It is somewhat amazing that the New York Giants, a team that never makes a coaching change mid-season, was the first team to hop on the coaching carousel and fire their head coach during the just-concluded season.
But they were far from the only team to make a change and with the dawning of “Black Monday,” coaches around the NFL are having not-so happy New Year’s as frustrated ownerships jettison coaches.
John Mara said when speaking to the media after hiring Dave Gettleman for the general manager job that the Giants would be looking for a head coach with prior head coaching experience.
That pool of candidates was somewhat shallow when Mara made the statement, but is quickly expanding. Will any of these recently fired head coaches interest the Giants?
(This list will be updated as more coaches are fired)
Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals) - Lewis wasn’t (technically) fired. Rather, he said during the season that he would be moving on from Cincinnati to pursue other opportunities. However, considering Cincy’s disappointing finishes in each of the last two seasons, this feels like a mutually agreed upon parting of the ways. Lewis has had plenty of success with the Bengals, going to the playoffs in five of the last seven seasons, and finishing with double-digit wins in four straight seasons from 2012 to 2015. However, Lewis could never get over the hump and make an actual play-off run and has yet to win a post season game.
Jack Del Rio (Oakland Raiders) - Del Rio is an interesting case. Since becoming the Raider’s coach, he had more success than the previous four coaches put together and oversaw their return to respectability. But, when the opportunity to get Jon Gruden to return to Oakland arose, owner Mark Davis jumped — reportedly offering Gruden $10 million per year and an ownership stake in the franchise.
Del Rio was previously the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 to 2011, following the firing of Tom Coughlin. He is also been a defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2002 (2nd ranked defense) and Denver Broncos in 2012 (4th ranked scoring defense).
John Fox (Chicago Bears) - Fox is a familiar name for Giants fans, and has deep ties to the franchise. He was the Giants’ defensive coordinator under Jim Fassel and was generally well-liked around the organization. Unsurprisingly, Fox’s teams have generally fielded solid, even dominant, defenses. Fox certainly fits Mara’s desire for an experienced coach, and Gettleman suggested a preference for a defensive-minded coach in his interview with Bob Papa.
Jim Caldwell (Detroit Lions) - Caldwell has been a head coach in the NFL twice before. He was promoted from quarterbacks and assistant head coach to replace Tony Dungy in 2009, where he went 14-2 and 10-6 before going 2-14 when Peyton Manning was out for the year. He was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012 and the team went on to win the Super Bowl. Following the Super Bowl, Caldwell was hired by the Detroit Lions, where he went 11-5, 7-9, 9-7, and 9-7 before being fired Monday Morning.
Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts) - Pagano replaced Caldwell at Indianapolis when the team drafted Andrew Luck in 2012. He was an assistant coach in the NFL from 2001 to 2007 as a secondary and defensive backs for the Cleveland Browns (2001 - 2005) and Oakland Raiders (2005-2006), respectively. He spent 2007 as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina before returning to the NFL to be Baltimore’s secondary coach from 2008 to 2010, and defensive coordinator in 2011. This past 4-12 season (with an injured Andrew Luck) was Pagano’s first under .500, going 11-5 in each of his first three seasons and 8-8 in each of the previous two.