60°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Coaches on The NFL Hot Seat

Coaches+on+The+NFL+Hot+Seat
Coaches on The NFL Hot Seat

Ladies and gentlemen, fall is coming in full swing, and with that, so is football. People ask me which job I think is the toughest in such an industry, and I tell them it’s the head coach. They need to work and get along with all personnel, from the players to the assistants and the front office staff. And, of course, they need to do what is vital to their job security: win. This ranking I put together focuses on NFL coaches who’ve had difficulty winning recently, and it concentrates on the likelihood of them getting let go by their franchises at some point during or after this new season. Football fans should be in for some fun!
Ranking at number five, we begin with Jay Gruden, the Washington Redskins’ head coach. He’s between a rock and a hard place, employed at a franchise that is working toward championships, but whose moves have severely hindered the team. He made the playoffs in his second year as coach with one-hit-wonder Tommy Maddox, as opposed to standouts who deliver year after year like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. Last year’s 8-7-1 club was a mixed bag between regression and a bump in the road, but Gruden will have plenty of time this year to prove that last season was the latter. He may survive another non-playoff campaign, but something along the lines of 3-13 in his first year could be all it takes for him to join the unemployment line.
John Fox is up next at number four, and really who really wants to be a head coach of Da Bears? Like Washington, Chicago’s front office is off-kilter and overdue for a change which the city’s NHL Blackhawks got over a decade ago, and which also won three Stanley Cups. Worse yet, the Bears now hold the city’s longest active championship drought, going 32 years since their famous 1985 Super Bowl campaign. Last year was an abomination for Fox and the 3-13 Bears, who had the most losses in a 16-game season ever in franchise history. With Jay Cutler gone, Fox doesn’t hold much hope to ensure his stay lasts past this year. If anything, it will have to come in his bread and butter that is defense: Chicago was ranked at 24 in scoring defense last year.
Third in the rankings is the coach of potentially this year’s worst NFL team, Todd Bowles of the New York Jests. And yes, I mistake the name on purpose, to show how hopeless of a team they are in terms of a roster. Aside from Pro Bowler Leonard Williams at defensive end, they have nothing in terms of legitimate talent, especially in quarterbacks. Does anyone have faith in Christian Hackenberg? Aside from a Big Ten Freshman of the Year award, he had nothing else to show from his efforts at Pennsylvania State University, and may start to regret not coming back for one more year in development. In fairness, Bowles deserves better, and it includes coaching for a better-run franchise.
This leads me to the next coach, and the following disclaimer regarding Sean Payton: He would be gone from any club with three straight 7-9 seasons, especially with a Hall of Fame quarterback who’s in the last years of his prime. But I can’t see it happening in New Orleans, the franchise that lifted the spirits of the city in the aftermath of Katrina, and rewarded them with their Super Bowl XLIV win in 2010. Payton and owner Tom Benson still enjoy a good rapport with each other, but there’s nothing to further ensure that than being able to win consistently, and lacking a good defense hinders it, no matter how good the offense has been with Drew Brees.
And now comes the coach at the very top of the list: Marvin Lewis. It should be an honor for him to have lasted 14 years in Cincinnati, but making the playoffs won’t be enough for him; he’s lost each of the seven playoff games the Bengals have played. He will need a deep playoff run, and he has the guys to do it. But there’s reason to believe they can’t, because it’s Cincinnati, where fans hold as much pessimism as hockey fans in Washington, D.C. If he stays, it will likely be because of dysfunctional ownership that has been torturous to Bengals fans.
That said, one should respect the profession that is coaching, especially to those who are great at it. Not everyone can be like Bill Belichick, but these coaches were given a chance to prove themselves. To each of the 32 NFL teams, we wish you the best to succeed!