David Culley, who won four games in one season as head coach of the Houston Texans, was fired on Thursday, adding to a growing list of NFL coaches who are finding jobs now that the regular season is finished.
He joined Joe Judge of the Giants, Brian Flores of the Dolphins, Matt Nagy of the Bears and Mike Zimmer of the Vikings, all of whom were let go earlier in the week. The Broncos’ Vic Fangio was fired Jan. 9.
This year’s string of layoffs reduces the number of black head coaches in the NFL to one — Mike Tomlin of the Steelers — and should bring additional scrutiny to job searches. The league expanded its Rooney Rule in May 2020 to require teams not to block assistant coaches from interviewing for head coach or coordinator roles, and in 2018 began holding an annual summit where aspiring coaches and nonwhite CEOs could network and share advice.
This week’s personnel changes leave only a Hispanic head coach, Ron Rivera of the Washington soccer team, and an Arab-American Muslim coach, Robert Saleh of the Jets.
The series of coaching layoffs this year includes several organizational teardowns, as the Bears and Vikings also got rid of their general managers, and the Giants accepted the retirement of General Manager Dave Gettleman.
David Culley, Houston Texans
Culley was hired in January 2021, just weeks after team owner Cal McNair named Nick Caserio as general manager. It was a tough time for the organization, which had yet to deal with the trade request of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, and was a month away from the release of star pass rusher JJ Watt.
The team started the season with journeyman Tyrod Taylor starting at quarterback, giving way to a battle for efficiency in early December when rookie Davis Mills was slightly better in relief for Taylor, who had suffered a hamstring injury. leggings. Mills started 11 games to Taylor’s six, and the Texans finished 4-13, nearly tying the 4-12 tally compiled under Bill O’Brien (and Romeo Crennel) in the 16-game 2020 season. .
2021 NFL Season News and Analysis
Culley, 66, was hired by the Texans after 27 years as an NFL assistant, most recently with the Baltimore Ravens.
Joe Judge, Giants
The Giants waited a day or two longer than other teams, but on Tuesday they fired their coach for the third time in six years. The judge’s departure comes a day after Gettleman resigned.
While team owners have traditionally valued stability, Judge’s 10-23 record in his two seasons was too hard to ignore. The Giants have lost their last six games this season, all by double-digit margins.
The Giants haven’t made the playoffs since the 2016 season and haven’t won a playoff game in a decade.
Gettleman deserved some of the blame for the Giants slide. He used the second pick in the 2018 draft to select running back Saquon Barkley, who struggled with injuries. He offered major contracts that backfired on offensive tackle Nate Solder and receivers Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. He signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a huge contract extension, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, then traded him to Cleveland for players — Jabrill Peppers, Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines — who won’t. did not become stars.
“It’s an understatement to say that John and I are disappointed with the lack of success we’ve had on the pitch,” Steve Tisch, co-owner of the team with John Mara, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Like other clubs, the Giants may focus on finding a general manager first before hiring Judge’s replacement.
Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
the Denver Broncos fire coach Vic Fangio after three lost seasons.
Fangio was fired a day after the Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-24, and finished last in AFC West with a 7-10 record. The Broncos were in contention for a playoff spot heading into the final quarter of the season, thanks to one of the best defenses in the league, but then lost their last four games.
Denver hasn’t made the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl in the 2015 season. Fangio went 19-30 in three seasons.
Broncos general manager George Paton, who took over this work when John Elway became director of football operations in January 2021, will begin looking for a new coach.
“George will have full authority to select the next Broncos head coach,” team president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. “It’s his decision and his program.”
There may also be troubles in the owner’s box. The odds of the franchise being sold this year have increased after a judge Arapahoe County, Colorado has dismissed a lawsuit who contested the will of the former owner Pat Bowlen, who passed away in 2019.
Whoever takes over the team’s front office will inherit several top offensive weapons, including wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant, and several top defensemen, including safety Justin Simmons and linebacker Bradley Chubb. . The team also has five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft.
Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins
In a surprising move, the Dolphins fired Brian Flores on Monday despite a 9-8 season and a seven-game winning streak that nearly propelled Miami into the playoffs. In his three seasons as head coach, Flores went 4-2 against the division-rival New England Patriots and Bill Belichick, his mentor during his decade as a coach. that assistant there.
The Dolphins’ winning record in the 2021 season, like last year’s 10-6, wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs, a five-year absence.
“I determined that key dynamics of our football operation were not performing at the level I wanted and felt that this decision was in the best interests of the Miami Dolphins,” the team owner said. Stephen Ross, in a statement. “I think we have a talented young team in place and we have the opportunity to be much better in 2022.”
Flores finished with a combined 24-25 record after three seasons in his first head coaching job. The team announced that it would retain general manager Chris Grier.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
The Bears sacked coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on Monday.
Nagy made a spectacular debut in 2018, as the Bears finished 12-4 and made the playoffs for the first time in eight years, earning him the Coach of the Year award. But two 8-8 seasons and a 6-11 season followed. His tenure ends with an overall record of 34-31.
Pace was at the club for seven seasons. He hired John Fox (14-34) and Nagy as head coaches and drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (over Patrick Mahomes) in 2017.
Although Nagy served as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, the Bears never developed a solid offense behind Trubisky. They have turned to Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields this season with generally lackluster results.
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings fired coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman on Monday.
“It is time for new leaders to elevate our team so that we can consistently challenge for championships,” the team said in a statement. The Vikings haven’t made a Super Bowl since the 1976 season and have never won an NFL title.
Zimmer served as head coach for eight seasons, including three playoff appearances. The highlight was a 13-3 season in 2017 and a trip to the NFC Championship. But the team was 7-9 and 8-9 the last two seasons. Zimmer ends his term with a 72-56-1 record.