Now that Black Monday has come and gone, let’s summarize: Coaching in the NFL is hazardous work. Whether you’re short term (Eric Mangini), long term (Jeff Fisher) or have a winning record (Tom Coughlin), your job is never safe. Here’s a scorecard of who’s OK, who’s gone and who’s still in limbo:
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans: His job was in jeopardy, but owner Bob McNair said Kubiak will return for a sixth season. The firing of defensive coordinator Frank Bush clears the way for Wade Phillips to join the team. The defense ranked 30th in the league this season.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants: After missing the playoffs, Coughlin was teetering briefly until co-owner John Mara announced his return. A 10-6 record is fine, but no more missed playoffs.
Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars: Here’s what team owner Wayne Weaver said about bringing back Del Rio for his ninth season: “If we’re not in the playoffs, it’s pretty apparent we’ll have a different coach.” Talk about a hot seat.
Eric Mangini, Cleveland Browns: Team president Mike Holmgren made the announcement Monday morning that Mangini was gone after two 5-11 finishes. Holmgren may target Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg or Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, but it’s possible he could return to the sideline if he doesn’t find the right man for the job.
John Fox, Carolina Panthers: No surprise. The Panthers are looking to trim coaches’ salaries, so look for them to go young. Fox might be the first to land on his feet.
San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos: Both of these teams are operating under interim coaches, and neither one (Jim Tomsula with the 49ers, Eric Studesville with the Broncos) will be retained. Both clubs would like to land Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh.
UP IN THE AIR
Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders: Despite leading the Raiders to their first non-losing season since 2002, Cable appears on the brink of not having his contract extended. Owner Al Davis would probably hire offensive coordinator Hue Jackson rather than risk losing him to another team.
Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans: Can Fisher settle his differences with quarterback Vince Young? If he can’t, it’s possible owner Bud Adams will opt to keep his QB and cut loose Fisher, the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach. Adams has already made it clear he’s not happy with the Titans’ 6-10 finish.
Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins: Sparano’s future could be decided by the end of the week. He has the support of his players, but a 7-9 finish might not be enough to satisfy owner Stephen Ross.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals: If Lewis leaves, it could be by his own choice. He wants facility upgrades and help with the team’s scouting, two areas team president Mike Brown is reluctant to improve. If he bolts, Lewis could pursue the open University of Pittsburgh job.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys: It’s probably just a matter of time before owner Jerry Jones lifts the interim tag and names Garrett the head coach. He led the Cowboys to a 5-3 record after Wade Phillips was fired.