The NFL’s Black Monday

The NFL has there own version of the coaching carousel just like the collegiate ranks do. In the NFL though all of the firings seem to happen on the same day. That day is sometimes known as ‘Black Monday’ and it takes place the Monday right after the final regular season games. This year seven coaches got handed their walking papers which was almost a record. What did they all have in common? Not one Super Bowl win as a head coach.

Of the seven coaches (there were also five General Managers fired too) three of the coaches had led their teams to a Super Bowl but lost. All of them had been to a Super Bowl or won a Super Bowl as an assistant coach. This can be interpreted in manu different ways but the main one is that success as an assistant doesn’t always translate to success as a head coach in the NFL.

Some of the seven fired coaches have already interviewed for other head coaching positions in the league. No concern that the coach couldn’t win a Super Bowl during his last job but this is being done while there are at least four former Super Bowl winning coaches who have at least expressed some interest in returning to the sidelines.

Changing head coaches in the NFL and in the collegiate ranks doesn’t fit any other hiring or firing practices in business. Non compete’s go out the window, it’s highly doubtful that references are called and existing contracts are nearly completely neglected (except of course for the millions paid out for a coach to leave town). On the other hand most coaches, unlike their private sector counterparts, can see it coming a miles away.

While football doesn’t follow any of the normal business rules when it comes to hiring and firing it does pervert the hiring and firing process in other industries. Because it is such a public event people sometimes take this as a guide (right or wrong) of how   their company should go about making changes. Perhaps if the process was more transparent people would be more understanding of the unique nature of the coaching business. Then again, maybe not.