Seven NFL teams, or almost a quarter of all NFL teams, replaced their head coaches in 2014. The year before, the number was also seven, and after the 2012 season, eight coaches lost their job. This year, seven head coaches have been relieved of their duties so far, and more coaching changes could be in store.
But how do those moves compare to the preseason "hotseat" candidates?
In August last year, the Bookmaker Sportsbook ran the odds on which NFL head coach would be the first to be fired. That dubious distinction eventually went to Joe Philbin of the Dolphins, who was fired after four games. At the time the odds were published, Washington's Jay Gruden was listed as the most likely head coach to be fired first. Gruden of course took his Redskins to the NFC East division title and a playoff spot. Here's an overview of those preseason odds and what happened to each head coach since.
|1||Jay Gruden||Washington||+250||Getting ready for the playoffs|
|2||Mike Pettine||Cleveland||+550||Fired. Because Cleveland
|3||Ken Whisenhunt||Tennessee||+750||Fired in part over concerns that Whisenhunt didn't do enough to protect his quarterbacks|
|4||San Francisco||+1,200||Fired, but 49ers will pay his entire $14 million contract|
|5||Joe Philbin||Miami||+1,500||Fired four games into the season after signing a contract extension at the end of May, 2015
|5||Sean Payton||New Orleans||+1,500||After some discussion, will remain in New Orleans|
|7||Gus Bradley||Jacksonville||+1,800||Safe despite 12-36 record over three years|
|8||Chip Kelly||Philadelphia||+2,000||Failed in attempt to turn Madden Franchise mode into real life
|8||Lovie Smith||Tampa Bay||+2,000||Fired yesterday over concerns about defensive performance
|10||Jeff Fisher||St. Louis||+2,500||Incredibly, retains job after four consecutive non-winning seasons in St. Louis|
|10||Jim Caldwell||Detroit||+2,500||No decision has been made on Caldwell’s future yet|
|12||Cincinnati||+2,700||Fourth consecutive season with 10+ wins|
|13||Mike Zimmer||Minnesota||+3,000||Former Cowboys DC made playoffs|
|13||Bill O'Brien||Houston||+3,000||Made playoffs in second NFL season|
|15||Tom Coughlin||+3,300||Resigned after three straight losing seasons
|16||Andy Reid||Kansas City||+3,500||Playoffs
|20||+4,000||Former Cowboys secondary coach barely misses playoffs but is safe|
|20||Mike McCoy||San Diego||+4,000||McCoy stays, but OC Frank Reich and five assistant coaches fired|
|22||Buffalo||+4,500||Safe, but hasn't had winning season in five years
|22||Dan Quinn||Atlanta||+4,500||Rookie HC safe despite finishing season 2-7 after 6-1 start.
|24||Jason Garrett||Dallas||+5,000||Safe for now, but probably needs to reach playoffs in 2016 to keep job
|27||John Harbaugh||Baltimore||+10,000||Safe despite 5-11 finish
|29||Chuck Pagano||Indianapolis||+15,000||Surprisingly signs a four-year extension|
|29||Mike McCarthy||Green Bay||+15,000||Playoffs
|31||Bill Belichick||New England||+25,000||Playoffs
The clear standout on this list is Jay Gruden, who defied a lot of expectations this season by leading the Redskins to the playoffs. But overall, the list looks like a good early indicator of what would happen during and after the season.
The NFC East coaches went into the season on shaky ground, and the odds eventually caught up with two of them. And after finishing 4-12 in 2015, Jason Garrett will very likely find himself much higher on this list this year than he did last year. Could the odds catch up with him too?
The Cowboys have gone on record and declared Garrett's job safe after a disappointing 4-12 season. But it's hard to imagine that the Cowboys would accept another such season, regardless of the circumstances.
I wrote above that Garrett probably needs to reach the playoffs next season to keep his job. But would a winning record also be enough? Or does it have to be a playoff win, or perhaps two? Perhaps he's safe regardless of what happens?
What do you think the Cowboys need to achieve for Garrett to retain his HC position in Dallas?