The 2022 NFL coaching carousel couldn’t wait for the 2021 season to end before it started. The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars saw Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer resign and get fired, respectively, before the season ended. But the machine didn’t stop there, with six other coaches getting let go after the season ended.
While many of the coaches moving on from their organizations were identified long before the moves were made, there were several surprises. New Orleans was in the market for a coach following the retirement of the most successful coach in their franchise’s history, Sean Payton. Gruden’s in-season resignation for insensitive e-mails was also unforeseen. Here’s a look at how the rest of the market shook out.
We Hardly Knew You
David Culley was fired by Houston after a season and 4-13 record. The long-time assistant coach didn’t get a fair shake with the Texans, considering what he inherited. Houston was forced to bring in veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor after Deshaun Watson missed the season due to off-the-field issues. The most memorable portion of Culley’s tenure may have been putting the first nail in Urban Meyer’s coffin. Culley swept the season series with Jacksonville, including a 37-21 victory in Week 1.
Houston added veteran coach Lovie Smith as head coach following Culley’s termination. Smith is 89-87 as an NFL coach in stints with the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccanneers. Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2005.
Meyer-ed in Controversy
Meyer joined Bobby Petrino and Lou Holtz as tremendous college coaches who couldn’t cut it in the pros. Although Meyer was known for working well with quarterbacks, Jacksonville first-year starter Trevor Lawrence struggled with Meyer’s offense. The Jaguars started 0-5 before shocking Miami in London.
Meyer would be fired after a 2-11 record. In the offseason, Jacksonville brought in Doug Pederson to replace him. Peterson went 42-37-1 with three trips to the playoffs during five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Peterson led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl by beating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Never Found His Muse
Denver parted ways with Vic Fangio after he went 19-30 during his three seasons at the helm of the Broncos. After a 3-0 started in 2021, Denver thought it may have found something with Fangio as a coach and Teddy Bridgewater as the quarterback. However, the Broncos weren’t able to sustain that level of success in the brutal AFC West, which saw two teams make the playoffs and another — the Los Angeles Chargers — miss out by a half-game. Denver would lose 10 of 14 games to close the year.
The Broncos hired Nathaniel Hackett, former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, as Fangio’s replacement to try and lure quarterback Aaron Rodgers there. However, Rodgers decided to stay and Denver brought in Russell Wilson at quarterback instead.
Sean Payton says see-ya
Sean Payton led the franchise to a Super Bowl championship and a 152-89 record over 15 seasons. In his last season, Payton took the Saints to a 9-8 record, but couldn’t get them into the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
New Orleans is giving Dennis Allen a second shot at leading an NFL franchise. Allen’s first go-round, with the then Oakland Raiders from 2012-14, compiled an 8-28 record and was fired a quarter of the way through his third season.
Joe Judge’s termination is just another in the long line of turmoil the franchise has undergone since Tom Coughlin resigned following the 2015 season. Judge was fired after turning in a 10-23 record over two seasons at the helm. While Judge had his issues, he also had to deal with injury issues with quarterback Daniel Jones last season.
The Giants decided to bring in former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to replace Judge.
An Interesting Affair
Brian Flores hasn’t made life easy on the NFL since the Miami Dolphins since they fired him following the 2021 season. Flores, alleging racial discrimination, has filed a lawsuit against three teams and the league. Flores was 25-24 as Miami coach but missed the playoffs despite having a winning record the past two seasons. The Dolphins started last season 1-7 before nearly rallying to steal a Wild-Card spot.
Miami hired former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to be their head coach.
New coach in Chi-Town
Matt Nagy’s first year in Chicago was a big success, as the Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North, and were a missed field goal away from a playoff victory. However, Nagy would never have another winning season and would conclude his time in Chicago with a 34-31 record overall and an 0-2 mark in the postseason. The Bears would hire a long-time assistant coach Matt Eberflus as their coach.
Minnesota Ready for a Change
Mike Zimmer had the Vikings in 2017, but could never kick the door down during an eight-year tenure that saw Minnesota go 72-56-1. Last season, Minnesota lost four of its last seven games to finish 8-9 and miss out on the postseason. Despite a heavy pursuit of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, the Vikings are going with more of a youth route.
Minnesota hired Kevin O’Connell as a coach. O’Connell was the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams last season.