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Coaches’ Death Watch: Sometimes, The Last Cut Is The Deepest

As the video says, some people think the first the cut is the deepest.  However, Rod Stewart isn’t an NFL fan, so he doesn’t understand that isn’t always true.  Black Monday has come and gone;   some heads rolled and some didn’t.   Oddly enough, it was J-Dub’s celebratory drinking binge over Chip Kelly’s pre-Black Monday demise that tipped me to the fact the musical key here didn’t lie with a soccer-loving Scotsman, but with a heroin-encrusted Brit.

The first cuts happened well before Black Monday.   First there was Joe Philbin.  Then there was Ken Whisenhunt.  Obviously, there’s what happened to Chip Kelly, which still has J-Dub guzzling sour mash like he thinks his liver is indestructible.  We all know that guy’s liver is going to end up in the Smithsonian once the addition to house it is completed, but this about the coaches we saw getting crushed by something the size of J-Dub’s drinking problem.  As obvious as predicting those fates might seem, there are lots of places where I was right and lots of places where  I was wrong.  And unlike those dicks at ESPN, I can admit when I was wrong.

Where I Was Right:

Mike Pettine:

Yeah, I know this is right up there with “the sun will rise in the east tomorrow,” but let’s be honest, life is about claiming your victories.  Pettine was at or near the top of my list pretty much all year, and for good reason.  In the latest installment of “As the Browns Turn,” Pettine went to owner Jimmy Haslam on the Friday before the fateful Black Monday inquiring about his job status.

Haslam gave him no answer.

Then, as soon as the clock hit 0:00 on the Browns’ 13th loss of the season, Pettine and GM Ray Farmer got whacked quicker than a Bronx coke dealer who got busted holding 50 grand worth of front money.  The Browns couldn’t even wait until;Black Monday to do what they do, which is to cut the legs out from under a coach after two years or less. Maybe Pettine will get another chance to prove if he can or can’t coach for another franchise where the general manager actually gets to make decisions, the quarterback doesn’t wear a fake mustache and wig, and the coach actually gets to make his own decisions about who plays.

If you can’t tell, I’m against this firing just because I don’t think two years is long enough to rebuild anything, much less the ruins of the franchise that resides next to Lake Erie. On the other hand, Pettine will now be out from under the Cleveland clown show, and that means might he get a shot to show his own merits…or lack thereof.

Tom Coughlin:

This was the guy about who I got the most blowback for having him consistently on this list.  I also predicted  it would not be a firing… at least not publicly. Coughlin resigned Monday, but if you saw his exit press conference and the way he turned the cold shoulder to owner John Mara as he walked off the stage, you know this was a “quit or be fired” situation. Everybody wants to point to the two Super Bowls for Coughlin, but it’s always forgotten  there were no playoffs for the Giants between those 2 wins, and none since the last one in 2011. Throw in his continual mismanagement of the clock, and the handling (or non-handling) of the Odell Beckham situation, and it was clear a change was imminent. At 68 years old, one would have to believe that Coughlin’s career is over. He could be headed for the Hall of Fame…get back to me in five years for that debate.

Where I Was Wrong:

Chuck Pagano:

H. Dumpty Pagano...about to become unrepairable pieces.

H. Dumpty Pagano…about to become unrepairable pieces.

The was obviously biggest miss on my list.  This was the biggest miss on EVERYBODY’S list.  He was on my list all year, and most weeks he was at or near the top.  There’s a ton of reasons for that, and the only reason why Pagano still has a job is the flaky nature of Colts’ owner Jim Irsay.

There have been many theories floated about how Pagano went from a reservation at the morgue to smiling on the corpses of his colleagues.   One has Irsay having every intention of firing Pagano but somehow let himself get talked out of it.  Another says Irsay was negotiating with Sean Payton and when that fell through, he decided to stick with what he had.  Another theory holds Irsay never intended to fire the Chuckster in the first place. Then again, maybe Pagano has “interesting” photos of Jimbo with a goat with no teeth in a cheap, airport-adjacent motel. Who knows?

The bottom line is the whole thing is smacks of a story where we, the sports fan public, are never going to get all the pieces. Start with general manager GM Ryan Grigson, who is little more than the “Coyote” to Pagano’s “Roadrunner.”  The fact Irsay kept both of these guys means either he really loves watching guys fall off the same 10,000-foot cliff ten times in a six-minute cartoon, he owns stock in the Acme Gadget Company, or Vicodin and Johnny Walker aren’t the only reasons Jimmy makes odd decisions.

