The 2015 NFL season regular season is over, with six head coaches making way during the season or after it for someone new. Mike Pettine with the Cleveland Browns, Ken Whisenhunt with the Tennessee Titans and Joe Philbin with the Miami Dolphins simply continue a tradition of failure. Jim Tomsula was set up to fail with the San Francisco 49ers, Chip Kelly did it to himself with the Philadelphia Eagles, while Tom Coughlin could no longer keep working on the credit of two Super Bowls for the New York Giants.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Resigned or fired, it doesn’t matter. The Giants wanted to move on, and Coughlin, 69, with 20 seasons of head coaching in the NFL behind him, probably wanted to leave. He was the Giants head coach since 2004, which means the entire Eli Manning era. The Giants made the playoffs five times from 2005 to 2011, including winning two Super Bowls, which makes Coughlin something of a legend for the franchise. But the ending wasn’t as happy, going 12-20 in the last two seasons and missing the playoffs four straight years. It had a lot to do with terrible decisions by the general manager, but Coughlin hasn’t helped with his decision making on the sidelines.
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
Kelly’s 26-21 record during his three years with the Eagles might make someone who hasn’t been following scratch his head. But the Eagles went backwards during his time with the team: 10-6 with the playoffs in 2013, 10-6 without the playoffs in 2014 and the Eagles were 6-9 by the time Jeff Lurie decided to fire him, seeing that he was given a bit too much power for someone who never coached an NFL team before. Stories after he was gone showed someone who wasn’t willing to listen to anyone and brought too much ego to the job and especially the sidelines.
Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns
Going 7-9 in his first season, it felt like Pettine might be the guy to last the two seasons barrier in Cleveland. But a 3-13 second season, with another failure to stabilize the situation at quarterback (Josh McCown is either bad or injured, Johnny Manziel needs help more than anything else), doomed his chances of staying on for a third year, as the worst franchise in the NFL keeps looking for a way out of the bottom in the AFC North.
Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
Philbin had this “dead man walking” label to him since the end of last season. Overall, his 24-28 record in Miami since the beginning of the 2012 season isn’t that bad, but their 1-3 start to this season and especially the way they looked in some of the losses ended his time with the team. His replacement, tight ends coach Dan Campbell, went just 5-7, not too impressive. But it seems like the players love him and want him to stick around a while longer.
Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers
Tomsula was fired after just one season at the job that included replacing Colin Kaepernick (injury and playing poorly) and pretty much the beginning of what might be a very dark period for the franchise. Tomsula was never going to do too well with what was left for him after the scorched earth following the firing of Jim Harbaugh, finishing with a 5-11 record. But the question that remains has more to do with the current ownership and front office, who seem to have put themselves in a very difficult situation to climb out of after having one of the two or three best teams in football up until two years ago.
Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans
Despite his success with the Cardinals, maybe this guy should stick to being an offensive coordinator. Whisenhunt went 3-20 as the head coach of the Titans, with the drafting of Marcus Mariota not saving his job (2-14 in 2014). The Titans won their first game of the season and then lost six in a row before Whisenhunt was fired. His replacement, Mike Mularkey, went 2-7 in the remaining nine games, which is a safe way to say the Titans will be looking for a new head coach this offseason.