Five NFL coaches on the hot seat heading into the 2021 NFL season

It's the nature of the business that a handful of NFL coaches enter each season on the hot seat. Which coaches' seats are warm in 2021?

Only one NFL coach will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in five months. Far more will be looking for work. It’s just the nature of high-level competitive athletics — win or literally go home. Seven teams changed head coaches in 2021. That was on top of five that made moves the year before, meaning a full third of the NFL has fired their head coach in the past 24 months. Expect that trend to continue, with some NFL coaches already on the hot seat heading into the 2021 season.

Five NFL coaches on the hot seat in 2021

On the eve of yet another NFL season, here’s our list of the top five coaches on the hot seat.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

It took Fangio three decades as an NFL assistant to get a shot at the big seat. His time in that seat could last all of three seasons.

Fangio is 12-20 in his first two years as Broncos head coach, and patience is probably wearing thin. New GM George Paton took over personnel decisions from John Elway this offseason and decided to stick with Fangio for at least one more season. But there’s no reason he’s wedded to Fangio beyond this year.

The Broncos should have an excellent defense, and Teddy Bridgewater will keep them in games. It’ll be incumbent on Fangio to win them.

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys

A string of injuries gave McCarthy a mulligan in his first year in Big D. He went 5-11 but was really in no danger of losing his job. But his scholarship year is over and will be extended no such grace in 2021.

The expectations couldn’t be higher. Dak Prescott is back healthy. There are stars all over the offense and defense. “Super Bowl” is never far from Jerry Jones’ lips.

Our sense is McCarthy needs to reach at least the Divisional Round to keep his job and probably the NFC Championship Game.

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

For all of his hype, Kingsbury has been a sub-.500 coach in both college (35-40) and the NFL (13-18-1). This is Year 3 of the Arizona experiment, and the Cardinals want to see results out of the Kingsbury-Kyler Murray partnership.

On paper, they have a dangerous team. The problem for Kingsbury is, they play in by far the best division in the NFL.

NFL odds have the Rams as 12-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. The 49ers are 14-to-1. And the Seahawks are 25-to-1. As for the Cardinals? A still-respectable 35-to-1. Kingsbury doesn’t need a Super Bowl appearance to keep his job, but he probably does need to make the playoffs.

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

The Bears have been pretty patient with Nagy, who has been eight games over .500 in his three regular seasons in Chicago but winless in two playoff appearances.

Beyond the wins and losses, though, is a frustration with an offense Nagy was brought in to fix. The Bears ranked 27th in yards per play (5.1) and 23rd in points (22.4) last year, prompting the Bears to jettison Mitch Trubisky and bring in both Andy Dalton and Justin Fields.

Nagy’s career might depend on how long he waits to insert Fields into the starting lineup.

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

We had to double-check this figure to make sure it’s correct. Yes, Taylor has a 6-25-1 record in two seasons as the Bengals’ head coach. With Joe Burrow back healthy, Taylor probably needs to be over .500 in Year 3 to see Year 4.

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