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What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 10/22/2011 – The Inaugural Coaches’ Death Watch Edition

Former 49ers head coach and NFL legend Bill Walsh always said the four most powerful words in leadership were “I believe in you.” The irony is when a coach here’s those words coming from his owner or general manager, he might as well just packing up his office then.  Let’s be honest. We are deep enough into this years college and NFL seasons to see which coaches are getting those dreaded “votes of confidence.” In other words, the front-runners in the race to the unemployment office are emerging.

1) Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins

Odds of Getting Fired: May Actually Be Fired By The Time This Article Is Posted

If you are reading this, and it is later than 5 p.m. eastern time Monday, and Tony Sparano is still the head coach of the Dolphins, then he might survive for at least another week.  This guy defines the term “living on borrowed time;” Sparano has had the sword of Damocles hanging over his head ever since last year when Dolphins ownership tried to secretly hire Jim Harbaugh. There’s lots of reasons for that.

His judgement is questionable at best.  Sparano continually stood by quarterback Chad Henne, even after he proved beyond a doubt he lacked any semblance of leadership skills and a tendency toward inconsistent play and making impulsive (meaning horrible) decisions.

Then, he he brought in Reggie Bush to be a “feature running back.” Anybody with eyes  (I blame Sparano’s ever-present sunglasses) saw in New Orlaeas that Bush had no ability to a) carry the ball at a “feature” level b) run between the tackles and c) is little more than a “third down” back useful only in a screen-passing or perimeter role. Besides, he’s damaged goods.

There was a lot of talk that this week’s game against the Broncos would be a referendum on Sparano’s reign in Miami. After all, how many times have you seen a situation in which the visiting team’s starting quarterback is the attraction that sells out your stadium? You can’t honor the University of Florida’s 2008 national championship team without showering roses on Tim Tebow, and doing it with Sparano standing on the sideline only adds Heisman to injury.

Let’s be honest…yesterday’s overtime loss; letting Timmy Rah-Rah lead a comeback in the 4th quarter to beat the Dolphins in overtime…well, that simply can’t help.

Can Save His Job By:  Getting Tim Tebow to personally plead for his future and winning 75% of his remaining games. Even then, he will need to invent a 3-in-1 cure-all for cancer, erectile dysfunction, and the Dolphin defense.

2) Rick Neuheisel, UCLA

Odds of Getting Fired: The Same as Dr. Phil Waking Up Bald Tomorrow

Frankly, I think the blow-out loss at Arizona was the final nail in the Neuheisel coffin.  For all his swagger, Neuheisel never engrained that same attitude in his teams in Westwood, which is  really why he was brought into Bruin Land on the first place.

Neuheisel is 18-26 in three and a half seasons with the Bruins, he is in the fourth year of a five-year contract, and he just got the afrementioned “vote of confidence.”

Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Thursday night that replacing Neuheisel after Thursday’s loss “isn’t even a remote possibility,” his strongest statement to date on Neuheisel’s immediate future.

“Rick is my coach,” Guerrero said after watching the lopsided loss. “I don’t know who is talking about him being relieved early, but it’s certainly not me. He’s a great Bruin. I want to see him succeed.

“We’ll evaluate at the end of the year like we always evaluate and make determinations (of) what we’re going to do at that point. But right now, all this talk about him staying or him going, that does nothing for our team that is trying to regroup and go out there every week and play hard and try to win football games.”

Neuheisel is a dead man.

Can Save His Job By:  Having incriminating photos of Dan Guerrero.

3) Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars

Odds of Getting Fired: Right Now, Moammar Qaddafi Has A Better Chance of Keeping His Job, and He’s Dead

Actually, it would be a more relevant use of space to discuss the proper spelling of “Qaddafi.” Lord knows I wouldn’t want to inadvertently disrespect a murderous, terrorist-supporting dickweed. I’d like to make sure it was intentional. However, that isn’t the point here.

In eight years, Del Rio has one playoff win.  His own players don’t believe in him anymore,  and his handling of the David Garrard situation is reason enough to show him the door.

Realistically, the Jags are 1-5, are currently on a five-game skid and have a realistic chance to enter their bye week at 1-7.

4) Houston Nutt, Mississippi

Odds of Getting Fired: It’s Not That They Don’t Want To…

The following quote is from Ole Miss Athletic Director Pete Boone back on September 19th after the Rebels’ 30-7 drubbing at the hands of Vanderbilt.

The fullness of the Ole Miss football experience that you deserve and have generously invested in, has not lived up to expectations recently. Coach Nutt and I met today and discussed the current state of Ole Miss football. Both of us are extremely disappointed in our performance this year. We agreed that to be successful, this disappointment must be met head on with solutions for improvement. We discussed several areas that needed improvement and I support Coach Nutt in his effort to correct those areas.

As I have said, Saturday’s performance and our running two-season SEC record are unacceptable. Our commitment to compete at a championship level is as strong as ever and we will succeed! We need your continued support of the team as Saturday is another SEC weekend and we need you here!

