Pink slips: Predicting when the NFL's head coaches will be fired

Jason Miller - Getty Images

Your favorite team's head coach will be fired someday. We tell you when and why.

If you're a fan of the NFL, you've probably already come to terms with the fact that your favorite team's head coach is going to get fired at some point. With very few exceptions, it's not a question of if my team's coach will be fired, but when. The current state of the NFL dictates that no head coach is safe. If Bill Belichick goes 1-15 this year, he could be out on his rear in 2013. The majority of football fans have already seen plenty of turnover on their teams and are numb to the inevitable firing again at some point in the future.

We thought we'd take a little bit of the guesswork out of the situation. Below, we have provided a handy list on when each 2012 NFL head coach will be fired and why. We have used the most advanced wild guess technology currently available, so these should all be pretty accurate.


More: Chan Gailey leads odds on first coach to be fired


Arizona Cardinals

Coach: Ken Whisenhunt

Fire Date: 10/24/2013

Reason For Termination: Whisenhunt will be dismissed for stealing company property. Not like pads or footballs or merchandise or anything. I'm talking, like, a stapler and a few reams of printer paper and a bunch of sodas from the break room. Whisenhunt will complain that the sodas were free for anyone to take. "Yes," replies the front office, "but we're on the honor system here."

Atlanta Falcons

Coach: Mike Smith

Fire Date: 3/15/2016

Reason For Termination: During the first round of the 2015 season's playoffs, Smith walks into the locker room and scrawls "JUST WHATEVER, I DON'T CARE. WHAT'S THE G-- D--- POINT ANY MORE." He then spends the entirety of the game looking at his shoes and absently kicking at the dirt. The Falcons lose, 35-2. The Falcons front office spends a couple of months debating whether they should renew Smith's contract, but ultimately decide that this is probably a fire-able offense.

Baltimore Ravens

Coach: John Harbaugh

Fire Date: 8/27/2017

Reason For Termination: Kinda like the Bobby Petrino thing, but way more scandalous. Look, we're not really allowed to talk about it, but it involves a helicopter, a world-champion paint horse and an entire volleyball team.

Buffalo Bills

Coach: Chan Gailey

Fire Date: 5/14/2013

Reason For Termination: Gailey will be arrested after helping some junior high kids scam beer outside of a Utica 7-11. Upon posting bail, Gailey releases a statement to the press reading, "Hey man, I'm just trying to help some honest kids catch a buzz. If that's a crime, then fire me!" He will then immediately be fired.

Carolina Panthers

Coach: Ron Rivera

Fire Date: 4/17/2014

Reason For Termination: Believe it or not: insider trading!

Chicago Bears

Coach: Lovie Smith

Fire Date: 12/31/2012

Reason For Termination: The less said about his leaked sex tape, entitled "Lovie Long Time," the better.

Cincinnati Bengals

Coach: Marvin Lewis

Fire Date: 1/1/2014

Reason For Termination: Every time Lewis would gather the team for a "film session" during the 2013 season, he would instead just play the DVD for Joe Dirt from beginning to end, cackling uproariously throughout. Every time.

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Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Browns

Coach: Pat Shurmur

Fire Date: 10/16/2012

Reason For Termination: Dude just wouldn't stop pirating music and movies through company computers. Not even torrents, either. He would have Limewire, Kazaa Lite and SoulSeek all going at the same time, just trying to snag random stuff. Parody songs mislabeled as Weird Al tracks, episodes of "Dharma & Greg," a version of Godzilla 2000 with Mandarin subtitles. It was ... weird.

Dallas Cowboys

Coach: Jason Garrett

Fire Date: 11/22/2015

Reason For Termination: Garrett will be pulled aside by Jerry Jones once a week for months in 2015.

"You know, Jason, We notice you keep showing up late for practice each day."

"Hey, boss, I'm always here at 8 a.m. every day!"

"You're in the building at 8 a.m. every day. You get to practice around 8:30, sometimes 9!"

"Yeah but I'm here, ain't I?"

" ... "

"Get off my back man, sheesh! What's the big deal?"

"This is a job, Jason."

"Uh, yeah, I know."

