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Andy Juniper


Black Monday Could Be the NFL's Hit Drama

Posted: 01/01/2013 9:30 am

It's altogether unlike the perpetually poised, polished and professional National Football League to fumble the ball and miss such a golden opportunity. Marketing, publicity and promotion -- incessant self-promotion (or, Kardashian-ism, as it's known) -- are what make this league larger than life, and by far bigger than baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.

Not convinced? Consider: the league has somehow managed to magically transform its so-called "NFL Player Selection Meeting" -- that is, its springtime draft of newly eligible players -- into a broadcast bonanza with what seems like thousands of hours of torturous televised chitter-chatter spliced between riveting visuals of young men being selected, and then (wait for it) pulling their new team's jersey on over their hulking frames. Be still your beating heart.

Oh, and pre-season -- you know, the dullest time in any sport, the time teams spend whipping their charges into playing shape, weeding out the slugs, and crafting the club that will take the field once the season starts for real. Well, the NFL, in cahoots with HBO, turned this onetime snoozefest into a reality show called Hard Knocks that follows a team through training camp with embarrassing invasiveness. Broken dreams. Curb-stomped hearts. Call it, Train Wreck TV.

And yet, every year on the Monday after the last Sunday of the regular season, the league unofficially holds its annual (seemingly drunken) firing fest -- canning coaches, jettisoning general managers, offloading administrators -- as the wise people who hired all these apparently inept people in the first place, conclude at once not that they made horrible hiring decisions, but, rather, that their team has decided "to move in a different direction."

Yeah, not backwards.

Alas, this year's version of Black Monday, as it has come to be known, saw nearly one-quarter of the league's head coaches axed within scant hours of each other. Say goodbye to Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Norv Turner in San Diego, Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City, and Lovie Smith in Chicago -- three of whom have Super Bowl coaching experience (Whisenhunt, Reid and Smith). To boot, five GMs and assorted executives were all told to not let the door hit them on the backside on their way out.

Happy New Year! (Cue creepy Donald Trump voice): "You're Fired!"

And yet, oddly enough, the league seems to do little to capitalize on all this inherent drama. Seriously, the NFL should turn Black Monday into a wild and wooly reality show: Spring Cleaning Comes Early. Or, better still, a game show: Off With Their Heads. Or, bare minimum, just make the day even more of a ghoulish spectacle than it already is. How about this:

Position the head coaches for every single NFL team in a long lineup. Then, have an announcer -- I'm thinking Ryan Seacrest -- say: "All those men who think they still have a job as a head coach in the National Football League, take one step forward..." Then as they all naturally step forward, Seacrest would chime in with something like, "Ah, not so fast, Lovie..."

That's right, Lovie's out. He squeezed double-digit wins out of a team that has a sieve for an offensive line. And injuries galore on both sides of the ball. But, he's out. And because he's such a crappy coach, four teams are reportedly knocking on his door, less than 24 hours after the Chicago Bears showed him the door.

Yeah, let's turn this manic Monday into must-see TV. And let's borrow the motto from another inane reality show, Big Brother. That is, "Expect the unexpected". And, oftentimes, the nonsensical. Change for the sake of change.

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  • Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals

    The Arizona Cardinals <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/ken-whisenhunt-fired-cardinals-black-monday_n_2389221.html">have fired coach Ken Whisenhunt</a> after six seasons which included the long-suffering franchise's only Super Bowl appearance.

  • Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers

    The San Diego Chargers <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/norv-turner-fired-chargers-aj-smith-black-monday_n_2388977.html">have fired coach Norv Turner</a> after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

  • Mike Tannenbaum, New York Jets

    General Manager Mike Tannenbaum of the New York Jets was fired after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/rex-ryan-staying-jets-mike-tannenbaum-fired_n_2388498.html">a dismal 6-10 season</a> which included the trade for backup quarterback Tim Tebow earlier this year.

  • Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns

    Head coach Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns was let go after a losing season in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/pat-shurmur-fired-browns-tom-heckert_n_2388357.html">an expected overhaul </a>by new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner.

  • Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles

    Andy Reid was fired following<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/black-monday-2012-andy-reid-fired-nfl-coaches_n_2388674.html"> his worst coaching season</a> with the Philadelphia Eagles after 14 years. Owner Jeffrey Lurie said it was time "to move in a new direction." The Eagles were 4-12.

  • Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears

    The Chicago Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith after nine years on Monday after a 10-6 season, according to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/lovie-smith-out-after-9-s_n_2388618.html">the Chicago Tribune</a>.

  • Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs

    The Kansas City Chiefs fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday after a 2-14 season. Crennel <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/romeo-crennel-fired-kansas-city-chiefs-pioli_n_2388387.html">was fired after one full season</a> as coach.

  • Tom Heckert, Cleveland Browns

    Cleveland Browns General Manager Tom Heckert (L), <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/pat-shurmur-fired-browns-tom-heckert_n_2388357.html">who went 9-23 in two seasons</a> with the Browns, was fired Monday morning.

  • Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars fired general manager Gene Smith on Monday <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/gene-smith-fired-jaguars_n_2387841.html">after four disappointing seasons</a>, including the worst year in franchise history (2-14).

  • Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills

    Chan Gailey <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/chan-gailey-fired-buffalo-bills_n_2388785.html">has been fired</a> by the Buffalo Bills after three losing seasons. Buffalo finished 6-10, and Gailey leaves with a 16-32 record.

  • Mike Reinfeldt, Tennessee Titans

    Executive Vice President and COO Mike Reinfeldt <a href="https://twitter.com/jwyattsports/status/285793903221829633">was fired by the Tennessee Titans</a> on Monday according to The Tennessean.

  • A.J. Smith, San Diego Chargers

    The San Diego Chargers <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/norv-turner-fired-chargers-aj-smith-black-monday_n_2388977.html">have fired general manager</a> A.J. Smith after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

  • Rod Graves, Arizona Cardinals

    The Arizona Cardinals <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/ken-whisenhunt-fired-cardinals-black-monday_n_2389221.html">have fired general manager</a> Rod Graves (R), who had been with the franchise for 16 years. He'd been general manager since 2007.

  • Greg Knapp, Oakland Raiders

    The Oakland Raiders <a href="http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-12-31/raiders-fire-offensive-coordinator-greg-knapp-coaches-assistants-oakland">fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp</a> and three other assistants on Monday after finishing their 10th straight season without a playoff berth, according to Sporting News.


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