NFL Coaching Hot Seat Rankings: Is your coach in danger of losing his job?
From No. 1 (already gone!) to No. 32, we rate each coach's employment security
Hot seat season is officially cranked up when our 2016 coaching tracker goes live and is updated with the latest news and rumors.
In that spirit, we're ranking all 32 head coaches based on job security. This is a strange season because there are multiple coaches running teams having very bad seasons who are unlikely to get fired (see: losing limbo).
And there are a lot of established coaches on the fringe of making the playoffs. This is not a projection of what we think will happen the rest of the season per se, but a ranking right now as a snapshot, understanding that for certain teams, it's going to be tough to make the playoffs.
NFL seasons swing in an instant -- don't ever be surprised when someone goes from perfectly safe to sitting in a pot of hot water. Or when someone's looking like they could be canned to becoming a candidate for Coach of the Year (Sean Wagner-McGough broke those candidates down here).
Leave who's too high or who's too low in the comments or let me know what you think on Twitter @WillBrinson.
Pretty self-explanatory and exclusive group (so far).
1. Jeff Fisher, Rams: The hottest seat belongs to the man who is already incinerated. Fisher was fired after Week 14 and then his boss Kevin Demoff said if the Rams went 8-8 or 7-9 he could have kept his job. They're 4-9 with three games left! A confluence of factors did Fisher in, but ultimately losing games and poor attendance sent him packing.
Piping Hot Seats
Coaches who are likely be fired after this season.
2. Gus Bradley, Jaguars: It's a fait accompli. The Jaguars made major defensive strides this season, jumping into the top 10. Ironically it's the regression of the offense, particularly quarterback Blake Bortles, that likely results in the change.
3. Rex Ryan, Bills: It would be a surprise if Rex returns to Buffalo next season. The Bills (6-7), even with the Browns up next, don't look capable of making a run in the AFC. Another missed year will likely mean change, especially with the defense struggling again (the Bills are 18th in yards allowed and 16th in points allowed).
If any of these guys is out of a job come Jan. 2 it would hardly be surprising.
4. John Fox, Bears: Chicago has played better down the stretch on defense and has found a nice little quarterback in Matt Barkley. But would it be remotely surprising if Fox got canned? The Bears could easily clean house following a disastrous season.
5. Mike McCoy, Chargers: San Diego had the talent to be good this season but gagged away a bunch of games. Injuries and bad luck didn't help, but those excuses might not be enough to save McCoy.
6. Chuck Pagano, Colts: Yeah, he got a four-year extension, but Indy is a major disappointment and there is plenty of blame to go around for the front office and coaching staff. You can't rule out Jim Irsay doing something rash.
7. Todd Bowles, Jets: New York won 10 games last season under Bowles, but 2016 has been an unmitigated disaster. It would be worse, aside from a Bryce Petty-led OT win vs. the 49ers that ultimately hurt the Jets' draft position. The Monday night loss to the Colts at home as Woody Johnson rubbed shoulders with the vice president-elect didn't help, but is blowing this front office and coaching staff up after two years smart? Probably not. The guess is Bowles stays but this situation is tough to predict.
8. Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The Lewis-engineered turnaround in Cincy is criminally underrated. The Bengals were the Browns before the Browns, and now they're a stable franchise, though one having a bad season. Still, they haven't won a playoff game and are irrelevant in the current playoff race. A change would hardly be surprising.
The expectation is none of these guys is getting canned, but with different circumstances ...
9. Hue Jackson, Browns: I struggled with where Hue fits. Can a coach be safe if his team goes 0-16? Then I thought about another similar situation and created a new category. The chances are slim the Browns boot Hue after one season, but Jimmy Haslam is a fiery Southern biz guy. You think he won't make an irrational decision because his team couldn't win a single game?
10. Chip Kelly, 49ers: Again, really bad roster but a coach who is liked by the franchise. San Francisco is on a 12-game skid and in a dogfight with the Browns for the No. 1 overall draft pick. It's hard to imagine zero change in San Francisco and that puts Kelly firmly in the crosshairs.
11. Sean Payton, Saints: He won't have a winning record for the third straight season. But New Orleans handed him a five-year extension last offseason and signed Drew Brees to one as well. Finishing 5-11 is possible, but even that would make it difficult to clean house.
12. Ron Rivera, Panthers: One season removed from a Super Bowl appearance, things have gone poorly this season, to say the least. But this franchise is not prone to rash action and it would be extremely surprising if Rivera goes, although that could change if Carolina finishes 5-11.