[Long pause, followed by heavy sigh] "Just ... just try to get here on time, okay?"

[Rolls eyes] "Yeah, sure thing, boss."

After repeated "Final Written Warnings" and suggestions that he set his clocks ahead, or leave the house earlier each day, Garrett will finally be dismissed, with the Cowboys citing "creative differences."

Denver Broncos

Coach: John Fox

Fire Date: 2/28/2014

Reason For Termination: Excessive B.O. Described as a "righteous stench" by the guy who had to power-clean his old office.

Detroit Lions

Coach: Jim Schwartz

Fire Date: 11/27/2013

Reason For Termination: The entire Lions roster, with the exception of Matthew Stafford, will be arrested at a Detroit nightclub. (Stafford simply had a glass of warm milk and went to bed at 7:30.) Schwartz will be fired as a result of "not being able to keep the team in line." No other players will be penalized.

Green Bay Packers

Coach: Mike McCarthy

Fire Date: 7/15/2018

Reason For Termination: A recording will surface which is reportedly McCarthy yelling that "Lambeau was a boring old biddy." McCarthy will vehemently deny that it is his voice on the recording, to no avail. The public outcry will simply be too loud to ignore.

Houston Texans

Coach: Gary Kubiak

Fire Date: 3/3/2014

Reason For Termination: Accused of stealing boxes.

Indianapolis Colts

Coach: Chuck Pagano

Fire Date: 6/13/2014

Reason For Termination: After double-checking Pagano's expense reports, the Colts will discover that the coach attempted to expense over $10,000 in "Magic: The Gathering" cards. "But this was real sweet stuff!" Pagano insisted. "I'm talkin' Mox Jet, Beta versions of Black Lotus! I'd be a moron to pass these deals up!" Pagano is quickly hired by the Dallas Mavericks, so Mark Cuban will have someone to play Magic with.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Coach: Mike Mularkey

Fire Date: August 31, 2011

Reason For Termination: Mularkey has actually already been fired; there's just been a holdup with the paperwork. Should be going through any time now.

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Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas City Chiefs

Coach: Romeo Crennel

Fire Date: 11/4/2014

Reason For Termination: Hams keep going missing from catering. An example must be made.

Miami Dolphins

Coach: Joe Philbin

Fire Date: 4/25/2013

Reason For Termination: Philbin will not be fired, but he will be swept out to sea.

Minnesota Vikings

Coach: Leslie Frazier

Fire Date: 5/18/2016

Reason For Termination: Leslie will become the first person to actively lobby to be included in ESPN The Magazine's annual "Body Issue." When denied inclusion, Frazier will "make his own damn magazine." The resulting effort is a 100-page magazine run by an independent press, consisting solely of lurid full-frontal images of Frazier. All but one issue goes unsold and the Vikings dismiss Frazier for his "weird side project."

New England Patriots

Coach: Bill Belichick

Fire Date: 3/5/2016

Reason For Termination: Belichick will become the President and CEO of the Patriots. As his first act of business, he will fire himself. He will then take the reins of the Cincinnati Bengals and lead them to seven consecutive Super Bowl victories. Afterward, he will be quoted as saying, "I just wanted to see if I could do it."

New Orleans Saints

Coach: Sean Payton

Fire Date: 5/22/2013, 7/12/2013, 7/14/2013

Reason For Termination: Payton will be fired by Roger Goodell. His firing will be appealed by an independent committee and his firing will be overturned. Payton will then by fired by David Stern, but will be immediately overturned due to complete lack of jurisdiction. Finally, Payton will just be regular-fired by the Saints, who will just be tired of this whole rigamarole.

New York Giants

Coach: Tom Coughlin

Fire Date: 7/7/2017

Reason For Termination: Coughlin ascends to heaven on a flaming chariot pulled by a dozen glorious pegasii. The ownership takes this as a personal affront and states for the record "Tom Coughlin did not ascend; he was fired." Coughlin is declared persona non grata at the New Meadowlands, although this is largely a moot point, due to the ongoing tribulation.