But here’s the weirdest part. , was also extended.  Here’s a guy in Pagano who has seen the birth of several children, grandchildren, and survived a bout with leukemia, and yet the day he didn’t get fired by a second-rate NFL franchise is “the happiest day of his life?”

I may have missed on him this year, but the Chuckster stays on the watch list for next year.  More on that later.

Bill O’Brien:

Either way, Jim Irsay had better be careful, because Bill O’Brien was another guy I missed on. Billy the Bullet-chin made my list more than once, but in the end I realized he must have done something right. He recovered from not one,  but two embarrassing 30+ point blowouts, endured four starting quarterbacks, and  still won the AFC South. While a 9-7 record won’t get you your own episode of “30 for 30,” it was good enough to win and get in the play-offs, which is the goal.  Guys who find ways to win keep their jobs, and the fact Bullet-chin lives to de-pants the Chickster another day should keep everybody in Colts’ nation awake at night.

Jim Tomsula:

jim tomsula

Jim Tomsula proves why J-Dub now calls the 49ers “Cleveland West.”  The fact they just hired Chip Kelly had the Eagles’ fan in J-Dub calling all  his California friends and laughing at the fact that even after the Rams move to Los Angeles, Jack Del Rio is the best professional football coach in the Golden State.  Tomsula did as well as you could expect considering what he had to work with, but when push came to shove, the front office needed a scape-goat, and Jimmy was handy.  Don’t worry about Tomsula, though, because for some reason the 49ers gave him a $14 handshake to go away.  That’s a nice pay-day for five wins.

Lovie Smith:

Here’s one the one nobody saw coming, except for J-Dub…sort of.

Dub has been a detractor of Jameis Winston since day one, and when Winston started showing signs he might be able to become a legitimate NFL quarterback, J-Dub’s exact words were “yeah, Winston develops with Lovie Smith as his right after I get elected Pope.” That’s why Lovie got the pipe two days after Black Wednesday so the Bucs could ultimately give the job to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.  Koetter is the guy who tutored Winston and turned the Bucs’ offense into a real deal.  The minute the Bucs thought Koetter might be heading to Miami, Lovie was on the next flight out of town.

Jeff Fisher:

I had the “Porn-stache” as a staple on this list.  He looked as dead as dead can be, then he ripped off a couple of late-season wins, including one in Seattle which likely saved his neck. Obviously, given the events of this week with the Rams move to Los Angeles becoming official, it’s pretty clear Fisher is way down on owner Stan Kroenke’s list of priorities…for now anyway.

To Be Determined…

Another way to look at this is as a “preview of coming attractions” for next season.  These guys all survived until now, but they might want to be thinking “rent rather than buy,” if you know what I mean…

Jim Caldwell:

jim caldwell

The Lions just hired a new general manager, and he’s already gone on record saying Caldwell will be back next season.  Now, Jimmy doesn’t have the best track record, and new GMs like to bring in their own guy, so this really becomes a question of what sort of start do the Lions get off to, and if it’s bad, how patient is the new leadership?

Mike McCoy:

Here’s another guy whose survival is probably part Fisher and part Caldwell.  Ownership is dealing with becoming Stan Kroenke’s new room-mates in Los Angeles, but nobody is likely to live with such another limp San Diego season.

Sean Payton:

It’s the world’s worst kept secret that the Saints have big-time money problems, the Benson family is fighting amongst themselves for control of the team, and recently Payton was up for grabs to the highest bidder.  One way or another, I can see Payton at a U-Haul store in New Orleans flipping through pricing options.

Rex Ryan:

Rex Ryan slamming headset

Yeah, I know that GIF shows Rexy as a Jet, but I’m pretty sure we are not far from the Buffalo version happening soon.

The Buffalo Bills owner just put his general manager and his head coach on notice: it’s “play-offs or else” in Western New York. That pronouncement was followed by the Bills GM Doug Whaley essentially pointing the dirty finger at Ryan.  That’s never a good sign, so now it’s just a big game of “wait and see.”

And I’ll be here to do just that…

About JFI

I tend to think outside the box and question mainstream thinking.

2 comments on “Coaches’ Death Watch: Sometimes, The Last Cut Is The Deepest

  1. Ravenation
    January 16, 2016

    Reblogged this on First Order Historians.

    Like

  2. J-Dub
    January 16, 2016

    We must also never forget that Jeff Fisher is a born-and raised Los Angeles guy who played hos college football at USC. Kroenke looks to me like a guy who knows how to hit every public relations point (good or bad) available.

    Liked by 1 person

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