The NFL team and players props are rolling out hot and heavy at the books now with the regular season set to open a week from Thursday in New Orleans. With that said, today let’s take a look at … a coaching prop?
The NFL definitely isn’t like Major League Baseball, the NBA or NHL in that it’s fairly unusual for a head coach to be let do during the NFL regular season. With only 16 games, most owners choose to just wait until right after the year to issue a pink slip – usually the Monday right after the regular season (“Black Monday”) is when more than a few coaches are fired. It’s not like you can have one of those Colorado Rockies-esque turnarounds by hiring a new coach in the short (game-wise) NFL regular season.
But that’s not to say some coaches haven’t been let go in the past few years – four of them since 2008, actually. In 2008, Oakland’s Lane Kiffin was memorably fired and publicly torched by Al Davis after a 1-3 start followed a 4-12 first season. The Rams dumped Scott Linehan during that season and the 49ers canned Mike Nolan. Meanwhile, last year the Buffalo Bills dumped Dick Jauron when Buffalo started 3-6.
Not sure if you notice a trend, but three of those four franchises that pulled the in-season changes probably will again be three of the worst teams in the NFL this year: Oakland, St. Louis and Buffalo. The Niners seemed to find the right magic in replacing Nolan with Mike Singletary, however.
With that said, let’s take a look at the coaches Bodog lists as the ones likely to get fired first this season along with some NFL predictions on the possible first to go:
Eric Mangini, Cleveland (2/1): Mangini probably should be the favorite because the Browns aren’t going to be very good again and it was pretty surprising that new boss Mike Holmgren kept Mangini on. That four-game winning streak to end 2009 probably earned Mangini another year, but there’s no question Holmgren wants his own guy (maybe himself) on the sideline. Still, with Cleveland light years from contention, why bother firing a guy midseason?
Lovie Smith, Chicago (5/2): The Bears will not fire Smith during the season – that is just not their style. Plus the franchise, while it did spend big in free agency this offseason, is too frugal to pay Smith not to coach. Smith is probably a goner after the season if the Bears underachieve, but I wouldn’t waste your money here.
John Fox, Carolina (4/1): The Panthers are also a bit of a conservative franchise so it’s hard to see them dumping Fox, who has been a loyal soldier since 2002, until perhaps after the year. But, yes, Bill Cowher will be coaching this team next year unless somehow the Panthers go deep in the playoffs.
Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville (5/1): Del Rio is probably another goner after this season if the Jags struggle, but the franchise needs as much positive publicity in its city right now as it can get (all home games could be blacked out), so it’s hard to see Del Rio getting dumped. Plus this franchise is a bit cash-strapped (at least in comparison to other teams) so it won’t pay Del Rio to just go away.
Tom Cable, Oakland (15/2): You never can predict what Al Davis will do, but the Raiders actually seem like they might be getting a little better. Yes, Davis was out of his mind when he compared this club to the 1980 Super Bowl team and it’s certainly possible he dumps Cable if the team gets off to a bad start – which is possible with guys like Jason Campbell, Michael Bush and Chaz Schilens already hurt. But Davis seems to have some kind of man-crush on Cable for some reason.
Tom Coughlin, NY Giants (10/1): This is probably your best bet. Former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said Coughlin was on the hot seat this summer after last year’s 8-8 record, and he’s probably right. And the pressure could get even hotter if the Jets, who have been stealing all the headlines, are the excellent team everyone expects them to be. Plus ownership won’t stand for the G-Men to have a lousy season in the first year at New Meadowlands Stadium. If the Giants start slow after tanking following a 5-0 start last year, Coughlin, now in his seventh season, could easily be sacrificed.
Allen Eastman is back with his 99 System for NFL picks in 2010 and before he even came across this system he was considered one of the best NFL handicappers in the business – now he is just unstoppable. Last season the 99 System was 27-13 ATS and this system not only helped his clients make a boatload of money, but also helped Eastman to third place in the prestigious Las Vegas Hilton NFL Contest.