SportThe 9 oddest coach and GM firings in NFL history
Dick Tomey, winningest coach in Arizona football history, dies at 80
Dick Tomey, who coached Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State, died Friday at the age of 80.
The NFL is a tough business. From the players to the general managers, job security is always on a razor-thin line. While every offseason sees players, coaches and general managers get hired and fired, there are a few front office decisions that are a little odder than the rest.
We'll start off with the most recent oddball decision and work our way backward through time.
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New York Jets, Mike Maccagnan, 2019
Firing a general manager isn't an unusual thing during the offseason. But usually, it happens quickly after the season and not following free agency, the draft and right before OTAs kick off. Yet the Jets decided to move on from Maccagnan in the middle of May.
Michigan's John Beilein leaving to coach Cleveland Cavaliers
The longtime Michigan coach has agreed to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. He coached Michigan for 12-years, including two title-game trips.
It's not a good look for a team that spent huge amounts of cap space on several high-profile free agents and six picks in the 2019 NFL draft, including the third-overall selection. What's perhaps even odder is coach Adam Gase becomes the interim general manager because New York hasn't found Maccagnan's replacement yet.
Even if the Jets are able to find a good general manager, that person is going to have a roster filled with recent contracts and draft picks they might not like. Even the best case scenario could cause New York to extend their rebuilding period a few more years while they sort it all out.
San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh, 2014
A contentious relationship between Harbaugh and owner Jed York led to an unusual firing. In spite of guiding San Francisco to the postseason in three of his four seasons, as well as a Super Bowl loss in 2012, an 8-8 showing in 2014 would see Harbaugh fired.
Which General Managers are on the hot seat, post-Maccagnan?
One of the biggest stories of the week came on Wednesday, when the Jets fired G.M. Mike Maccagnan. That move sparked Friday’s PFT Live draft, which looked at the General Managers who are on the hottest seats as the 2019 season approaches. The stakes are high. Although Dave Gettleman and John Dorsey landed new G.M. jobs after post-draft firings two years ago, few General Managers get a second chance to serve in that same role. So whether the changes come after the season ends or after the draft, change may indeed be coming after the 2019 season.
According to Harbaugh on "The TK Show," he had been informed the team was going to fire him before the season had even ended. York would release a statement that Harbaugh had been fired and the decision was "mutual" immediately following the 49ers Week 17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
The 49ers have yet to recover in the four seasons following Harbaugh's departure, going no better than 6-10 in that time. Harbaugh would be hired by Michigan, continuing the success he had in San Francisco with a 38-14 record and four bowl appearances in four years.
San Diego Chargers, Marty Schottenheimer, 2007
In spite of winning the NFL Coach of the Year award in 2004 and going 14-2 in 2006, the Chargers felt they could do better. Owner Dean Spanos would fire Schottenheimer in February after admitting he had initially decided to retain him for the 2007 season in January.
San Diego would hire Norv Turner as their next coach and start the 2007 season 1-3. Fans quickly showed their displeasure, chanting for Schottenheimer during their Week 4 30-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Report: Juwan Howard expected to be named head coach at Michigan
The University of Michigan has reportedly found its John Beilein replacement.
Marty Schottenheimer, Kansas City Chiefs, 1998
Schottenheimer makes the list yet again and he isn't done yet. You'll notice a similar theme throughout Schottenheimer's career. He'd win games but ultimately be ousted due to not winning enough in the postseason. The Chiefs are no exception to that theme, where Schottenheimer would go 101-58-1 over 10 years leading the team.
In his second year with Kansas City, Schottenheimer led the Chiefs to an 11-5 record. It would mark the most wins in a season by Kansas City since 1969. Schottenheimer would see continued success in the regular season but quick exits in the playoffs, only getting to the AFC championship game once in spite of seven trips to the postseason. He'd eventually take the brunt of the blame and resign.
The Chiefs would continue to falter the rest of the way, going through six coaches in 20 years. Kansas City would only get to the postseason eight times in that 20-year stretch, getting to the AFC championship game only once (last season).
Bill Belichick, Baltimore Ravens, 1996
You probably never thought you'd see Belichick on this list. But with Cleveland Browns owner moving the team to Baltimore as the Ravens, things got a little convoluted.
Former Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum hospitalized after stroke
Former Louisville coach Denny Crum was hospitalized this week after a stroke. He previously suffered a stroke in 2017.
