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Happy New Year, You’re Fired! Coaches Who Didn’t Make The Cut

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Former head coach of the Chicago Bears Lovie Smith (Getty Images/Norm Hall)

Former head coach of the Chicago Bears Lovie Smith (Getty Images/Norm Hall)

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DETROIT – Within hours of the season ending games on Sunday – a plethora of pro-football coaches have been canned. Our own Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz has survived the ax so far, but there is a lot of time between now and the 2013 kick-off to reflect on that choice.

Cardinals fire Ken Whisenhunt, GM Graves after 5-11 season

In his first three seasons as the Cardinals coach, Ken Whisenhunt’s teams had a combined record of 27-21 and they made the playoffs twice. But after Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season, Whisenhunt’s squads have slumped to 5-11, 8-8 and 5-11 again.

Not surprisingly, the Cardinals fired Whisenhunt on Monday, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported. General manager Rod Graves also was terminated.

Whisenhunt had tied much of his fate to the acquisition of free agent Kevin Kolb, and it’s not difficult to see how that was a disastrous decision. Since signing Kolb, Whisenhunt has been forced to play Kolb, John Skelton, Max Hall, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer at quarterback, and really, none of them were any better than semi-mediocre.

Read more about the Cardinals firing of Ken Whisenhunt and GM Graves, here.

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Chargers fire Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith

Following a fourth-straight season with a declining win total and a third-straight season without the playoffs, the San Diego Chargers fired coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith on Monday.

This is far from shocking news: Turner and Smith received an ultimatum from the Chargers to make the playoffs or else in 2012 after whiffing on the postseason for two-straight years. After getting out to a 3-1 start, the Chargers lost a tough game to the Saints in prime time and then suffered a back-breaking collapse — precisely the kind that marked the Turner era in San Diego — in the second half to the Broncos in Week 5.

Read more on Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith firing, here.

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Bears fire Lovie Smith after nine seasons

With all the coaches expected to be fired Monday, Lovie Smith’s name got lost in the mix. The Bears won 10 games, including a Week 17 get-together with the Lions, but missed the playoffs for the second straight year. And CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirms that Lovie’s out of work. The Chicago Tribune first reported the story.

La Canfora reported Sunday that Smith’s tenuous hold on his job “would be further imperiled should his team fail to get into the postseason.”

But Smith, who had one year remaining on his current deal, shouldn’t have any trouble finding work. League sources told La Canfora that Smith should land head-coaching interviews with other NFL teams.

More on Lovie Smith, here.
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Eagles fire coach Andy Reid

As we told you on Sunday evening, the Eagles planned to fire coach Andy Reid on Monday. On Monday morning, the Eagles made it official, releasing a statement saying Reid’s 14-year tenure in Philadelphia had ended.

“Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles’ history, and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in the statement. “But it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future.”

Reid took over the head coaching job 14 years ago after a disastrous final two seasons of Ray Rhodes and led the team to nine postseason appearances (including the 2005 Super Bowl). But with the so-called dream team in 2011, the Eagles started on a disappointing note and it finished 8-8. This year was even worse, and the team limped to a 4-12 in which the defense was atrocious (and apparently not all Juan Castillo’s fault) and the offense didn’t come close to making up for it.
Read more on the Eagles firing coach Andy Reid, here.

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Jets fire Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan ‘to remain’ head coach

The Jets are making some changes in the wake of their 6-10 finish, but they’re not doing a wholesale change: owner Woody Johnson announced Monday morning that general manager Mike Tannenbaum wouldn’t return in 2013.

However, Johnson said Rex Ryan “would remain” as head coach for next season.

“This morning, I informed Mike Tannenbaum that he will not return for the 2013 season. Mike devoted 15 years of service to the Jets, and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication. Although he helped guide us to two consecutive AFC Championship Games, we are not where we want to be, and a new general manager will be critical to getting this team back on the right track,” Johnson said in a statement. “Rex Ryan will remain the head coach of our football team. I believe that he has the passion, the talent and the drive to successfully lead our team.”

Johnson also consistently reiterated in the statement that he was “disappointed” with the results of the 2012 season.

It’s hard not to agree with his assessment of the situation. The Jets were the NFL’s circus, a quarterback-lacking sideshow that didn’t fail to deliver the drama week in and week out, even if it lacked a lot in terms of actual football being played.

More on the Jets firing Mike Tannenbaum, here.

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As expected, Browns fire coach Pat Shurmur, GM Heckert

Pat Shurmur never really had a chance. After president Mike Holmgren announced that he was stepping down, and new owner Jimmy Haslam brought in Joe Banner as the Browns’ CEO, it became painfully obvious to anybody half-paying attention that Shurmur wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans. On Monday, the inevitable became reality: Shurmur was fired.

CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman confirmed the firing; Fox’s Jay Glazer was the first to report it. Glazer also is reporting that, as expected, the Browns have fired general manager Tom Heckert.

“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” Haslam said. “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”

More on Pat Shurmur and GM Heckert, here.

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Chiefs fire Romeo Crennel

Fifty-one weeks ago, the Chiefs, after firing Todd Haley, hired defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel as the team’s next head coach. As you can see in the picture in this post, the players were excited to play for him and told management they wanted to keep Crennel after Haley’s reign had fizzled out in Kansas City.

He also had led the team to a 2-1 record as an interim coach. With him, the Chiefs were the first to beat the undefeated Packers in 2011. At the time, all seemed well, and Will Brinson wrote, “He’s a locker room favorite in Kansas City, and if he can bring in a capable offensive coordinator and avoid the injuries that plagued Kansas City in 2010, there’s a reasonable chance that the Chiefs could return to the top of the AFC West next season.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen. And after a season in which they crawled to a 2-14 record, the Chiefs officially fired Crennel on Monday.

Read more about the Chiefs firing of Romeo Crennel, here.

 

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