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After Black Monday: What Happened To Preseason "Hotseat" Coaches?

A look back at which coaches the bookmakers had as favorites to get fired entering the 2015 season and how that turned out.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Rank Coach Team Odds Status
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 Jim Tomsula 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 Marvin Lewis 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 New York Giants +3,300 Resigned after three straight losing seasons
16 Jack Del Rio Oakland +3,500 Safe
16 John Fox Chicago +3,500 Safe
16 Andy Reid Kansas City +3,500 Playoffs
16 Ron Rivera Carolina +3,500 Playoffs
20 Todd Bowles New York Jets +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 Rex Ryan 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
25 Gary Kubiak Denver +6,000 Playoffs
26 Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh +7,500 Playoffs
27 Bruce Arians Arizona +10,000 Playoffs
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 Pete Carroll Seattle +25,000 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?

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