The Browns would start the 1995 season 3-1 before the news started to leak the team was moving, finishing 5-11 on the year. After assurances from Modell that Belichick would remain the head coach of the eventual Baltimore Ravens, he was fired.
The circumstances might not be the most unusual the NFL has ever seen but it definitely marks a head-scratching moment given what we know now. Belichick would eventually become the coach of the New England Patriots and start that dynasty. Meanwhile, Modell and the newly established Ravens would hire former Colts coach Ted Marchibroda, who would spend three seasons going 16-31-1.
Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys, 1994
It's unusual to see Super Bowl winning coaches get fired. It's even rarer to see a coach leave immediate after winning back-to-back Super Bowls. But that's exactly what happened to Johnson in 1994 after winning Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII.
Johnson and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would agree to mutually split after battles over control. Johnson had been adamant he made all the personnel moved, which Jones disputed. It would come to a head when Jones famously told reporters, "500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls," helping lead to the split.
Jones and the Cowboys would win Super Bowl XXX just two years later, but it would be the last time they'd even get to the NFC Championship Game. Johnson became the coach of the Miami Dolphins, posting a 36-28 record in spite of making the postseason three times in four years.
Terry Donahue, winningest football coach in UCLA and Pac-12 history, has cancer
Donahue, 74, was 151-740-8 (.665) in 20 years as the Bruins coach with a record 98 conference victories among the program-best 151 wins.
Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland Browns, 1988
Schottenheimer has had a rough time in the league. Much like his tenure with the Chargers and Chiefs, he had posted five winning seasons (44-27) with Cleveland and still ended up leaving.
Schottenheimer would take the Browns to the postseason in each of his final four years with the team. However, injuries during the 1988 season would see Schottenheimer try to win with third-string quarterback Mike Pagel in the wild-card round. In spite of losing only by one point - 24-23 - Modell would decide to move on from Schottenheimer.
Schottenheimer would frame the decision to leave as a mutual agreement due to some issues with Modell.
"It became evident that some of the differences we had, we weren't going to be able to resolve," Schottenheimer said, per the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon. "We came to an agreement that it was in everybody's best interest that we part company."
Modell had wanted to bring in an offensive-minded coach, but settled for career defensive coordinator Bud Carson. Carson would go 11-13-1 in his two seasons before being let go as well.
Joe Thomas, Baltimore Colts, 1977
Thomas was a man with a pretty clear vision. Becoming the general manager in 1972, Thomas fired Super Bowl-winning coach Don McCafferty just five games into the season. Thomas then forced interim coach John Sandusky to start younger players over veterans, including quarterback Johnny Unitas.
Thomas continued his practice of jettisoning veteran players, trading Unitas, Tom Matte, Bill Curry, Billy Newsome, Norm Bulaich and Jerry Logan in 1973. Thomas would dismiss Sandusky after the season, eventually hiring Howard Schnellenberger before taking over as the coach himself for the 1974 season.
Rockets’ Mike D'Antoni wants to coach two or three more years
Following another tremendous regular season, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is currently in extension negotiations with the team. D’Antoni made that announcement just recently, indicating he’d like to coach two or three more years. “We’ve been in contract discussions, and we still are about the extension,” the head coach said, via Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “I think I can go two or three more years at the level I want to be at and everything will play out in the near future.” D’Antoni, 68, has led the Rockets to a 173-73 record in three seasons as their head coach.
Thomas would eventually lose a power struggle with coach Ted Marchibroda, getting fired in 1977 after the team had put up back-to-back double-digit winning seasons and made the postseason.
It might not be the most unusual firing but what led up to it is certainly different.
Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns, 1963
Much like the Cowboys' situation, Modell and Brown fought for control of the team. Brown had been used to making personnel moves before Modell had bought the team but bulked at the new owner's attempts to get involved. Eventually, frustrations grew between the players and Brown, giving Modell a reason to move on.
Brown had been the Browns' coach for 17 years, finishing with a 158-48-8 record. He had won four AAFC championships as well as three NFL championships in the 40s and 50s. Brown only had one losing season in 17 years - the 1956 season Cleveland went 5-7.
If you're keeping track at home, Modell fired two of the best coaches the NFL has ever known.
Related slideshow: 2019 NFL draft: The top picks (Provided by imagn)
Rockets clean house with Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff after another playoff disappointment.
Rockets clean house with Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff after another playoff disappointment
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