New York Jets

Coach: Rex Ryan

Fire Date: 2/1/2016

Reason For Termination: Rex convinces Rob Ryan to cut his hair and shave his goatee. Each brother then spends the entirety of the 2015 season alternately coaching the team of the other, in a "Killer Bees"-style switch. Special Assistant Quarterbacks Coach Tim Tebow finally blows the whistle on the prank because "his conscience just couldn't take it any more." While there is grounds for far more severe punishment on the grounds of collusion, tampering and game-fixing, The Jets fire Rex for "making a laughingstock of our great franchise." They are completely unaware of the irony.

Oakland Raiders

Coach: Dennis Allen

Fire Date: 12/30/2012

Reason For Termination: Al Davis' last will and testament demands that the head coach be fired at the end of every season for 10 seasons following his death. Them's the breaks.

Philadelphia Eagles

Coach: Andy Reid

Fire Date: 1/10/2015

Reason For Termination: The gypsy curse finally comes to fruition and Reid turns all the way into a literal walrus in March of 2014. The Eagles give him one last season at the helm, but his increasing desire to do nothing but eat fish and play a toy saxophone and his lack of ability to speak will force the hand of the organization. Reid is fired and shipped to Sea World.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Coach: Mike Tomlin

Fire Date: 8/12/2017

Reason For Termination: You wouldn't believe the amount of time that guy was spending on Farmville. He was even dropping actual money to make his Farmville village (or whatever) "better." Turns out the Steelers pretty much run themselves. Pittsburgh will decide to can Tomlin and go with the unorthodox "no-coach"strategy.

San Diego Chargers

Coach: Norv Turner

Fire Date: 2/10/2013

Reason For Termination: Just a straight-up normal firing for being bad at football coaching. Nothing silly.

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Chuck Cook - US PRESSWIRE

San Francisco 49ers

Coach: Jim Harbaugh

Fire Date: 2/13/2016

Reason For Termination: Harbaugh will release a scintillating 34-track battle-rap "mixtape" via a Bandcamp page. The concept album features him making graphic threats about the other 31 teams in the NFL and for some reason, three NHL teams. The front office will take extreme exception to a particular verse involving Tony Romo and several "unnecessarily specific suggestions of a sexual nature."

Seattle Seahawks

Coach: Pete Carroll

Fire Date: 9/25/2016

Reason For Termination: Carroll's love of pranks will finally go too far as he delivers what he calls "The Ultimate Prank" to team owner Paul Allen. The prank involved simultaneous delivery of the following:

- whoopie cushion

- cream pie

- joy buzzer

- garlic gum

- mouse trap

- thumbtack on seat

- flaming bag of dog doo

Carroll will finally stop laughing three full weeks after his termination. "Worth it," he will say, wiping away tears. "Absolutely no regrets."

St. Louis Rams

Coach: Jeff Fisher

Fire Date: 1/1/2014

Reason For Termination: "I thought I was hiring some badass NASCAR driver from 1986," reads the press release from owner Stan Kroenke. "Not some middling failed Titans coach. I feel misled and lied to as a result of that damn mustache. We all do."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach: Greg Schiano

Fire Date: 10/16/2013

Reason For Termination: Schiano will attempt to defect to Canada, trying to force his way into the Canadian embassy while repeatedly screaming "JULIAN ASSANGE WAS RIGHT!" Needless to say, the Bucs will not look too favorably on this. Then again, they were already planning on firing him anyway.

Tennessee Titans

Coach: Mike Munchak

Fire Date: 2020

Reason For Termination: Munchak will not be fired per se, but will merely be forgotten and left behind in Tennessee when the Titans relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. Don't feel bad for Munchak; he ends up making a good life for himself in Tennessee after the team leaves him behind. He ends up being the proprietor of an Outback Steakhouse location!

Washington Redskins

Coach: Mike Shanahan

Fire Date:12/31/2014

Reason For Termination: Shanahan finally crosses the line on Week 17 during the 2014 season, when he calls a play he refers to as "The Coacherback Sneak." It involves him running onto the field without pads or a helmet and grabbing a shovel pass, which he attempts to run for a touchdown amid much confusion and throwing of flags. The Redskins will fire Shanahan on the spot and decline to ever refer to the incident again.

For complete coverage of the 2012 football season, please stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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