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Rating the job security of every NFL head coach

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  • Rating the job security of every NFL head coach

    Rating the job security of every NFL head coach

    ESPN
    Who will be the first NFL coach to be fired this season? Chicago Bears coach John Fox, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and New York Jets coach Todd Bowles own the hottest seats at the moment, according to NFL nation reporters.

    We rated each coach's job security on a scale of 1 to 5.

    Here's the scale on which each coach was rated:

    5: Hot seat: Out if the season is a disappointment
    4: Warm seat: Not safe if the season is a disappointment
    3: Lukewarm seat: Not under fire but not disaster-proof
    2: Cool seat: Safe barring a total disaster
    1: Cold seat: No way he'll get fired
    Rating: 5 = Hot seat

    Chicago Bears

    John Fox: 5

    Fox is 9-23 in Chicago. Let me repeat: Fox has lost 23 of 32 games as coach of the Bears. It got so bad last season that a lot of fans didn't even bother to show up to Soldier Field the final couple of weeks. Fox took Carolina and Denver to Super Bowls -- he has won 128 career regular-season games -- but unless the Bears show significant improvement in 2017, it's hard to envision Fox being around for another season. -- Jeff Dickerson

    Indianapolis Colts

    Chuck Pagano: 5

    Pagano survived back-to-back 8-8 seasons in which the Colts missed the playoffs. Owner Jim Irsay fired general manager Ryan Grigson and has only said Pagano will be coach for this season. Irsay is passionate about winning, and GM Chris Ballard will use this season to evaluate Pagano. Missing the playoffs for a third straight season won't cut it. -- Mike Wells

    New York Jets

    Todd Bowles: 5

    Bowles doesn't have a playoff mandate, according to owner Woody Johnson, but he must move the franchise in the right direction. That's a tall order, considering the Jets have one of the worst rosters. Is it fair? No, but Johnson is known for letting public sentiment cloud his judgment -- and the public won't be happy with Bowles if there's no glimmer of hope. Bowles is 15-17. The most recent Jets coach to survive after beginning with three non-playoff seasons was Walt Michaels in the late 1970s. -- Rich Cimini
    Rating: 4 = Warm seat

    Cincinnati Bengals

    Marvin Lewis: 4

    Lewis is going into the season with no new contract in sight, and even Bengals owner Mike Brown admitted that it might put a little pressure on their longtime coach. But the Bengals have given Lewis a contract after a previous down season. Brown has said there are no parameters that would guarantee a contract, so "playoffs or bust" might not apply here. Still, Lewis probably will need to show that the team is going in the right direction to be renewed. -- Katherine Terrell
    Rating: 3 = Lukewarm seat

    Baltimore Ravens

    John Harbaugh: 3

    Some will contend that the seat is hotter than this, but Harbaugh won a Super Bowl in 2012, beat the rival Steelers in the playoffs in 2014 and still ranks among the top 10 coaches in the NFL. Sure, he has missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, which has ratcheted up the pressure. But if the Ravens decide to part ways with Harbaugh, he wouldn't be out of a job for long. -- Jamison Hensley

    Detroit Lions

    Jim Caldwell: 3

    The Lions are coming off a playoff berth last season, and Caldwell has reached the postseason in two of his three seasons in Detroit. But the way the team reached the playoffs last season is a bit concerning (losing the last three regular-season games and being handled easily by Seattle in the wild-card round). Caldwell isn't general manager Bob Quinn's hire, and Quinn could eventually want his own guy. Also, this is the last year of Caldwell's contract, and as of now, no extension has been announced. A poor season could leave the Lions with a tough decision to make. -- Michael Rothstein

    Houston Texans

    Bill O'Brien: 3

    Back-to-back 9-7 seasons and AFC South titles would normally keep a coach away from the hot seat. But O'Brien has said that the Texans' offense needs to get better, and by taking over playcalling and not hiring an offensive coordinator, he has put that need to improve on himself. O'Brien has two years left on his contract, but he has not signed an extension. It's unlikely owner Bob McNair will let him coach with one year left, so this is a big season for O'Brien. -- Sarah Barshop

    Minnesota Vikings

    Mike Zimmer: 3

    The Vikings have one winning season and zero playoff victories in three years with Zimmer. There have been serious extenuating circumstances in both non-winning seasons, including Adrian Peterson's suspension in 2014 and Teddy Bridgewater's injury in 2016. But coaches are employed on a bottom-line basis. If 2017 bottoms out in disaster, it would be difficult to consider Zimmer's position secure. -- Kevin Seifert

    New Orleans Saints

    Sean Payton: 3

    I have a hard time believing Payton will be fired unless this season turns into a total disaster. Yes, the Saints have finished 7-9 three seasons in a row. But Payton got a five-year extension last year because the Saints believe in his ability to lead their rebuilding efforts (and that wouldn't change if they ever decided to move on from Drew Brees because Payton is a quarterback guru by trade and could help develop the next guy). If anything, the two sides could mutually part ways if it becomes apparent that this team is stuck in the mud and a change is needed. -- Mike Triplett

