One of the NFL’s longest-tenured coaches was fired Monday. One of the shortest, too.
Four more head coaches were fired the day after the end of the regular season, bringing the total number of teams looking for new coaches to eight.
Leading the list Monday was Marvin Lewis, ending a 16-year stay in Cincinnati that included seven playoff appearances without so much as one Bengals victory. The move ends the second-longest head coaching tenure in the league; New England’s Bill Belichick is wrapping up his 19th season.
Lewis leaves with an 0-7 mark in the postseason that is the worst in NFL history.
A third consecutive losing season — the 2018 Bengals finished 6-10 — punctuated by plummeting attendance prompted change-resistant Mike Brown to finally cut ties with Lewis, whose loyalty and close working relationship with the owner brought him repeated contract extensions.
The other coaches let go Monday didn’t make it nearly as long.
• Miami fired Adam Gase as part of the latest organization shake-up after the Dolphins finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. Gase went 23-26 in three seasons, including a playoff game in 2016.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross ordered a roster overhaul and demoted Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum. GM Chris Grier, who has been with the team in various capacities for 19 seasons, will oversee football operations while reporting directly to Ross.
• John Elway is seeking his fourth coach in six seasons after firing Vance Joseph following Denver’s worst two-year stretch since the 1960s.
Elway, Broncos president of football operations, acknowledged being part of the problem in the team’s 20-28 record since its Super Bowl 50 parade, including 11-21 under Joseph. “The first guy I look at is the guy in the mirror,” Elway said.
• Arizona fired Steve Wilks after only one 3-13 season, the Cardinals’ worst record in 18 years and the worst in the league this season. Wilks, 49, is the first Cardinals coach to be fired after one season since Joe Kuharich in 1952.
Two teams got a head start Sunday as the Jets fired Todd Bowles and Tampa Bay fired Dirk Koetter. Green Bay fired Mike McCarthy on Dec. 2 and Cleveland fired Hue Jackson on Oct. 29, with interim coaches finishing the seasons for both those teams.
Five of the eight fired coaches this season are black. That has left only three minority head coaches: the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn, the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and the Panthers’ Ron Rivera.
The NFL continues to grapple with minority-hiring issues 16 years after team owners, under the threat of litigation, enacted the Rooney Rule in December 2002. The rule requires each team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate.
Leaders of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the diversity group that works closely with the NFL on its minority hiring practices, said Monday they are watching the current cycle closely and are not overly alarmed or concerned at this point about the number of black coaches being dismissed.
“We all know it’s win or go home,” said John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. “We’ll work at it and go on.”