01 January 2009

Let the Beheadings Begin!

First of all, Happy New Year, y'all!

The beheadings started early this year, with Rams coach Scott Linehan fired before the end of September in favor of Jim Haslett, Mike Nolan getting the boot in week 7 in favor of pants-droppin' Mike Singletary (who will keep the job at least for now), and that wacky Al Davis tossing Lane Kiffin over in favor of Tom Cable in week 4. And Mike Holmgren had told EVERYONE he was retiring before the season even started, which is probably a good thing, because after going 4-12 in the craptacular NFC West, he'd probably be out on his ear anyway.

And then there were the traditional first Monday of the post-season firings. Romeo Crennel and Rod Marinelli, sure. The Browns WAY underperformed this year, and, to paraphrase Rod, you can't go 0-16 and expect to keep your job. But Eric Mangini? That seems precipitous, particularly given the revelations that have since come out about Brett Favre's injured throwing shoulder. "Injured starting QB" usually does not lead to "playing in the post-season."

And then there was yesterday's bombshell: Mike Shanahan's out of Denver after 14 years and after missing the playoffs for the third straight year.

So now we're all sitting around wondering when the next shoe will drop, so to speak.

Bills' owner Ralph Wilson swears that Dick Jauron's still his guy even after their flatline after mid-season. Jerry Jones swears that Wade Phillips is safe, too, but I wouldn't lay any money on that. Dan Snyder said the Zornmeister was safe, but that was before Mike Shanahan became available. And Jon Gruden seems safe, too, even though the Bucs threw away their chance at a post-season with both hands in month of December.

AR has secured his position for at least another year thanks to our last-minute snatching of the final NFC wildcard spot, although it's doubtful he was ever really in danger, despite the many fan voices (mine included) calling for his head after the Ravens game. Likewise Norv Turner after the Chargers roared back to steal the division right out from under the Broncos, and Brad Childress thanks to the Vikings hanging on to the win the division by the skin of their teeth.

And of course, the three kick-ass rookies - John Harbaugh, Tony Sparano, and Mike Smith - are good to go. TO THE PLAYOFFS, bee-yotch! But it will be interesting to see if any of them suffer The Curse of the Peyton - you know, when a new-ish head coach can never again live up to the glory of his first year's success after the other coaches start figuring him out.

Around the rest of the league, it's a safe bet that any team that made the playoffs isn't switching head coaches (unless they're a top seed and go 1-and-done, so watch out The Curse of the Schottenheimer Tom Coughlin, John Fox, Jeff Fisher, and Mike Tomlin), and I'm pretty sure the Krafts aren't going to dump Bill Belichick, even though the Pats are going to be sitting home in January.

I'd be surprised if Sean Peyton, Lovie Smith, Mike McCarthy, and Gary Kubiak don't remain in New Orleans, Chicago, Green Bay, and Houston respectively, at least for the 2009 season.

I'm pretty sure Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards are in BIG trouble, though, and Jack DelRio might want to watch his back, too.

So football fans, who do you think will be fired? More importantly, who DESERVES to be fired?


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