could just as easily be gone this off-season. They’ve done some good things, some bad things, and it’s up to ownership whether they get to run it back in 2023.
Robert Saleh, New York Jets
This one could go either way. I think Saleh has had some moments of promise, but sadly, a brilliant draft class did not include their quarterback of the future. I think he stays, but wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets moved on.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
Brandon Staley has an incredibly talented roster that seems to either always be hurt or always underperform. A playoff berth helps his standing with the team, but if someone like Sean Payton comes a knocking, don’t be surprised if the Chargers move on.
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Dennis Allen is a long-term interim head coach. It really feels like the Saints thought that Sean Payton was going to come back, and the more time goes on, the less likely that becomes. Allen didn’t do much well this year, and like everyone else in the NFC South, could be fired in the off-season.
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Arthur Smith hasn’t done much of note in Atlanta since arriving. They’ve only gotten worse on both sides of the ball and completely lack an identity. Hilariously, his Falcons remain in the playoff hunt because of a lackluster effort from the Buccaneers, which could buy him a little more time. Speaking of which…
Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Todd Bowles deserved another shot at being a head coach in the NFL, but these aren’t the best circumstances. He was basically given the job by Tom Brady, who pushed Bruce Arians out, and has had to deal with egos, injuries, and terrible play. In a post-Brady world, who knows where Tampa Bay will go next.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
What can you say about Ron Rivera that hasn’t already been said? He’s a good guy, he’s overcome a lot, his ownership creates a lot of distractions for his team, and he’s had a nightmare of a time trying to find a quarterback. His teams remain competitive but are never taken seriously, and I don’t know how much more his tenure can bring to the team as it is.
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Some people might be surprised to see John Harbaugh’s name in this category, but the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league and John Harbaugh hasn’t done much lately. His Ravens will be in this post-season, but nobody buys them as contenders. It’s not his fault that the Ravens haven’t been able to extend Lamar Jackson, but it is his fault that Greg Roman remains the offensive coordinator. The Ravens just kinda underwhelm, and it might be time for a change in the Charm City.
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
LaFleur’s entire stint in Green Bay has been propped up by Aaron Rodgers, and with Rodgers either declining or departing, the Packers have been a trainwreck this season. If they truly miss the playoffs, with the Lions on the rise and the Vikings firmly in charge, it might be time to change philosophies in Green Bay.
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are hilarious because who even knows? There’s no question that McCarthy is a bad coach and he’s holding the team back, but he performs admirably as Jerry Jones’ puppet. He should go this off-season when they invariably fall short in the playoffs, but it’s hard to tell if he will.
Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears
Eberflus certainly hasn’t impressed during his first season with the Bears, but that’s just it, it was his first season. Franchises who change head coaches every season rarely experience success, so even though the Bears have been hard to watch this year, it’s hard to imagine him being fired already.
A Seat Someone Just Sat In
These coaches don’t have all the job security in the world, but they’re probably not being fired this off-season.
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals should be considered Super Bowl contenders, so why are they here? Well, to be honest, because his teams win in spite of him, not because of him. The Bengals when they don’t have Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase tell you everything you need to know about Zac. A deep playoff run probably bumps him into the next category, especially considering this is the same team that kept Marvin Lewis for 100 years, but he’s not as secure as you might think.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
How in the world isn’t Bill Belichick in the next category? He’s won six Super Bowls as a head coach. His teams always play sound defense and fundamentally solid football. Well… because he’s just another guy at this point. Without Tom Brady, the Patriots aren’t on anyone’s radar, and frankly, the hiring of failed defensive guru, Matt Patricia, to run the offense, is fireable on it’s own. I don’t think Kraft would fire Belichick, but it wouldn’t shock me if they “mutually parted ways” in the future.
Brian Daboll, New York Giants
The New York Giants have shown some real signs of life this year, and I’m absolutely intrigued to see what Daboll could do with a real head coach. Not the best rookie season a head coach has ever had, but certainly not the worst. He’s definitely earned another season in charge.
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
Mike McDaniel might’ve found himself higher on this list had it not been for a looooong December. A late-season collapse, mixed with more concussion problems for Tua, hurt what could’ve been a coach of the year campaign. He’s still safe though, and I really hope the Phins bounce back.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Mark Davis is too lazy to fire Josh McDaniels. In a perfect world, McDaniels and Carr are both gone and the Raiders draft someone and hire DeMeco Ryans. But that isn’t the world we live in, so the master of the blown lead gets another run in 2023.
Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Doug Pederson’s Jacksonville Jaguars will likely win the AFC South this year, and that’s insane. This team is fresh off two first overall picks, meaning they had the worst record in football for two straigh seasons, and even though the second first overall pick hasn’t panned out, they find themselves competing for a playoff spot. As incredible as that is, it is the AFC South, and I don’t think anyone buys the Jaguars as legitimate contenders. Tony Khan’s boys need to prove this season isn’t a fluke.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin has the opportunity to save a seemingly lost season and continue his unprecedented streak of non-losing seasons. That’s absolutely incredible. If the Steelers have any common sense, they’ll hold onto Tomlin and make some coordinator changes, but I guess we’ll see.
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
Mike Vrabel’s body of work is respectable enough that you can forgive one bad season, but he needs to be careful to ensure that it’s just one. Malik Willis doesn’t look like the guy yet, and Derrick Henry is not getting any younger. Another year where the Titans collapse and he may find himself on the hotseat.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were infinitely better than anyone thought they’d be without Russell Wilson. Now, armed with Denver’s first round pick, he can find his next big player. The Hawks aren’t contenders anymore, but they’re certainly still a well-coached team, and barring a retirement, I anticipate Pete’s return in 2023.
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
I really like Dan Campbell, and he’s had the Detroit Lions playing the best football they’ve played in decades. He needs to turn LA’s pick into a quarterback in this draft and make the playoffs in 2023, but I think he gets to stick around for another year.
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
The Browns weren’t necessarily expected to contend this year, since they didn’t have a quarterback, but there’s incredible pressure on Stefanski to win and to win soon. Trading the farm for a quarterback with a litany of sexual assault allegations, giving him a massive and fully guaranteed contract, only to flame out and not contend for the playoffs… it’s an ugly look. Be careful when you sell your soul because you will have to pay up eventually.
These coaches are juuuuuust fine. The only way these coaches stop being coaches this off-season is if they retire.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
Kevin O’Connell has had some trials and tribulations as a rookie head coach, but his teams have consistently found ways to win. They may be hampered by a bad defense, but they are still in the race for the NFC’s best record.
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
McVay’s Rams are one of the more underwhelming defending Super Bowl champions, but they’ve been absolutely devastated by the injury bug. Without the likes of Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, or Cooper Kupp, a team that prides itself on having more stars than Hollywood itself has felt the difference this season. McVay may retire, but he’s not getting fired.
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Shanahan’s offensive genius is on full display in 2022, this time with a defense that can match. Even wthe last player taken in this draft thriving under center, the 49ers should be considered favorites in the NFC.
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
This is a no-brainer. Even before Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid was considered one of the better head coaches in professional football. With him, they’ve finished no worse than the AFC Championship every season. Chiefs Kingdom would burn Arrowhead to the ground if they fired Reid.
Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the surprise stories of the 2022 season. Sirianni has the birds battling for the number one seed in the NFC and it’ll be interesting to see how far he can take them.
Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
McDermott has quietly built one of the better machines in the AFC, and as long as he and his quarterback are together, should be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.