The National Football League is a results business and teams that don’t produce make changes quickly. As the growing list of NFL coaches fired demonstrates, head coaches now have a short window to find success.
For decades, it was rare for an NFL team to fire a head coach after one season. After 2023, Frank Reich became the fifth NFL head coach fired after his first season since 2019. For context, that only happened five times from 2001-’11.
Let’s take a quick look at the NFL coaches fired in the 2023 season. We’ll provide through Week 18, carrying you through Black Monday when there will be a lot more NFL coaches fired.
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Related: NFL coaching candidates 2024
NFL coaches fired 2024: What head coaches have been fired?
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Arthur Smith on Black Monday following three consecutive losing seasons. Smith, age 41, was one of the top offensive coordinators with the Tennessee Titans in 2022, earning praise for his scheme that led to Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ success. When Atlanta hired him, many thought the Falcons made the right move.
In his first two seasons, the Falcons went 7-10 in consecutive years. Considering Atlanta had purged some of its roster and was dealing with significant salary-cap issues, the on-field results were tolerated. After spending top-10 picks on Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts and Drake London, however, the expectation was that the Falcons would contend in 2023 with one of the weakest schedules in the NFL.
Atlanta finished 7-10 again. During the 2023 season, the Falcons lost games to the Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers. Once still in a position to win the NFC South at 6-6, Atlanta lost four of its last five games. Following two blowout losses, Smith was fired.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
Ron Rivera had his 62nd birthday on Sunday, Jan. 7, spending it on the sideline as the Washington Commanders head coach. One day later, Rivera became the first of the NFL coaches fired on Black Monday with Washington officially cutting ties with him.
Hired under the Daniel Snyder regime in 2020, Rivera was brought in to provide some stability to an organization in peril. The Commanders made the playoffs in Rivera’s first season, finishing with a 7-9 record, but things never improved. After placing last in the NFC East in consecutive years, new Commanders’ ownership made the call to clean house.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers fired head coach Brandon Staley on Friday, December 15. It’s a decision that came just hours after a historic loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday Night Football. Los Angeles also fired general manager Tom Telesco
- Brandon Staley coaching record: 24-24
Firing Staley was inevitable. It was even under consideration after the Chargers’ historic collapse against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and things only worsened. Staley, hired for his defensive mind, orchestrated one of the NFL’s worst defenses and his offensive coordinators failed to maximize Justin Herbert. As a result, the Chargers coaching search is officially underway. Los Angeles will have one of the most desired NFL head-coaching gigs in 2024, but the willingness of the Spanos family to spend on a coaching staff could be an issue.
Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers
After firing Matt Rhule early in the 2022 season, the Carolina Panthers conducted a multi-month-long coaching search to find a top offensive mind. After being turned down by Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Carolina tabbed Frank Reich as head coach. The hire received a lot of praise, especially for the stellar coaching staff Reich put together in Carolina.
Related: NFL defense rankings
However, the Panthers’ offense regressed. A year after being a bottom-10 offense with Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield at quarterback, Carolina exited Week 12 with the worst offense in the NFL. Of far greater concern, of course, was No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young struggling in his first year.
That’s ultimately why Panthers’ owner David Tepper pulled the plug just a few months after hiring Reich. Carolina is expected to pursue an offensive-minded coach once again, seeking a great play-caller and teacher for Young.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels was the first NFL coach fired during the 2023 season. Just hours after the NFL trade deadline on a Tuesday night, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis announced that McDaniela and general manager Dave Ziegler were relieved of their duties.
Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team
The writing was always on the wall for McDaniels. After a poor 2022 season, the first NFLPA report card revealed his poor reputation in the locker room. It never improved. In his final days with Las Vegas, McDaniels became a bystander after being ripped by players in a closed-door meeting. McDaniels’ future in the NFL is likely as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach moving forward.
What NFL coaches have been fired?
Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons), Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders), Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers), Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers) and Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders) have been fired.
NFL coaches fired: Tracking NFL offensive, defensive coordinators fired in 2023
Ken Dorsey, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator
The Buffalo Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey after losing to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 10. Under Dorsey’s tutelage, Josh Allen posted a 95.8 QB rating and averaged 254 passing yards per game in a top-five offense. While the Bills had one of the NFL’s best offenses, head coach Sean McDermott decided to replace Dorsey with interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Mick Lombardi, Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator
When the Las Vegas Raiders fired Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, they also made other changes to the coaching staff. Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce fired offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, replacing him with offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree. Hardegree is not expected to retain the role in 2024.
Matt Canada, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator
Under offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the worst offenses in the NFL from 2021-’23. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin fired Canada on Nov. 21, the first time the Steelers made a mid-season coaching change since 1941. Pittsburgh immediately recorded his first 400-yard game in over three years once Canada was fired.
Jack Del Rio, Washington Commanders defensive coordinator
The Washington Commanders fired Jack Del Rio after his defense allowed more than 40 points on Thanksgiving to the Dallas Cowboys. During his tenure as Commanders defensive coordinator, Washington had the worst pass defense in the NFL in 2023.
Craig Aukerman, Tennessee Titans special teams coordinator
On December 4, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel fired special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman. While there have been a number of NFL coaches fired this season, Aukerman was the first special teams coach to be let go. The decision came one day after the Titans had two punts blocked, including one returned for a touchdown.
NFL coaching candidates by team
- Carolina Panthers coaching candidates
- Los Angeles Chargers coaching candidates
- New England Patriots coaching candidates
- Atlanta Falcons coaching candidates
- Washington Commanders coaching candidates
- Las Vegas Raiders coaching candidates
- Chicago Bears coaching candidates
- Atlanta Falcons coaching candidates
- New Orleans Saints coaching candidates
In December, we’ll have a full breakdown of NFL head-coach candidates for the upcoming offseason.
What NFL coaches were fired in the NFL in 2023?
Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley, Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich and Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels were fired in 2023
Who got fired from Commanders?
The Washington Commanders fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after Thanksgiving. Commanders’ coach Ron Rivera is expected to be fired at the end of the 2023 season.
History of fired NFL coaches
NFL coaches fired 2022-’23
Below is a breakdown of why each of the five head coaches who were fired during or after the 2022 NFL season, both during the regular season and offseason.
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
It’s a rather simple equation. Arizona lost 17 of its final 20 games with Kingsbury manning the sinking ship in the desert. He posted a disastrous 28-37-1 record in four seasons with Arizona. If you eliminate a 7-0 start to the 2021 campaign, that mark goes down to 21-37-1.
Kingsbury was also mired in a rift with Kyler Murray prior to the star quarterback going down with a torn ACL. Despite having signed Kingsbury to an extension last offseason, it was becoming clear that the Cards would move off the embattled head coach and that happened.
Lovie Smith, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans fired Lovie Smith on Sunday night, immediately after the team defeated the Colts and missed out on the No.1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith, Houston’s defensive coordinator in 2021, then took over for David Culley following his termination.
While Smith campaigned with ownership to keep the job, it became evident the Texans’ front office wanted to go in another direction. The Texans became only the second team in NFL history to fire a first-year coach in consecutive seasons (San Francisco 49ers).
Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule on Oct. 10. Many around the league viewed Rhule as a lame duck entering the season, especially after owner David Tepper expressed frustrations with the team’s performance under Rhule and regretted signing him to a lucrative contract. Following a 1-4 start, Rhule was fired and replaced by interim coach Steve Wilks.
Rhule didn’t stay out of work for long. Less than two months after being fired, Rhule returned to college as the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach. College always seemed to be the best fit for Rhule, who is known as a program builder. Rhule’s stay in Carolina will likely be the last time we see him working in the NFL.
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts fired Frank Reich on Nov. 7. Hired in 2018, Reich came to Indianapolis under unusual circumstances. Josh McDaniels originally agreed to become the Colts’ head coach and it was followed by an official announcement. However, he later backed out and Reich became the next man up.
- Frank Reich coaching record: 41-43-1 career, 1-10 with Carolina Panthers
After the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck right before the 2019 season, Indianapolis could never quite solve its quarterback problem. Stop-gap solutions worked briefly, but the results progressively got worse. Following a 3-5-1 start, owner Jim Irsay fired Reich and named Jeff Saturday as the interim coach. Many expect Reich will eventually receive a second chance as an NFL head coach, either in 2023 or 2024.
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26. He became the third head coach to be fired within a year of his hiring, joining Urban Meyer and David Culley from last season. Hackett’s termination came a day after an ugly loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas Day, with Denver cutting ties with him after the team fell far short of expectations in 2022.
- Nathaniel Hackett coaching record: 4-11
It became evident early in Hackett’s tenure that he wouldn’t last very long. It all started with bad in-game management, especially in critical situations. Denver ultimately hired an assistant just to manage the clock and specific situations for Hackett. In November, with the Broncos’ offense near the bottom in nearly every major category, Hackett gave up play-calling duties.
NFL coaches fired 2022
Hackett likely won’t get another opportunity to become an NFL head coach. The position proved to be far too much for him and he had a very limited track record as an offensive play-caller before this. Ultimately, he might be best suited as a quarterbacks coach and associate head coach.
The following former NFL head coaches were either fired during the 2021 season or as part of the NFL coaching carousel in the 2022 offseason.
- Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
- Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
- Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins
- Joe Judge, New York Giants
- David Culley, Houston Texans
- Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
- Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders
- Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL coaches fired 2021
Here are the NFL head coaches fired in 2020 and during the 2021 NFL offseason.
- Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
- Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
- Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
- Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
- Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Adam Gase, New York Jets
- Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles