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NFL coaching hot seat 2023: Ron Rivera to be fired on Black Monday, Bill Belichick in trouble

NFL coaching hot seat 2023
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League is about results. General managers, head coaches and players must all deliver or they’ll be replaced quickly. As we at the 2023 season, the NFL coaching hot seat proves there are a lot of head coaches under pressure this year.

We saw five NFL coaches fired last season, including two coaches in their first seasons with the team. In a business that is fast approaching $20 billion in annual revenue, failing to deliver sufficient results means less profit for teams and that results in owners making changes.

Failing to deliver winning seasons is the fastest way to get fired. However, several coaches on the hot seat this year have Super Bowl rings and a track record of success. In a time when owners care about what a coach has done for them lately, though, repeated failures could force dramatic changes that alter the NFL as we know it.

With Josh McDaniels, Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley and Frank Reich now fired, it’s time to look at what NFL coach could be next to go.

NFL coach hot seat rankings

  1. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
  2. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
  3. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
  4. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans

Our analysis of the candidates on the NFL coaching hot seat is updated every Monday.

NFL coaching hot seat 2023 after Week 18

1. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders

NFL: Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp
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The Washington Commanders won ugly in Week 1, beating an Arizona Cardinals team that many thought had a chance at going winless. Instead, the Commanders’ offense struggled mightily with Sam Howell not providing the level of play anyone hoped for. It’s a reminder of what Rivera-coached teams look like when he doesn’t have an MVP-caliber quarterback.

Rivera’s record is why he’s on the NFL coaching hot seat. over the last five years, including the end of his stint with the Carolina Panthers, Rivera doesn’t have a winning record. Following Cam Newton’s MVP season in 2015, Rivera hasn’t won a playoff game and he’s 10 games below .500 since that point.

Washington is keeping Rivera through the regular season, allowing him to coach the team in Week 18. However, the Commanders will fire Rivera on Monday, making them the fourth NFL head coach fired this season and the first of the offseason.

2. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

NFL: Frankfurt Games-New England Patriots Practice
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It was reported before the season that Robert Kraft might be willing to cut ties with Bill Belichick if the New England Patriots didn’t take a step forward in 2023. At 2-6, coming off a blowout loss, the only thing obvious is that New England still isn’t close to contention. We don’t fault Belichick’s defense, which is dealing with numerous injuries in the secondary. However, burning the 2022 season with Matt Patricia as his offensive coordinator and failing to draft a better team around Mac Jones are both indictments on Belichick’s recent resume.

Belichick bungled the offseason with Jakobi Meyers and there’s reporting that the Patriots’ coach lied about the team’s effort to re-sign the wide receiver. Even before Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, the locker room was reportedly starting to turn on the head coach. We also can’t forget that Belichick hand-picked this roster and staff, making him entirely responsible for the Patriots’ stunning deterioration from a dynasty to a bottom-two team in the NFL.

Belichick is poised to meet with Kraft following Week 18 to discuss his future. The tentative expectation is that the Patriots’ head and general manager will be dismissed a few weeks into the offseason. At that time, Kraft will conduct a head-coaching search and be involved in his first search for a GM in decades.

3. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills
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If Mike McCarthy wins the NFC East, it becomes more likely that Jerry Jones will keep him around. After all, McCarthy boasts a 41-25 record as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, delivering three straight seasons with at least 11 wins. Plenty of coaches on the hot seat would do anything to have that record.

However, Dallas can’t have more playoff disappointment. McCarthy might only need a win in the Wild Card round for Jones to guarantee his coach will return in 2024. If the Cowboys suffer a first-round knockout, however, McCarthy could be gone and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Dan Quinn replaced him.

4. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
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Mike Vrabel isn’t responsible for the Tennessee Titans recording consecutive losing seasons. Tennessee effectively admitted last offseason that it needed a rebuild, but there were no real trade partners for Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry. Running it back with the veteran duo didn’t work and a defense that has been in decline for years regressed further.

Ultimately, Vrabel’s future will likely be left up to him. He’s well-liked in the Titans’ organization and respected in Tennessee’s locker room. Just as importantly, he has a reputation around the league for being one of the 10 best head coaches in the NFL. However, change is sometimes necessary and if Vrabel wants a new environment or general manager Ran Carthon decides he wants his own guy, Vrabel could either be traded or allowed to pursue another head-coaching job.

NFL coaching hot seat: Jobs appear to be safe

Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
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The Chicago Bears had plenty of reason to fire Matt Eberflus early in the season. It’s one thing to start out 1-5 with one of the worst defenses in football as a defensive-minded head coach. It’s another when two of the assistant coaches you hired were let go by the organization for workplace misconduct. That put Eberflus in a dangerous spot.

However, Chicago turned things around in the second half of the season. A big part of that turnaround has been a top-12 defense, with Eberflus serving as the play-caller. On top of that, Chicago is winning games and even had a slim shot at a playoff spot entering Week 17. It seems like it’ll be enough for Eberflus to get a third season.

Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
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Even before the New Orleans Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17, Dennis Allen’s job appeared to be safe. He reportedly has the full backing of both ownership and the front office, which will buy him another season in New Orleans. As our story dives into below, however, there are some key changes coming to the Saints’ offense in 2024.

  • Dennis Allen coaching record: 23-46 overall, 15-18 with New Orleans Saints

What NFL coaches are on the hot seat in 2023?

Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy and Ron Rivera are the NFL coaches on the hot seat right now.

Is Brandon Staley on the hot seat?

Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was fired after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15. The Chargers also fired general manager Tom Telesco.

First NFL coach fired odds 2023

Here were the odds for the first NFL coach to be fired in 2023, via Covers.com, entering the season.

  • Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys – +600
  • Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – +600
  • Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders – +700
  • Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders – +700
  • Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns – +900
  • Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints – +900
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