    Philadelphia Eagles

    Doug Pederson: 3

    Pederson went 7-9 in his first season as head coach, but he gets a bit of a pass, considering he was breaking in a rookie quarterback and a new system in 2016. He's now on the clock. Owner Jeffrey Lurie believes he has something special in Carson Wentz, and he spent some money this offseason upgrading the talent around him. He's looking for progress in Year 2. Pederson needs to deliver it. -- Tim McManus
    Rating: 2 = Cool seat

    Carolina Panthers

    Ron Rivera: 2

    Rivera was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015, taking the '15 team to an NFL-best 15-1 regular-season record and the Super Bowl. But the Panthers have had a losing record in two of the past three seasons and have had a losing record in four of Rivera's six seasons. As a result, you can't say he has total job security if the Panthers miss the playoffs again. -- David Newton

    Cleveland Browns

    Hue Jackson: 2

    Has the team of constant change finally found stability? It sure feels that way. Players never wavered in their support of Jackson in a one-win debut season, and the team seems to stand solidly with him. One can never say never with this team -- Jackson was the fourth head coach in five seasons -- but it appears that it would take a major calamity to uproot him from being the coach in 2018. -- Pat McManamon

    Dallas Cowboys

    Jason Garrett: 2

    Garrett is not completely safe, despite coming off an NFC East title and the best record in the conference last season. If the Cowboys follow their 13-3 season the way they followed up their 12-4 finish from 2014 (4-12 in 2015), then there will be plenty of heat on Garrett. He has done a good job of putting the program together over the years, but it's time for the Cowboys to sustain success and advance further in the playoffs. -- Todd Archer

    Green Bay Packers

    Mike McCarthy: 2

    McCarthy's job was never in jeopardy last season, when the Packers were 4-6, but what would've happened if they hadn't won six straight to close the regular season and make the playoffs for the eighth straight year? Probably nothing, and there's probably nothing that could happen that would cost McCarthy his job this time around, either. Maybe GM Ted Thompson will retire and his replacement will want his own coach, but that seems like the only way a coaching change would happen. -- Rob Demovsky

    Oakland Raiders

    Jack Del Rio: 2

    Del Rio has led the Raiders from a 3-13 finish the season before he arrived to 7-9 in 2015 to 12-4 and the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2002 last season. Plus, he got a four-year contract extension in February. So why is Del Rio not listed as a "1," in that there's no way he'll get fired? Because he is safe, barring a total disaster, really. Plus, a few more winning seasons and, gulp, maybe even a Super Bowl title, and then we'll talk "1s" because the Raiders are going to need a steady hand to guide them through these lame-duck seasons in Oakland before the franchise moves to Las Vegas. -- Paul Gutierrez

    Washington Redskins

    Jay Gruden: 2

    No coach has lasted more than four years under owner Dan Snyder; two coaches resigned, and four have been fired. Gruden is entering his fourth season. However, he signed a two-year extension in early March, so if the Redskins did something after the season, they'd have to pay him $15 million plus whatever is left on the contracts of his assistants. It's difficult to imagine that happening, unless there is some complete collapse. Gruden has helped the Redskins win 17 games the past two seasons combined, and he owns one NFC East title. The hard part will be taking that next step, but it would require a big one backward for Snyder to consider a move. -- John Keim
    Rating: 1 = Cold seat

    Atlanta Falcons

    Dan Quinn: 1

    Quinn took his team to the Super Bowl in just his second season in Atlanta. The former defensive coordinator in Seattle brought a championship mentality from the Seahawks after winning a ring there. He has established a true "brotherhood" among the players, organization and fans, and the best seems yet to come with the speed and talent acquired the past couple of years. -- Vaughn McClure

    Arizona Cardinals

    Bruce Arians: 1

    It's safe to say Arians won't get fired. He might retire after this season, but he won't get fired, regardless of how the team does. If the Cardinals don't make the playoffs again, they likely will go through a roster overhaul. Will Arians stick around for that? It's tough to say. The question will become: Will he want to work with another young quarterback? If his health is an issue throughout this season, it's very plausible that he will call it quits. -- Josh Weinfuss

    Buffalo Bills

    Sean McDermott: 1

    In the span of about four months at the beginning of this year, owners Terry and Kim Pegula fired the head coaches and general managers of both of their professional sports teams, the Bills and the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. With all of those positions now filled, the last thing the Pegulas want to do is gas up their private jet for more job interviews. Barring utter disaster, coach McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane are safe for the next two years at least. -- Mike Rodak

    Denver Broncos

    Vance Joseph: 1

    Joseph was hired in January, and Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway picked Joseph over the other candidates, including Kyle Shanahan. Joseph will get a chance to grow into the job. -- Jeff Legwold

