Welcome to Black Monday!
As has become customary, the first Monday after the close of the NFL's regular season included the firings of several coaches in 2013. While the number of pink slips handed out on Monday may not match the 2012 total (7), there will be no shortage of openings around the league as five coaches were fired within 12 hours of the Philadelphia Eagles claiming the final spot in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Vikings got the dark day started by relieving head coach Leslie Frazier of his duties around 9 a.m. on Monday morning. The Vikings were coming off a 5-10-1 season that dropped Frazier's record in Minnesota to 21-33-1 over three-plus seasons.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community. Making this change is difficult, but what we determined is best for the organization.”
Moments before the Vikings announced Frazier's firing on Twitter, Mike Shanahan arrived at Redskins Park for a meeting with team owner Dan Snyder. Shanahan parked his Audi as the team's head coach and executive vice president. When he waved goodbye to the facility approximately two hours later he was unemployed.
"Redskins fans deserve a better result," Snyder said in a statement released on Monday morning. "We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the playoffs."
A year removed from winning the NFC east, Washington stumbled through a disappointing, dysfunctional 3-13 campaign. The sacking of Shanahan may have been the most anticipated personnel move of Black Monday but it was hardly the last.
By noon, media reports had revealed that the Detroit Lions had fired head coach Jim Schwartz and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had cut ties with head coach Greg Schiano as well as general manager Mark Dominik.
With those moves, five NFL head coaching jobs had opened up since the close of the season. Seemingly subject to the same creep as Black Friday sales that are increasingly starting on Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Monday actually kicked off on Sunday night when the Cleveland Browns axed Rob Chudzinski after just one season in charge.
"Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team," the Browns said in a statement. "We have high standards, and there's an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward."