The 2023 regular season has come to an end and, unfortunately for some, so has their time as NFL coaches.
While some will find new homes, others may stay on the market.
“Black Monday” began this year with the early morning firing of Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who just hours earlier made headlines following the New Orleans Saints blowout victory – and garbage-time touchdown – against Atlanta on Sunday.
The Washington Commanders soon followed suit and expectedly moved on from Ron Rivera.
With the final week of the regular season completed, here is a breakdown of the coaches that didn’t survive the dreaded “Black Monday” firings.
Arthur Smith’s first gig as a head coach in the NFL came to an end just after midnight on Monday when the Falcons announced they would be parting ways with him after three seasons.
“Decisions like this are never easy and they never feel good,” owner Arthur Blank said in a message shared by the team.
“We have profound respect for Coach Smith and appreciate all the hard work and dedication he has put into the Falcons over the last three years. He has been part of building a good culture in our football team, but the results on the field have not met our expectations. After significant thought and reflection, we have determined the best way forward for our team is new leadership in the head coaching position.”
The decision followed the Falcons’ 48-17 loss to the Saints. It marked a 7-10 finish for Atlanta, the third consecutive season with the same result. It also marked the Falcons’ sixth straight losing season.
“We know the industry we’re in. Love doing what I’m doing,” Smith said after Sunday’s loss when questioned about his future with the team. “Obviously, that wasn’t the result we wanted today.”
In an unsurprising move, the Washington Commanders parted ways with veteran head coach Ron Rivera on Monday morning, following his fourth season with the team.
Rivera, who struggled to ever achieve the same level of success he did in his first season with the Commanders where he coached them to a division title in 2020, finished his career in Washington with a last-place finish in the NFC East for the second consecutive season after a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
“As we look ahead, we recognize the results this season were not good enough and a strategic shift in leadership and approach is necessary,” majority owner Josh Harris said in a statement provided by the team.
“This is a crucial offseason for the Commanders, and we continue to be motivated and inspired by the way the fans have responded since we took ownership last summer. Stewarding this franchise is a responsibility we don’t take lightly, and we’re eager to lay the foundation for the next chapter of Commanders football.”
Rivera said in a lengthy statement released by the team that he was “truly disappointed” by the results of the past three seasons, but he said it was “one of the greatest honors” of his career to coach in Washington.
After nearly a decade with the Carolina Panthers, Rivera was hired by the Commanders in 2020. He finished there with a 26-40-1 record.
The New York Giants closed out the regular season with a 27-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday to finish the season 6-11. On Monday, the team announced two coaching changes, which included moving on from special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson.
“I want to thank those guys for what they’ve done the last two years. This is the hard part of the job, I have a lot of respect for them,” head coach Brian Daboll said at a press conference Monday.
“Just felt like we’re going to move in a different direction, not going to add anything to it,” he continued. “These were private conversations, but I do respect both of those guys and what they’ve done the last two years, their commitment to the team, their work ethic, but [we] wanted to make a change.”
McGaughey, who in a previous stint with the Giants served as assistant special teams coach under Tom Coughlin, was in his sixth season in New York. Johnson followed Daboll after serving as an offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills.
Daboll noted that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka were both expected to be back next season.
“I think they’re good coaches, so it’ll be good to have some continuity and bring them back,” he said.
Hours later, reports emerged that Martindale would resign from his position after just two seasons with the team.
The changes came after New York allowed a league-high 85 sacks, 20 more than any other team in the league.
After the disappointing season the Panthers had, it was no surprise that more changes were ahead following the end of the regular season.
Frank Reich was fired in November after just 11 games and a 1-10 record. He was hired after the Panthers fired former head coach Matt Rhule a few weeks into the 2022 season after two losing seasons and a 1-4 record to start his final year with the team.
On Monday, the Panthers announced that they would be parting ways with general manager Scott Fitterer after three seasons.
“As we move forward with the new direction for our franchise, I have made the decision that Scott Fitterer will no longer serve as our general manager,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement provided by the team.
“I appreciate Scott’s efforts and wish the best for him and his family.”
The Panthers have gone 14-37 since Fitterer joined the team in 2021. He also led the charge in orchestrating a trade with the Chicago Bears last season that allowed Carolina to move to the No. 1 spot to get quarterback Bryce Young in exchange for wide receiver D.J. Moore and four draft picks — one of them that turned out to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2024.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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