In the world of professional football, this isn’t New Year’s Eve. It’s Black Monday — the day many an NFL coach gets the axe after a disappointing season.
And today was no different. Andy Reid is out after 14 years coaching the Philadelphia Eagles. So is Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears. The Chiefs, Chargers, Browns, Bills, and Cardinals all made changes at the top.
In a press conference today, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said this is least favorite day in the NFL. “Usually, for 14 years, I’m at home watching teams have to make changes with their head coaches,” he said. “Today, we’re in that position.”
Ousted coach Andy Reid will fare okay. He’s due to make $6 million next year — the last in his contract. Ex-head coaches often end up as defensive or offensive coordinators, or go into television.
“In some ways it’s a mad shuffle period,” says Kenneth Shropshire of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative. “The coach’s representative lawyer or agent is making out a plan, fielding a lot of calls, and trying to sort through things.”
Some coaches who get the boot do go on to lead other teams. Today, the San Diego Chargers became the third team to fire head coach Norv Turner.
It seems NFL coaches aren’t that different from corporate CEOs, who often reemerge to lead other companies even after being fired. “Most people who are at this level, they’re not so good at sitting around,” says Bruce Sherman, a corporate succession consultant with Shields Meneley Partners.
Unlike corporations, Sherman says sports teams don’t typically have succession plans in place and have to look outside for replacements.
Even when they do plan ahead, it doesn’t always work out. Before his retirement in 2009, Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts groomed his long-time assistant Jim Caldwell to take over. Caldwell was fired earlier this year after three seasons.
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