Although we don’t know when the next NFL season will materialize, we do know that one fourth of the teams will be showing off a new head coach. Pitiful performances, as well as power struggles, led to the league’s revolving door of coaches, reminding those in the business why NFL stands for Not For Long. Here’s a quick look at each team that will be rolling out a new coach, and a brief profile of their man behind the curtain.
Shedding the Interim Title: Leslie Frazier and Jason Garrett
Both of these up-and-comers will be getting their first head coaching gigs with teams who fell flat this season amidst big expectations. Former Super Bowl Shuffler Leslie Frazier will take over the maybe/possibly Favre-less Vikings, while Garrett will take the reins of the team he held the clipboard for during a good portion of the 90s. Frazier earned one Super Bowl ring while playing DB with the Bears, a game that was also the last of his career thanks to a knee injury. He then won another on Tony Dungy’s staff with the Colts. Garrett, a former Ivy Leaguer, was caddy for Troy Aikman during two of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl teams.
Tennessee Titans: Mike Munchak in for Jeff Fisher
The Titans looked within after the oddly-timed dismissal of the mustached Jeff Fisher, promoting O-line coach Mike Munchak. The former Houston Oilers’ guard has been on the team’s staff since 1994, one year after he called it quits. While we will miss the dynamic facial hair of Fisher, Tennessee fans should take comfort in knowing that Munchak has done good some good work with the hog mollies, always putting together a solid front five during his time with the club.
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera in for John Fox
Another former member of the Bears ’85 Super Bowl Shuffle squad was LB Ron Rivera, who gets his first head coaching gig taking over the hapless Panthers. Over the past five years, Rivera has been defensive coordinator of the Bears and Chargers, who both featured some vicious defenses under his watch. It is unclear whether or not he taught Shawne Merriman the ‘Lights Out’ sack dance while with San Diego.
Denver Broncos: John Fox in for Josh McDaniels
After taking over in the Broncos front office, John Elway decided to hold off dental surgery and hire John Fox as his new coach. Apparently, Elway was very impressed with Fox’s leadership during the Panthers’ 2-14 campaign this year. Fox can’t be completely to blame for the Panthers’ woes, however, as the team had an obvious lack of talent and an abundance of injuries. After taking over a 1-15 team in 2003, Fox got Carolina to the Super Bowl in just his second year, coming up just short of upsetting the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh in for Mike Singletary
After flirting with every vacant coaching position in the continental United States, Jim Harbaugh decided to stay in northern California and take over for another former Chicago Bear. After cutting his teeth on the coaching circuit with our local WKU Hilltoppers, Harbaugh went on to great success during his four-year tenure with Stanford. The Cardinal’s remarkable turnaround made ‘Captain Comeback’ the flavor of the week, but this will be his first time as a head man at the NFL level. His only other pro coaching experience was a two-year stint as the Raiders’ QB coach from 2002-’03.
Cleveland Browns: Pat Shurmur in for Eric Mangini
Taking over for ‘Man Boobs’ Mangini in Cleveland is Shurmur, a relative unknown to the casual football fan. Browns’ GM Mike Holmgren coached with Pat’s uncle, Fritz Shurmur when Holmgren led the Pack to Super Bowl glory. Shurmur spent 10 years as QB coach with the Eagles before becoming the Rams’ offensive coordinator the last two years. I don’t know much about the guy, but anyone who can keep an assistant coaching gig for 10 season has got to be legit, right?
Oakland Raiders: Hue Jackson in for Tom Cable
Longtime NFL assistant coach Hue Jackson earned a promotion from Raiders’ offensive coordinator, giving him the honor of being the next coach that will be fired and with held money by Al Davis. Jackson has been on offensive staffs with the Redskins, Bengals, Falcons, and Ravens before joining Tom Cable’s staff prior to last season. Hopefully, Jackson learned how to throw a vicious right cross from Cable, and can use it to knock some sense back in Al Davis.
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