Black Monday always arrives a day after the regular season ends in the NFL. This year, 6 head coaches were fired – Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos), Adam Gase (Miami Dolphins), Todd Bowles (New York Jets) and Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
Arizona Cardinals – Steve Wilks
Wilks was hired to replace Bruce Arians but was never looked at as a strong candidate to become a very long term solution for the Cardinals. Turns out his term at the helm was shorter than most predicted, lasting just one season in which the Cardinals went 3-13, their worst record since 2000. The Cardinals will look for someone else to try and guide Josh Rosen in his second NFL season.
Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis
Not a surprising firing considering the Bengals have missed the playoffs in the last 3 seasons, but Marvin Lewis has been the HC at the organization for 16 years, so it’s always a bit weird when someone that’s been incharge for so long leaves.
Lewis and the Bengals went 6-10 in 2018, a third consecutive losing season following 5 straight years of making the playoffs and losing in the first game. This will be his legacy in Cincinnati: Seven playoff berths, 0-7 postseason record, some of them truly tragic. His overall record with the Bengals, 131-122-3, won’t make up for those disappointments.
Denver Broncos – Vance Joseph
Like Wilks, Joseph was a weird fit in Denver from the first moment, although the Broncos had no expectations of doing poorly. The team went 11-21 during his short tenure, the first time in over 45 years for the franchise. The Broncos have a lot of holes to fill, not just one the sidelines, but that’s probably John Elway’s biggest and most important decision to make.
Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase
Gase, who took over in 2016, did lead the Dolphins to the playoffs (first time since 2016), but since then his players have won only 13 games out of 32. This season started out 3-0, but the Dolphins, despite delivering their almost annual South Beach beatdown of the Patriots, couldn’t turn that momentum into a postseason appearance, going 4-9 the rest of the way.
In 3 seasons, Gase was 23-25, losing his final game by 25 points to the Buffalo Bills.
New York Jets – Todd Bowles
Another AFC East casualty of simply not winning enough was Todd Bowles, fired after 4 seasons with the Jets. Quite a few people were surprised he made it into this season.
Bowles started his Jets tenure with a 10-win seasons that ended with a last-day loss to the Bills which made them miss the playoffs. Since then, it’s been mostly downhill: Two 5-11 seasons followed by going just 4-12 as the Jets also tried to find a new quarterback in the draft (Sam Darnold) and perhaps made the wrong choice there too. In 4 years, Bowles made 0 playoff appearances, going 24-40, 3 times bottoming out in the division.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dirk Koetter
Another head coach who couldn’t turn a promising first season (9-7) into greater success: The Bucs went 5-11 in each of the last two seasons, failing to develop Jameis Winston into a leading quarterback in the league, although word from Florida is that they’re sticking by the former Heisman winner, despite his inconsistent play.
Koetter, formerly the team’s offensive coordinator, finishes his three years coaching the Bucs with a 19-29 record. He did coach until 2006 in College Football, so there is an option of him heading back there.