It was a busy offseason in terms of NFL head coach hirings and firings. Seven teams decided to make a change at the end of the regular season. Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles (A), New York (A), and Philadelphia all enter the 2021 season with new head coaches. Five teams made a move at the end of the 2019 campaign, so 12 of the 32 coaches in the NFL are in their first or second season. Identifying the first head coach to be fired usually means leaving out coaches in their first two seasons, so let’s take a look at this year’s candidates.
Vic Fangio is seen as the most likely coach to be fired at the end of the 2021 season. Fangio has been less than inspiring during his time with Denver, and patience is running thin in the Mile High City. He is 12-20 through two seasons, and many pundits are projecting the Broncos to finish last in the AFC West. This franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015, and the offense is still struggling to put up points despite dedicating several top picks to this side of the ball in recent drafts.
Although he is entering his second season on the sidelines, Mike McCarthy might receive his walking papers before the end of the year. Dallas has the most talented offense in the NFC East, but an injury to Dak Prescott in 2020 led to this offense short-circuiting on its way to a 6-10 finish. The defense is still a mess, and Prescott is banged up yet again, so this could be a disastrous year in the Metroplex.
Kliff Kingsbury will likely be gone if Arizona doesn’t make the postseason in 2021. Kingsbury was always something of a head-scratcher of a hire, and the offense hasn’t taken off like fans had hoped at the next level. He has made some puzzling decisions in close games that have cost his team games, leading to comparisons to Anthony Lynn.
Despite being named the Coach of the Year during his debut season in 2018, Matt Nagy is on the hot seat. Nagy has led Chicago to two playoff appearances in his three seasons with the Bears, but he is an offensive guru, and the offense has been very stilted. He finally pulled the plug on the Mitch Trubisky era, and now he is hoping that rookie Justin Fields can save his job.
Keep an Eye On…
There is one rookie head coach that could be fired before the end of his first season. Dan Campbell was hired by Detroit in January, but he has already come under fire for some rather bizarre press conferences with concerning quotes. He stated that the Lions were going to bite the kneecaps off their opponents in his introductory press conference, talked about what it means to be a true Alpha, and claimed he would give up an arm to take Detroit to the Super Bowl. The Motor City Kitties are expected to be one of the worst teams in football in 2021, so Campbell could be in line for an early departure.