The Monday after the final weekend of the NFL season is normally known as Black Monday around the league, because that is usually when the annual round of head coach and assitant firings begins (along with players being released) . But Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie decided to get things off to an early start by announcing that Chip Kelly was fired six days ahead of schedule.
The move was surprising only in its timing, as the season has seen more than its share of turmoil in Philly. Kelly, from the first, made brash claims about his approach to the game and how it would affect the NFL, but as he gained more control over personnel and shaped the roster to his liking, it seemed to have a detrimental effect. Now he is gone, but the damage he has done to the team with his roster moves remains.
Kelly is just one of three NFC East coaches who have had rough seasons. Both Jason Garrett and Tom Coughlin have seen their teams struggle and be eliminated from the playoffs. Only Jay Gruden of Washington is reasonably safe as he prepares his team to represent the division in the playoffs.
Based on initial reaction to the Kelly firing on Twitter, there are many Dallas Cowboys fans who are in favor of Garrett getting the ax as well. Earlier, the BTB staff had an extended discussion of just how much blame should be placed on the coaching staff for the fiasco that the 2015 season has become. While the general inclination was that Jerry Jones would be better served by withholding the guillotine for at least another season, it was not unanimous, and Jones himself expressed some displeasure with how the staff had handled things. The sudden termination of Kelly at least puts the idea of some significant changes on the Dallas staff out there.
One argument against Jones making a move after this season is that the Cowboys are just one season removed from a fairly impressive 12-4 record, and there were certainly plenty of injuries to at least give the coaches a fig leaf of an excuse. Coughlin does not have that, with the Giants not making it to the playoffs since their 2011 Super Bowl win, and they have now had three consecutive losing seasons. The rumor mill has been speculating that this was going to be Coughlin's last season if he did not turn things around. He hasn't, and John Mara may soon join Lurie in moving on from his head coach.
It is not very likely, but there is a legitimate possibility that Jay Gruden could become the dean of NFC East head coaches after only two seasons. But that is football. Losing records lead to coaches losing their jobs, and the division has been mostly a collective dumpster fire this year. For now, we can only wait and see.