We’ve seen plenty of coaching upheaval in recent years, but if all the coaches on the hot seat wind up getting fired, it could turn into an avalanche.
Four coaches have already been replaced – Mike Singletary in San Francisco, Brad Childress in Minnesota, Wade Phillips in Dallas and Josh McDaniels in Denver.
And heading into the final week of the regular season, there are eight more whose situations are either dire or tenuous.
Here’s a look:
• John Fox, Panthers. There’s no question Fox will be gone after the Panthers’ season concludes. At 2-13, Fox’s inability to win with a rebuilding team will see him working elsewhere next year. It remains to be seen whether general manager Marty Hurney survives the purge of team owner Jerry Richardson.
• Tony Sparano, Dolphins. Bill Parcells walked away from the team before the season, and Sparano might not be far behind after the Dolphins finished 1-7 at home after Sunday’s loss to the Lions.
• Gary Kubiak, Texans. Kubiak received a contract extension last year, but he has failed to do any better than .500. After a series of losses in which the team built seemingly comfortable leads – the most recent on Sunday in Denver – team owner Bob McNair may pull the plug.
• Jeff Fisher, Titans. Fisher is the longest tenured coach of any active sideline boss, having been named to the position in November, 1994. His run-ins with quarterback Vince Young have angered team owner Bud Adams, who may have run out of patience with the long-time coach.
• Tom Coughlin, Giants. Coughlin may be coaching for his job on Sunday against the Redskins. After back-to-back collapses in losses to Philadelphia and Green Bay, Coughlin may need to beat the Redskins and secure a playoff spot to keep coaching in New York, where he has had the job since 2004.
• Eric Mangini, Browns. Mangini kept his job under new team president Mike Holmgren by finishing with a flourish last season, but after a three-game losing streak, Holmgren may be inclined to make a change. It’s possible Holmgren will name himself as head coach, or else possibly turn to long-time friend Fox.
• Marvin Lewis, Bengals. Lewis was the NFL’s coach of the year in 2009 after leading the Bengals to the playoffs despite myriad injuries. But after a disappointing run in 2010, the Bengals may go in another direction. Lewis’ contract runs out after the season.
• Tom Cable, Raiders. Cable has actually done a solid job this season in making the Raiders competitive, but with Al Davis as the owner, anything’s possible.
And if Cable is safe - which he would appear to be at this point - we haven't even gotten into the surprise firing that inevitably happens each year. And the list doesn't include a coach who probably should be on it: Norv Turner of the Chargers. His team missed the playoffs after another miserable start to the regular season, but team president Dean Spanos said yesterday that Turner will be back in 2011.
Bottom line: There will be a ton of upheaval in the off-season, even if all the coaching changes don't materialize.