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Doug Marrone: 1

    Marrone is entering his first year with the Jaguars after taking over for the fired Gus Bradley. He and Tom Coughlin, the executive VP of football ops, are on the same page philosophically, so there is a lot of harmony in the organization. This rating could change next year because owner Shad Khan has made it clear that he expects the team to compete for the AFC South title, and a seventh consecutive season with 10 or more losses would heat up Marrone's seat in 2018. -- Mike DiRocco

    Kansas City Chiefs

    Andy Reid: 1

    The Chiefs recently extended Reid's contract so he'll be around for the long term. If anything, he became a more essential part of the football operation when the Chiefs dismissed veteran general manager John Dorsey and replaced him with a rookie, 39-year-old Brett Veach. -- Adam Teicher

    Los Angeles Chargers

    Anthony Lynn: 1

    The Chargers hired Lynn in January after parting ways with Mike McCoy. With the franchise relocating to Los Angeles, the Chargers likely will be somewhat patient with Lynn. However, in the team's self-proclaimed battle for L.A., Lynn will have to get things going before the Chargers move into new digs at Inglewood stadium in 2020. -- Eric D. Williams

    Los Angeles Rams

    Sean McVay: 1

    The Rams hired McVay in January. They gave him a five-year contract to make him the youngest head coach in modern NFL history because they adamantly believe he is a star in the making. They also know they must have patience. McVay is taking over a team that has finished each of the past 10 years with a losing record, and he will try to steer an offense that has finished last in the NFL in yards each of the past two seasons. McVay won't just be a first-year head coach; he'll also be the offensive playcaller. He will have a long leash. -- Alden Gonzalez

    Miami Dolphins

    Adam Gase: 1

    When you win 10 games and make the playoffs in your first season as head coach, you don't have much to worry about in Year 2. Gase has exceeded expectations in Miami thus far. This season's team is more talented, and Gase has a better feel for his players. His status is safe, regardless of this season's results. -- James Walker

    New York Giants

    Ben McAdoo: 1

    McAdoo went 11-5 in his first season of a four-year deal as coach. He ended a five-year playoff drought. That bought him enough space to feel confident and comfortable about his job. McAdoo, who has drastically changed the program from Tom Coughlin's previous approach, is definitely trending in the right direction. The early returns on him are positive. -- Jordan Raanan

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Mike Tomlin: 1

    Save a second championship, Tomlin's job security couldn't be much stronger entering Year 11. He signed an extension last week that puts him under contract until 2020. He has won 32 regular-season games and three playoff games since 2014. The Steelers value stability at the top, replacing only two coaches since 1969. Plus, Tomlin is entering the 2017 season with arguably his best roster in years. -- Jeremy Fowler

    San Francisco 49ers

    Kyle Shanahan: 1

    After an extended game of musical head coaches, the Niners sought some much-needed stability in hiring coach Shanahan and general manager John Lynch in the offseason. As evidence of that commitment, they gave Shanahan and Lynch six-year contracts to go through what figures to be a lengthy rebuild. The 49ers seem to be realistic about their expectations for 2017 and understand that this season is as much about Shanahan establishing culture as it is about wins and losses. -- Nick Wagoner

    Seattle Seahawks

    Pete Carroll: 1

    Carroll signed a contract extension last offseason that will take him through 2019. At 65, he's the NFL's oldest head coach, but Carroll has shown no signs of slowing down. Russell Wilson is only 27, and the defense has a lot of key pieces in place. But most importantly, Carroll enjoys a special relationship with GM John Schneider, who is signed through 2021. Ultimately, Carroll deciding down the road that he wants to retire is more likely than the Seahawks firing him. -- Sheil Kapadia

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Dirk Koetter: 1

    The Bucs are thrilled with the job Koetter has done with Jameis Winston and with the team's 9-7 finish last season. As offensive coordinator in 2015, Koetter led the Bucs to the fifth-highest offensive yardage total in the league and set a franchise record. The Glazers have shown little patience with coaches in the past -- Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith were gone after two seasons -- but Koetter's job is safe. -- Jenna Laine

    Tennessee Titans

    Mike Mularkey: 1

    Mularkey's first season as Titans coach went better than most people expected, as he helped lift the team from 3-13 to 9-7. Mularkey hasn't had a successful record in other head-coaching stops, but his style is a great fit for this ground-and-pound Titans team. General manager Jon Robinson has built a loaded roster, and the playoffs should be an expectation -- not a hope. Mularkey's job is safe in 2017. However, with this team's talent, a 2017 losing season with a fairly healthy roster could put Mularkey on a warmer seat in 2018. -- Cameron Wolfe
    Bonus Rating: 0 = The coldest seat of all

    New England Patriots

    Bill Belichick: 0

    I know, I know. It wasn't on the scale of 1-5, but how else to make the point that Belichick has the most secure seat in all of professional football? If the 65-year-old Belichick decided he wanted to call it a career and run for political office in the New England region, he'd probably win that in a landslide. The saying in New England is simply, "In Bill We Trust." -- Mike Reiss
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