Reid among 7 NFL coaches sacked in firing frenzy

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Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 3:18 pm | Updated: 9:02 pm, Mon Dec 31, 2012.

Less than 24 hours after the regular season ended, NFL firings began at a furious pace.

In a span of about 90 minutes before lunch Monday, coaches Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur, Romeo Crennel and Chan Gailey were let go by their teams after losing seasons.

Later, the Chicago Bears fired coach Lovie Smith after the team missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, the Arizona Cardinals fired coach Ken Whisenhunt after six seasons that included the long-suffering franchise's only Super Bowl appearance, and the San Diego Chargers fired general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

The Jets decided to keep their coach, Rex Ryan, but fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

The Browns made it a clean sweep, dismissing GM Tom Heckert along with Shurmur.

Reid was the longest tenured of the group, let go after 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills, Shurmur after two in Cleveland and Crennel was coach of the Chiefs for one full season.

Jacksonville fired GM Gene Smith.

Andy Reid's worst coaching season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Monday after 14 years when he was fired by owner Jeffrey Lurie, who said it was time "to move in a new direction."

The dismissal came one day after Reid and the Eagles were humiliated 42-7 by the New York Giants and ended their season at 4-12.

"Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future," Lurie said in a statement released by the team.

The team pushed back a scheduled noon EST news conference to 1 p.m.

Reid took over a 3-13 team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.

He is the winningest coach in club history and led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a Super Bowl trip after the 2004 season - and a loss, 24-21, to the New England Patriots.

Still, Reid cemented Philadelphia as a football town - though the Eagles have never won the NFL title - and led the team to an unmatched level of success. But the team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season's 8-8 finish, Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year.

Instead, it was even worse.

Reid sounded like a man who knew he was going to be out of work when he addressed the media after the Giants game.

"I go in eyes wide open," Reid said, referring to his upcoming meeting Monday with Lurie. "Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles."

Lurie said the search for Reid's successor begins immediately.

Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He is the franchise leader in wins (140) and winning percentage (.578) and led the Eagles to six division titles and five NFC championship games.

It already had been a difficult year for Reid. He endured a devastating loss weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

In October, Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo, who was in his second season as defensive coordinator after coaching the offensive line for 13 years. He later fired defensive-line coach Jim Washburn.

After beating the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sept. 30, the Eagles lost eight straight games - their worst losing streak in 42 years.

PhiladelpiaEagles.com posted video of Lurie and Reid addressing team employees, who gave Reid a big ovation. Lurie handed him a game ball.

"I have a hard time standing before people without a few boos involved. But I'm taking it, I'm taking it all in," Reid said. "These have been the greatest 14 years of my life."

Smith was informed of the Bears' decision by general manager Phil Emery on Monday, a day after the Bears beat Detroit to finish 10-6 but still missed out on a playoff spot.

Smith led the Bears to a Super Bowl, but also saw his team collapse in the second half of the past two seasons. Hired in 2004, Smith led the Bears to three division titles, two NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance in his nine seasons. His record is 81-63.

In addition to the Whisenhunt firing, the Cardinals also ousted general manager Rod Graves, who had been with the franchise for 16 years. He'd been general manager since 2007.

The housecleaning by Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, son of team owner Bill Bidwill, followed a season that saw the team start 4-0 but lose 11 of its last 12 to finish 5-11.   

The 50-year-old Whisenhunt had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, 4-2 in the playoffs. He had a year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract.

Of the team's three winning seasons the past 28 years, two came with Whisenhunt as coach.

The Chargers are the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114-122-1.

Despite having what was perceived as one of the NFL's most-talented rosters for several seasons, Smith and Turner never got the Chargers to the Super Bowl.

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