This Is A Safe Space
These guys should secure, and don't get super hung up on the order.
13. Doug Pederson, Eagles: The 3-0 start feels like years ago and Pederson has made mistakes, but Philly can't blow this thing up after one year with a rookie quarterback starting the entire season. These were just natural growing pains.
14. Jay Gruden, Redskins: It's an impressive year for Gruden, who is almost guaranteed a winning record and still has a shot at making the playoffs. He has really stabilized Washington, so a move here wouldn't make much sense.
15. John Harbaugh, Ravens: The possibility of missing the playoffs two years in a row certainly exists after Monday's loss at New England. This is not to say anyone expects a move by any stretch here, but if the Ravens miss the playoffs for the third time in four years it's on the table.
16. Mike McCarthy, Packers: His spot in these rankings could swing wildly based on the next three (or more?) games. If the Packers win out and make any postseason run, McCarthy probably bumps up against untouchable. Losing out and/or missing the playoffs would at least make things interesting.
17. Bill O'Brien, Texans: Assuming they hold on and win the division and don't lose by 40 to someone in the playoffs, O'Brien should be fine. People rag on him, but has any coach ever been hamstrung by worse quarterbacks? He's a master of turning chicken poo into a mildly edible chicken salad.
18. Mike Mularkey, Titans: Didn't see this coming. Seven wins in the books for Tennessee means the Titans are likely to hit .500, which means Mularkey is coming back. The Titans have far exceeded expectations.
19. Jim Caldwell, Lions: One of the favorites to get fired before the season, Caldwell has helped Detroit jump to a nine-win season and a probable playoff spot. Even if the Lions collapse (and, remember, all but one win is by a single score or less, so anything is possible), nine wins and Matthew Stafford suffering an injury save Caldwell.
20. Ben McAdoo, Giants: Massive second win over the Cowboys for McAdoo, who is probably one win away from getting the Giants into the playoffs. After pushing out Tom Coughlin to keep McAdoo, the Giants aren't moving on after a single season.
21. Adam Gase, Dolphins: First-year coach who engineered an incredible turnaround and still has the Dolphins in the hunt despite Ryan Tannehill's injury. It would be a shock if Gase wasn't on the sideline next season after a midseason surge, even if Miami misses the playoffs.
21. Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: After a horrific start, Koetter's return was questionable. Five incredible defensive games later the Bucs would be a playoff team if the season ended today. Dallas (road), New Orleans (road) and Carolina (home) is a brutal finishing schedule, but winning one could result in a postseason berth. Hard to imagine him being in trouble.
22. Dan Quinn, Falcons: Atlanta (8-5) is in great shape for a playoff berth with San Francisco, Carolina (road) and New Orleans left. Losing out might cause concern here but short of that Quinn is a lock to be back for a third season.
23. Jack Del Rio, Raiders: Even if the Raiders lost their three remaining games, Black Jack Del Rio has provided this team with enough swagger en route to winning 10 that he's not going anywhere.
24. Bruce Arians, Cardinals: Rough season for the Cardinals, who fell just short again against the Dolphins on Sunday. Their window to win out and sneak into the postseason probably slammed shut in the Florida rain. Arians is good in Arizona as long as he wants.
25. Mike Zimmer, Vikings: After a 5-0 start things have gone south, though Zimmer should get a ton of credit for righting the ship and getting this squad back in contention. The Vikings are a long-shot team at this point but could win out and get in. Considering all he dealt with, a change would be stunning.
26. Gary Kubiak, Broncos: Missing the playoffs puts anything in play, but Kubiak won a Super Bowl last season and has been battling for a playoff spot with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch at quarterback. The offense has taken a major step back, but it is pretty unlikely John Elway is going to ax his old backup a year after bringing a title to Denver.
No chance these guys get canned.
28. Mike Tomlin, Steelers: Even a total meltdown isn't going to put Tomlin on the hot seat. Besides, Pittsburgh is in the driver's seat to win the AFC North or at least snag a wild-card berth.
29. Andy Reid, Chiefs: Two straight seasons with 10-plus wins for Reid, one of the most under-appreciated coaches of the past 20 years. He doesn't have a Super Bowl title, but it's never too late to pull something off.
30. Jason Garrett, Cowboys: Surprised to see Garrett this high? Don't be -- Jerry Jones already loved him, and Garrett has worked wonders with rookie QB Dak Prescott. Garrett also punched his ticket for the playoffs before anyone else.
32. Bill Belichick, Patriots: Feel pretty confident the Pats will at least give Belichick one more season.
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