Being an NFL coach is a difficult job. You’re the toast of the town when your team has a winning record and, even better, makes the playoffs. Start losing, though, and your name fills headlines and sports talk radio shows. Thick skin, it would seem, is one of the many job requirements.
Another tricky part, too, is managing the team. A wide range of egos, with skill levels that match, require a deft hand, decisive thinking and a doctorate in psychology from Harvard. All it takes is one sulking misanthrope being paid millions to play a game to torpedo a successful season. And let’s not talk about injuries to key players dismantling the best-laid plans for a chance to hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Houston.
Hundreds of alpha males, bearing college to pro pedigrees, all want to be just one of 32 who will embrace the responsibility that comes with being an NFL coach. They know it’s not an easy task. To put it bluntly, most are hired to ultimately get fired. Job security, especially in this niche of a profession, relies on a winning record and, more importantly, winning big games. An inability to do both always means trouble.
So, who are the 10 NFL coaches most likely to be fired this season? All it takes is a slow start, brought about by a lack of production and preparation or season-ending injuries to star players, and any one of these 10 men will be handed their walking papers:
10. John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens
2015 record: 5-11-0
NFL overall career record (includes playoffs): 87-56-0
Missing the playoffs two out of the past three seasons certainly looks like the beginning of a downward trend for Harbaugh. Sure, the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII (with John defeating his brother Jim and the 49ers), but the good will gained from that is on borrowed time in Baltimore. Repeats of a subpar 2015 season, his first losing campaign in Baltimore, and missing the playoffs again will be hard for Harbaugh, who’s in the final year of his contract, to overcome.