Considering since then, the Rebels have only managed a win against Fresno State and are 0-4 in SEC play, they would love to put Nutt on the next train out of town.  However, Ole Miss doesn’t have $6 million to buy out Nutt’s contract, so expect Boone to keep blowing this kind of smoke for a while.

Can Save His Job By:  Keeping the Boosters From Ponying Up To Get Rid Of Him

5) Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams

Odds of Getting Fired: As soon as they find somebody who wants the job…

Spagnuolo might be a victim of expectations set too high. The Rams won one game in Spagnuolo’s first year and seven games in his second year. Everybody thought with a combination of Stephen Jackson and Sam Bradford  this might be the “breakout” year. Well, the Rams are 0-6  and are staring down a date with New Orleans.

Can Save His Job By:  Getting his offense to score more than 9 points per game

6) Mark Richt, Georgia

Odds of Getting Fired: Decrease exponentially if he beats a ranked team

Georgia has a real problem. Its fan base expects the bulldogs to be in contention for the SEC East every year, and every year those dreams dissolve either after the South Carolina or Florida game.

But it might be the Boise State loss that really sealed Richt’s fate.  The way the Bulldogs fell behind by three touchdowns after a 28-point Boise State romp that chewed up nearly half the game; that made Georgia look so over-matched you could tell the Bulldog alum had seen enough of the Richt show. Georgia just comes up short too often against the big-name competition, was simpluy isn’t going to keep the faithful in Athens happy.

Can Save His Job By:  Starts by beating Florida, but his $7 million buy out helps

7) Jeff Tedford, California

Odds of Getting Fired: The most 50/50 guy on this list

Tedford is like a Bay-Area version of Mark Richt. He’s a nice, well-tanned guy who started out strong, but has a bit of a “what have you done for me lately?” problem.  Since 2006 when Tedford led the Golden Bears to 10 wins and a share of a Pac-10 title, Cal hasn’t repeated that success, even in the light of USC’s troubles.

Guys we didn’t list because their firing is more of certainty than Moammar Qaddafi’s:

  • Mike Riley, Oregon State
  • Mike Locksley, New Mexico State
  • Paul Wulff, Washington State

Guys who can coach their way on to the list:

  • Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
  • Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Danny Hope, Purdue
  • Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
  • Steve Fairchild, Colorado State
  • Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Lezlie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
  • Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

9 comments on “What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 10/22/2011 – The Inaugural Coaches’ Death Watch Edition

  1. tophatal
    October 24, 2011

    I’ve already sent my wreath to Sparano ! Can we agree now Norv Turner’s days are numbered ? How the hell can the Chargers have allowed the Jets back into that game ?

    Was that a type-o in terms of the score ( 6-3) between the Browns and Seahawks ? I just wanna be sure because I’m sick and tired of the bulls##t about there being no scoring in Premiership (EPL) soccer ! I’m in mourning as Man U got trounced 6-1 by their crosstown rivals Man City ! Here , someone’s chance to explain to me what the hell was happening ‘tween the Browns and Seahawks other than this being a game between two ” god damn awful “ teams !

    And even Chelsea lost (1-0) to lowly QPR .

    * Avid Man U & Chelsea fan .

    Alan aka tophatal ………

    Like

  2. chappy81
    October 24, 2011

    Should be interesting to see who gets fired first. If Miami really is in Suck for Luck mode they should probably keep Soprano around!

    I thought Del Rio should’ve been fired two years ago, I can’t believe he still has a job. Maybe that’s why they can’t fill up a stadium. It feels like when us A’s fans wanted Bob Geren out for two years, but you wake up and the nightmare is still sitting on your bench…

    Like

  3. Sporano is good as gone. Simple as that.

    Meehan

    Like

  4. sportsglutton
    October 24, 2011

    I recently looked at Steve Spagnuolo’s resume and was surprised to see that he was only a defensive coordinator for two seasons prior to gaining the Rams’ head coaching job. Perhaps this is no different than other young coaches like Raheem Morris, but experience counts for something and the lack of experience can certainly equate to less than anticipate results in the win column.

    Like

  5. brief22
    October 24, 2011

    Great post! I agree with Sporano at #1. Since taking over the reigns, he has done nothing but lose with the Fins.

    Like

  6. Just when you think Del Rio’s out the door, his Jags beat the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

    Of course I didn’t watch that game. I was too busy watching Mike Napoli become Signore Ottobre.

    Your mention of Houston Nutt got me thinking, however. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to win at Ole Miss. In fact, I think the SEC West should consider coaching rotations. I mean think about it. With LSU, Auburn and Alabama consistently national terrors, anyone who takes on a head coaching gig at either Ole Miss or Mississippi State is pretty much committing career suicide.

    Like

  7. tophatal
    October 25, 2011

    Andrew Luck has now decided to remain one more year at Stanford . And to his credit unlike Matt Leinart he won’t be taking salsa lessons as part of his additional studies .

    tophatal ……….

    Like

  8. sportsattitudes
    October 25, 2011

    They all should go. How do we arrange this to be done all at once to make it more efficient for everyone involved?

    Like

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