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After Black Monday: What Happened To Preseason "Hot Seat" Coaches?

A look back at which coaches the bookmakers had as favorites to get fired entering the 2016 season and how that turned out.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Seven NFL teams, or almost a quarter of all NFL teams, replaced their head coaches in 2016, the same number as in 2015 and 2014. This year, six head coaches have been relieved of their duties (or gave them up) so far, and more coaching changes could be in store.

But how do those moves compare to the preseason "hot seat" candidates?

In August last year, the Bookmaker Sportsbook ran the odds on which NFL head coach would be fired first this year.  That dubious distinction ended up going to Jeff Fisher of the Rams, who was the first NFL head coach to be fired during the 2016 season. At the time the odds were published, Detroit's Jim Caldwell was listed as the most likely head coach to be fired first. Caldwell of course ended up taking the Lions to the playoffs, just as the the coach listed as most likely to be fired in 2015, Jay Gruden, took his team to the playoffs that year.

So how did the rest of those preseason odds turn out this year? Here's an overview of what happened to each head coach since the early odds were released.

Rank Coach Team Odds Status
1 Jim Caldwell Detroit 370 Getting ready for the playoffs.
2 Mike McCoy San Diego 385 Last year they fired most of his assistants, this year they fired McCoy himself.
3 Jeff Fisher Los Angeles 700 Tried to go for five consecutive non-winning seasons with the Rams. Failed.
T4 Jason Garrett Dallas 1,100 Playoff-bound and strong candidate for Coach of The Year.
T4 Gus Bradley Jacksonville 1,100 Bill Belichick could go winless for the next 43 seasons and still have a better win % than Bradley's .226 (14-48).
6 Chip Kelly San Francisco 1,500 Fired. Because San Francisco. And because Chipster.
T7 Bill O'Brien Houston 1,750 Second consecutive playoff appearance.
T7 Chuck Pagano Indianapolis 1,750 No decision has been made on Pagano’s future yet, but it doesn't look good.
T9 Sean Payton New Orleans 2,000 Saints are reportedly 'open' to trading Payton in the offseason, and the Rams appear very interested.
T9 Dirk Koetter Tampa Bay 2,000 Almost made the playoffs in a his rookie season as head coach.
T9 Mike Mularkey Tennessee 2,000 Safe.
T9 Jay Gruden Washington 2,000 Missed the playoffs on an interception by a QB they'll likely have to make one of the highest paid in the NFL.
T13 Jack Del Rio Oakland 2,500 Playoffs, and what a turnaround for a team that last had a winning season in 2002.
T13 John Fox Chicago 2,500 Will return as Bears coach but nobody's excited about it.
T13 Rex Ryan Buffalo 2,500 Fired. And for good measure, Rob was fired too.
T13 Doug Pederson Philadelphia 2,500 Safe.
17 Adam Gase Miami 3,000 Made playoffs in a his rookie season as head coach.
18 Hue Jackson Cleveland 3,300 Safe. Now if only they could do something with their draft capital.
19 Dan Quinn Atlanta 3,500 Playoffs.
T20 Todd Bowles New York Jets 4,000 Former Cowboys secondary coach appears to be safe.
T20 John Harbaugh Baltimore 4,000 Safe despite second straight non-winning season.
22 Ben McAdoo New York Giants 4,500 Heckuva job for the rookie head coach in New York, considering their QB situation.
23 Marvin Lewis Cincinnati 5,000 First non-winning season since 2010.
24 Mike Zimmer Minnesota 7,500 Former Cowboys assistant is safe for now, but probably needs to reach playoffs in 2017 to keep job
T25 Gary Kubiak Denver 10,000 Stepped down as the head coach in Denver.
T25 Andy Reid Kansas City 10,000 3rd playoff appearance in four years. Meanwhile, Eagles have missed playoffs for three straight years.
T25 Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh 10,000 He may be a cheerleader, but he hasn't had a losing season in 10 years, and went to the playoffs in seven of those 10 years.
T25 Ron Rivera Carolina 10,000 Safe despite monster Super Bowl Blues.
29 Mike McCarthy Green Bay 15,000 Playoffs, and the Packers made good on Aaron Rodgers' "Run the table" promise.
T30 Pete Carroll Seattle 25,000 Playoffs.
T30 Bill Belichick New England 25,000 Playoffs.
T30 Bruce Arians Arizona 25,000 Safe despite missing playoffs.

The clear standout on this list is Jim Caldwell, who defied a lot of expectations this season by leading the Lions to the playoffs. But overall, the list looks like a good early indicator of what would happen during and after the season.

But what was Garrett doing so far up this list? Sure, the Cowboys were coming off a 4-12 campaign in 2015, but keep in mind that these odds were published before Tony Romo sustained his back injury in the preseason game against the Seahawks. It looks like the tired, old meme about Cowboys head coaches being on the hot seat came through once more, at least in terms of where the betting public's money was flowing last year.

On the bright side, given preseason expectations, this makes the case for Jason Garrett getting the Coach of The Year Award even stronger.

Garrett is now the longest-tenured coach in the NFC East and the eighth longest-tenured coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick (2001), Marvin Lewis (2003), Sean Payton (2006), Mike McCarthy (2006), Mike Tomlin (2007), John Harbaugh (2008) and Pete Carroll (2010). That's a pretty impressive peer group.

Six of those eight coaches have won Super Bowls, maybe this is the year Jason Garrett makes it seven out of eight.

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