One day after the 2012 season ended and the last of the year, several NFL owners decided to part ways with 15 major figures within their franchises to start the new year right on a clean slate. The slaughter started at 8:00am Monday morning with the announcement that Gene Smith had been fired as the Jacksonville Jaguars GM after a 2-14 season being the worst since 1996.
The Cleveland Browns who finished the season at 5-11 would also do some cleaning of their own, firing head coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert, with the owner disgruntled with the lack of development for QB’s Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden.
Soon to follow would be the second most controversial firing of the day, when the New York Jets decided to releases GM Mike Tannenbaum, BUT kept Rex Ryan as the head coach for the 2013 season. The Jets soon became the most laughable organization in sports with a roster that had Super Bowl potential before injuries.
The death of the 2012 Jets season started with the trade acquiring Tim Tebow to serve as the “backup” QB to Mark Sanchez, but that would cause a distraction for the team, doing exactly what they were fearful of. Rex has one year to turn things around with the Jets (as Woody Johnson in his head thinks the team should be Super Bowl contenders next year), and speaking as a Jets fan; yeah right.
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Next on the horizon was the long awaited imminent release of Andy Reid who served as Philadelphia Eagles head coach for 14 years. The Eagles finished as the NFC worst at 4-12 including losing 8 consecutive games and 11 of their last 12. Two years ago, many were looking at the Eagles as an NFL “Dream Team” and even compared to the Miami Heat; but things would quickly go downhill with multiple injuries to Michael Vick, Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin.
In his tenure with the Eagles, Reid made four consecutive NFC Championship appearances 2001-2004 with a Super Bowl XXXIX appearance in 2005. The death of his son really affected the season as it was in his best interest to have a fresh start for his career.
The following release to me was the worst one of the day as the Chicago Bears fired longtime head coach Lovie Smith who led the team to a 10-6 record for 2012 but failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.
The organization went to say, they felt the team was stale and “old” and needed a new style of play to give the team more success; but with Jay Cutler as your quarterback, going 10-6 is the equivalent to having a perfect record. In his 9-year tenure with the team, he won the NFC North three times, most recently in 2010, along with one Super Bowl appearance in 2006 and a coach of the year award.
Rounding up things; the Bills relieved Chan Gailey after three seasons of disappointment, while the Kansas City Chiefs released head coach Romeo Crennel who led the team to an NFL worst 2-14. The San Diego Chargers finally released head Norv Turner after a 7-9 season, to end his 6-year tenure with the team along with GM A.J. Smith, which should be a big sigh of relief for fans out there.
The Arizona Cardinals, who had one of the more disappointing seasons, started undefeated at 4-0, then would lose 9 consecutive games and 11 of their last 12 to finish the 2012 season 5-11. The team reached success in 2009 making it to Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 and would obviously come up short but the team was looking to reach those mountains once more early in the 2012 season, but the team would plummet.
Our condolences go out to those coaches that didn’t deserve getting fired on “Black Monday” in the NFL.
Sorry Norv Turner.--