Andy Reid is the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Now he and six other NFL coaches are looking for work.
Seven coaches and five general managers were fired Monday in a flurry of pink slips that were delivered the day after the regular season ended.
Ken Whisenhunt is out after helping Arizona reach the Super Bowl following the 2008 season. Also gone: Lovie Smith in Chicago, Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.
Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach – San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.
“You hope that those guys that obviously were victims of black Monday land on their feet,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “You’ve got guys that have been to Super Bowls and won championship games, and all of a sudden they’ve forgot how to coach, I guess.”
Reid was the longest tenured of the coaches, removed after 14 seasons, a 130-93 record, and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 – a loss to New England.
Turner has now been fired as head coach by three teams. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09, but didn’t make the postseason the last 3 years under Turner and GM A.J. Smith.
Turner was 56-40 in six seasons in San Diego.
“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning,” Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement.
Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons. He had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, and has one year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract. GM Rod Graves had been with Arizona for 16 years, nine in his current position. A 5-11 record after a 4-0 start cost him and Whisenhunt their jobs.
Gailey was dumped after three seasons (16-32) with the Bills; Shurmur after two (9-23) in Cleveland; and Crennel had one full season plus the final three games of 2011 (4-15) with the Chiefs.
Reid took over a 3-13 Eagles team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.
But the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and, after last season’s 8-8 finish, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year. Instead, it was even worse. The Eagles finished 4-12.
“When you have a season like that, it’s embarrassing. It’s personally crushing to me and it’s terrible,” Lurie said at a news conference.
He said he respects Reid and plans to stay friends with him, “but, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction.”
Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change – the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.
“Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said. “On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships.”
Crennel took over with three games left in the 2011 season after GM Scott Pioli fired Todd Haley. Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft as a result of having one of the worst seasons in its 53-year history. The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired.
“I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.
Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, compiled a 16-32 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, never doing better than 6-10.
“This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that’s ever fired me that I’ll pull for,” Gailey said.
The fired GMs included Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets; Gene Smith of the Jaguars; Tom Heckert of the Browns; Smith of the Chargers and Graves of Arizona.