THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
If you think "Black Monday" is something to do with Wall Street, be thankful you're not an NFL coach.
For those in the National Football League environment, Black Monday can be a very unpleasant experience, as it signals the day after the regular season ends when team owners wield the axe to chop out the dead wood on the coaching staff that they see as holding back their aspirations.
Black Monday arrived after the dramatic season finale, and fans were just picking themselves up off the floor when the Head Coach casualties started to come. This year the chopping started a day early, such was the scheduling that saw two games on the Week 18 schedule played on a Saturday. Soon after the Denver Broncos lost their last game of the season, they fired Vic Fangio after three seasons in charge and a 19-30 record. The Broncos had a fast start this year, winning their first three games, but then slid to 4-10 for the rest of the campaign, so it was inevitable that Fangio was in the firing line.
Mike Zimmer had been the main man on the sidelines of the Minnesota Vikings for eight years, and despite an overall record of 72-56-1, and just five years ago taking his team to within one game of a Super Bowl, a decline in progress the last couple of seasons led his superiors to let him go.
A decline in form was also on the epitaph of Matt Nagy’s coaching tenure at the Chicago Bears. The Bears won their division in his first year at the top, just four years ago, but after two 8-8 years, this past season was one that the team and fans will want to forget. They won just 6 of the 17 games and were never in contention during a miserable 2021. Its worth noting that both the Vikings and Bears also fired their General Managers, with Rick Spielman and Ryan Pace looking for new jobs.
In a shock move the Miami Dolphins released Brian Flores. Rumors of a power struggle behind the scenes were proved right and just when the team were starting to flourish with consecutive winning ,records and on the verge of playoff appearances, Flores was ousted. "After evaluating where we are as an organisation, and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organisation weren’t functioning at a level I want to be," said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
The New York Giants announced the retirement of long serving GM Dave Gettleman. The pressure was on for the 70-year-old, who had been the top executive at the Giants since 2018, and his hand was forced after a hugely disappointing four-win season. This move was followed on Tuesday when the Giants fired coach Joe Judge after just two seasons and a combined record of 10-23. The rebuilding in the Big Apple starts now.
With Urban Meyer fired early in the season from his position with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and John Gruden stepping away from the Las Vegas Raiders after historic slurs were made public, there are plenty of vacancies to be filled soon before the offseason shake up of mini camps and draft selections.
With the dust settling it does not appear that there will be more coaches immediately losing their jobs, but with the playoffs about to begin who knows what surprises are around the corner as teams get knocked out, in this wildest of seasons.