The Sports Xchange, Published December 30 2013
Six NFL coaches get pink slips so farOne of the most infamous days in the NFL calendar year is dubbed "Black Monday," the day following the end of the regular season when multiple coaches are annually fired.
The Cleveland Browns got a jump on the action by firing Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night following just one season. Not long after business hours began on the East Coast, the Minnesota Vikings' Leslie Frazier and the Washington Redskins' Mike Shanahan joined the unemployement line.
The status of Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, Joe Philbin with the Miami Dolphins and Mike Munchak with the Tennessee Titans remains up in the air.
The Sports Xchange tracks all the breaking news in its Coaching Carousel.
Cleveland Browns: Rob Chudzinski was fired Sunday and the Browns will begin searching for the eighth coach in 16 years.
"We appreciate Chud's passion for the Browns, and we have great respect for him both personally and professionally," the team said in a statement late Sunday. "We needed to see progress with this football team. We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year.
"Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and there's an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward.
"Browns fans are the most loyal and passionate supporters in the NFL. We're fully committed to bringing them the winning football team they deserve."
Multiple outlets reported Chudzinski was in dire straits before FOX's Jay Glazer said Sunday night that the coach demanded a Monday meeting with team decision-makers be moved up to Sunday night. Ninety minutes later, the team had made the move official.
On Monday, Chudzinski met with the team and didn't hide his emotions, according to players.
"I was shocked and disappointed to hear the news that I was fired. I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be," he said in a statement issued through the team. "It was an honor to lead our players and coaches, and I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. I was more excited than ever for this team, as I know we were building a great foundation for future success. While clearly I would have liked to see the long-term vision through to the end, I am very grateful to Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family for letting me live my dream."
--The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase would be a candidate, citing team sources.
--The Boston Globe reported Josh McDaniels was likely to be recommended by general manager Mike Lombardi.
--ESPN Cleveland reported Lombardi would seek an interview with ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. Gruden was head coach in Oakland when Lombardi worked under Al Davis in the scouting department.
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz was fired after compiling a 29-50 record in five seasons.
According to the NFL Network, it remains possible that the Lions' entire front office will be replaced following the Lions' 7-9 season, which included a 14-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
NFL Media columnist Michael Silver said Bill Ford Jr. will make the decision on Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew.
"I'd certainly like to be back," Schwartz said Sunday before learning his fate Monday morning. "I think we have unfinished business here. (But) we can't worry about decisions that we don't make."
Houston Texans: Penn State's Bill O'Brien emerged as the favorite to replace Gary Kubiak, but owner Bob McNair is moving forward with multiple interviews with other candidates this week, a source told The Sports Xchange on Saturday night.
In O'Brien's case, money is an issue. Although Penn State reduced his buyout from $19.33 million to about $6.48 million, the coach and the NFL team are seeking common ground on salary, according to the source, who added that a deal may be close.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle first reported Saturday that interviews with other candidates are scheduled next week.
"The process continues," McNair told McClain. "We have other interviews scheduled next week. It isn't over."
The Texans have already interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and current interim head coach Wade Phillips. McNair said on Dec. 19 that the Texans were not interested in Shanahan, who worked as the boss of Rick Smith in Denver. Smith is the current general manager in Houston.
After ESPN reported that O'Brien was close to signing, he told his Penn State recruits that he was still on board there, which is what coaches in that situation always say.
Miami Dolphins: Owner Stephen Ross declined to give a show of support for Joe Philbin when asked about the head coach's job following the Dolphins' second consecutive loss to end the season and miss the playoffs.
"I'm making no comment on that," Ross said, per the Miami Herald. "We're going to look at everything."
In perhaps even more jeopardy is general manager Jeff Ireland.
"I'm going to look at everything," Ross said. "When you're disappointed you don't make decisions based on the fly. You have to give it a lot of thought and go look at everything."
Minnesota Vikings: Leslie Frazier was fired Monday. After leading the Vikings to the playoffs following the 2012 season, Frazier's contract was not extended beyond this season, during which Minnesota posted a 5-10-1 record.
General manager Rick Spielman said the inability to advance the team's young talent and develop a deep roster worked against Frazier.
New York Jets: Owner Woody Johnson said Rex Ryan will return for the 2014 season. The Jets finished 8-8 despite erratic play from rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Ryan will be entering the final year of his current contract, although the New York Daily News reported there is an understanding an extension will be worked out.
"We're going to keep Rex Ryan, and he's going to be our coach next year," Johnson said. "I couldn't be any prouder of this team."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik were fired Monday.
Schiano went 11-22 in two tumultous seasons marked with unrest, including the decision to bench and ultimately release former first-round pick and 4,000-yard passer Josh Freeman amidst leaks to media that the quarterback failed multiple drug tests.
Dominik, promoted from the scouting department in 2009 when Jon Gruden was fired, hired Raheem Morris as head coach before pulling the plug on what was the youngest coach in the league.
Tennessee Titans: Head coach Mike Munchak said he would meet with team president Tommy Smith in the coming days.
"There's a lot of things we're going to talk about," Munchak said. "We would have liked to have been better this year. We have to figure out how we can get better and then go from there."
Smith declined to comment on Munchak's status following Sunday's game, according to The Tennessean.
Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan was fired Monday after four seasons as head coach of the Washington Redskins.
Owner Daniel Snyder is in the market for a head coach for the eighth time since 2000.
"Redskins fans deserve a better result," Snyder said in a press release. "We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the playoffs."
Shanahan, 24-40 as head coach in Washington, limped to the finish line with a 3-13 season and franchise-worst eight-game losing streak.