For the third year I’ll try and track the coaching and general manager changes in the Land of Not For Long. Bill Cowher still has the longest active streak going but with another out of the money finish ending tonight at Baltimore I’m doubtfull he’ll be able to say that when training camp opens; earlier this year Mike Shanahan was on the hot seat but the Broncos have really picked up steam so he’ll have another year to continue developing Jake Plummer into John Elway II. The Giants already said goodbye to Jim Fassel and Atlanta booted Dan Reeves. Others questionable to return:
- Miami’s Dave Wannstedt: announcement on his future due by Tuesday but Wayne Huizinga has given him money to sign talent and four years but not so much as a conference title game appearance to show for it
- Buffalo’s Gregg Williams: teams are supposed to get better as the season goes on, not explore the deeper and deeper regions of bad
- Washington’s Steve Spurrier: Coach and the wife apparently not happy living la vida DC and are ready to say Manana
- Oakland’s Bill Callahan: first to nearly worst in one year but will he convince the Man in Black that 12 players on IR is the reason?
- Chicago’s Dick Jauron: since Ditka left, the Chicago coach is a perennial candidate on this list
- Arizona’s Dave McGinnis: a goner per ESPN but as long as Bill Bidwell controls the franchise don’t expect the Cardinals to even challenge for a playoff slot
- Cleveland’s Butch Davis: unable to develop either of two quality QBs, given plenty of draft picks, Davis could not improve on last year’s wild card game loss
- New Orlean’s Jim Hazlett: another perennial candidate because, once again, he couldn’t get over the hump and into the playoffs; he was able to hang on after last year’s disappointment but will another 8-8 record be Last Call in the French Quarter?
On the GM front, Falcons owner Arthur Blank showed good instincts by hiring second generation footballer Rich McKay as general manager earlier this month while Lions owner William Clay Ford did not by saying he hasn’t considered firing Matt Millen despite a big mouth and terrible record. Down in Tampa Bay, the decision to allow McKay to sign on in Atlanta shows that Jon Gruden appears to have convinced the Glazers that he should have near complete control of football operations.
Later: What the hell happened in Minnesota today? After starting the season with six straight wins, the Vikings finished 3-7 and missed the playoffs. By losing to Arizona, of all teams. By one point with literally no time left on the clock! How could Dante Culpepper and Randy Moss let their season slip away to arguably the worst team in the league? Mike Tice improved from last year’s 6-10 and this was only his second full season but is his job in jeopardy? The Vikings’ website lists many front office personnel but none with the general manager title; Rob Brzezinski, their Vice President of Football Administration, seems to come closest and perhaps he’ll take the fall instead. Green Bay goes to the playoffs as the NFC North champs, hosting the Seahawks next weekend.