Jets, Bengals, Broncos, and More Fire Head Coaches as NFL Season Ends

Five of the NFL's seven African American coaches were canned on a Sunday/Monday spree that saw six teams axe their head coaches.

Todd Bowles, Marvin Lewis

Image via Getty/Steven Ryan

Todd Bowles, Marvin Lewis

The NFL regular season ended on Sunday, and with it, the future of at least six head coaches as of this writing, not including the two coaches canned before the season could even conclude. Let's go through them all first to catch you up:

In late October, the Browns fired Hue Jackson. Interim coach Gregg Williams is in the running for the top spot after leading the Browns to a 5-3 finish.

#Browns GM John Dorsey says at a news conference that interim coach Gregg Williams will interview for the HC job on Tuesday. OC Freddie Kitchens also will get an interview.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

The Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy earlier in December, likely to the delight of Wisconsin denizens and Aaron Rodgers. They're now looking to purloin a Pats coach.

The #Packers requests are now out and official. From what I hear, McDaniels will take part in a select few processes. A targeted approach for the right job.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Browns and Packers have requested permission to interview Patriots' DC Brian Flores for head coach, per league source.

Packers also requested permission to interview Patriots' OC Josh McDaniels for HC.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018

Hours after the Pats put the smackdown on the Jets, New York coach Todd Bowles was out as head coach Sunday night, though his assistants are still on as of this writing.

The Jets have fired head coach Todd Bowles.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 31, 2018

#Jets assistants from the staff of former coach Todd Bowles are still under contract and will have the opportunity to interview with the new coach for jobs, I’m told. They are retained for now. On the other hand, they are also not free at this point, either.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter is also done.

Post-season firings are underway: Buccaneers relieves HC Dirk Koetter of his duties, source tells ESPN.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018

From @gmfb as we kick off a busy day: The #Jets fired Todd Bowles and now have a coveted opening, while the #Bucs moved on from coach Dirk Koetter after continuing their playoff drought.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Previously, former #AZCardinals coach Bruce Arians had said he’d only consider the #Browns job. But with the #Bucs job open, BA just texted me: "I know Jason (Licht). So, I would listen.” That would be interesting.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

The Cardinals fired head coach Steve Wilks almost a year after hiring him:

Sources: #AZCardinals coach Steve Wilks has told his staff during a meeting that he will not be the coach going forward. He has not yet heard it official from owner Michael Bidwill. But that is what he has told his staff.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

From @gmfb: It appears that #AZCardinals coach Steve Wilks will be one-and-done. He's told his staff he expects to be fired, though he hasn't heard it officially. He'll be a hot commodity as a DC.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Thomas Davis said it's "unfair" Arizona didn't give Steve Wilks his fair chance at turning that team around.

Cardinals reportedly parting ways with the first year head coach and former Panthers defensive coordinator Wilks

— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) December 31, 2018

The Dolphins fired Adam Gase, but he should be in the running for all the other openings, according to's Ian Rapoport.

Adam Gase just told me that he has been fired. He is about to meet with the staff and players.

— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) December 31, 2018

Source: The #Dolphins fired Adam Gase.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

The #Dolphins announce their moves, firing Adam Gase and putting GM Chris Grier in charge of football operations. He’ll have final say. Mike Tannenbaum reassigned

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

The biggest surprise of the coaching carousel happens in Miami: #Dolphins coach Adam Gase is out. He’ll immediately emerge as a top candidate for several openings. Big-time QB prowess.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Broncos coach Vance Joseph is also out, though he should be in the running for a defensive coordinator position.

#Broncos have fired coach Vance Joseph, source said. Two season without a viable QB and now unemployed.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

#Broncos GM John Elway just finished meeting with coach Vance Joseph, informing him he’s done. Joseph should land as a top defensive coordinator candidate.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

From @gmfb: The #Broncos have now fired coach Vance Joseph after two seasons.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

Broncos just requested permission to interview Patriots’ defensive coordinator Brian Flores for their HC job, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018

And finally, the Bengals have parted ways with Marvin Lewis after 16 seasons as their coach. He could transition to TV work, or try his luck elsewhere, as there are now a bevy of openings around the league.

Marvin Lewis has been fired per source. #Bengals

— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) December 31, 2018

Former Bengals’ HC Marvin Lewis will have options for his future: coaching, front-office work or TV. He has contemplated all and now will get to determine what’s next.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018

It seems Joseph might be in the running for the Cincy job, though, which might help take the sting off the Broncos termination.

To echo what @TomPelissero reported, #Bengals coach Marvin Lewis tells his staff he’s out. A new direction for owner Mike Brown. Keep an eye on Vance Joseph there.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018

All told, eight NFL head coaches are now gone as of Monday afternoon.

Teams now in the head-coach market:


— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018

Last week, an exec from a team not in the market for an HC, said to me: "Where are all the candidates going to come from?" Good question. A quarter of the NFL is looking for a new HC right now.

— Judy Battista (@judybattista) December 31, 2018

While head coaches are dropping like flies, most of the general managers who hired them appear safe. 

8 HC’s fired so far. Many from teams with long standing GM’s who appear to be surviving. Hard to understand the thinking of ownership.

— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) December 31, 2018

In a league that's faced accusations of racial discrimination from the top down, this particular shedding of coaches is more than a little suspect.

Passionate words right now on @gmfb from @Nate13Burleson about African-American coaches deserving a fair shake, on a day Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks, Vance Joseph and Marvin Lewis are all out of work.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 31, 2018

Coaching firings are bad overall but five black coaches fired today: Marvin Lewis, Steve Wilks (not official but likely), Vance Joseph, Todd Bowles, Hue Jackson.
Eight total vacancies.

— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) December 31, 2018

Five of the NFL's seven African American coaches are now out of work. Yes, some will return to the sidelines with another team or as a coordinator, but for a league simultaneously battling Colin Kaepernick in court as well as the wider perception of bigotry between management and workers, it's not a good look.

Latest in Sports