Coming to the end of the season, three teams had already fired their head coach, signaling a change so desperately needed, they couldn't even wait until the end of the year with the coach they had. Those three teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Miami Dolphins all fired their top coach during the season.
But, that blood letting may be nothing compared to what is, and will, happen around the NFL today. On Black Monday, the NFL traditional begins the coaching and front office executive carousel, and this year is no different. So far today, we have seen Steve Spagnuolo and Billy Devaney, the head coach and general manager, respectively, from the St. Louis Rams fired. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the second team to make a move on Black Monday, parting ways with head coach Raheem Morris.
There are reports circulating now that, while Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not fired head coach Jim Caldwell (as of yet), Bill and Chris Polian have both been shown the door. Bill was the team's Vice Chairman, while Chris was the General Manager.
Meanwhile, here in Miami, the Dolphins released a statement about their preparations for the search for Tony Sparano replacement. From GM Jeff Ireland:
"Steve Ross and I have a plan in place that is designated to insure that we identify and interview an outstanding set of candidates for the head coaching position. The process will be thorough, it will be in compliance with NFL policies, and provide the best possible result for the franchise.
"That search has begun and there is no designated timetable; it will be conducted in a manner that give us the greatest opportunity to hire the individual we feel is best suited to become the team's head coach. Steve and I are excited to embark on this process, and we are confident that it will result in the selection of an outstanding individual who will return the Dolphins to their long-time status as one of the most successful team in the league."
There have also been several reports released about the Dolphins, and whom they may be talking to today, or in the near future. Miami has been tied to New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, as well as Chicago Bears special teams coach Dave Toub. Maybe the most interesting report, however, involves Jon Gruden.
Chris Kouffman of UniversalDraft tweeted earlier today:
One coach who may find the player support to allow him to stay is San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner. Armando Salguero reports:
I will continue to update this throughout the rest of the day to try to stay on top of all the news, rumors, and firings.
[UPDATE: 3:27 pm EST:]
As someone pointed out to Berardino, which he then agreed to, the Chrargers, Rams, Bucs, and Colts all have a QB already. Miami doesn't. Could be what keeps the Dolphins from landing the guy who is quickly becoming the hottest candidate for all of the NFL jobs.
[UPDATE: 3:34pm EST:] The Bills have fired defensive coordinator George Edwards. He has been replaced by Dave Wannstedt. via@ChrisBrownBills
[UPDATE: 3:38pm EST:] This isn't really a breaking news update. This is stuff not in the original post that I meant to have and forgot. The Jaguars have reportedly asked the Falcons to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and talked to the Panthers about interviewing Rob Chudzinski. They are also reportedly going to interview Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
[UPDATE: 4:19pm EST:]
[UPDATE: 4:36pm EST:] Reports put Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross' plane in bound for Morristown Municpal Airport in New Jersey. The airport is just a few miles from the Jets complex, and could represent the team (Ross and Ireland?) heading north to interview Mike Pettine.
[UPDATE: 4:42pm EST:]
[UPDATE: 4:49pm EST:] According to ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, the Buccaneers could be looking at former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman for their next coach.
[UPDATE: 5:18pm EST:] ESPN is reporting that Jeff Fisher will interview with the Dolphins as well as the Rams. Fisher's interview with the Dolphins is expected to take place in the next 24-48 hours. (Hat tip to Kdog92)
This ensures the Dolphins have complied with the Rooney Rule. It's unfortunate for Bowles that his interview really was used simply to comply with the rule, because he actually will make a good head coach somewhere. But, he's not the Dolphins future.