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Hot seat analysis for head coaches around the NFL

NFL head coaches

The expectation is every NFL head coach is expected to lead their team to victory. Even if the team struggles, it’s about improving the roster for the future. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done as some teams can’t help get out of their own way due to inferior players, lack of depth, or a position struggle. 

Then there are NFL head coaches with quality rosters, substantial depth, and still can’t find a way to pull out the victory. No matter how high expectations were to begin the year, some teams seem destined to struggle moving forward, leading to a change in command. 

Many a time, some NFL head coaches can’t seem to get out of their way while others have nine lives in the league. Not every team can be blessed with a genius calling the shots, but even some of the worst NFL head coaches can’t be that bad, right? God, if only that was the case but low and behold, it’s not. 

We’re at the midway point of the season, and several NFL head coaches should be starting to feel the burn under their chairs. It’s never a good feeling, but it’s part of the game. Let’s dive through every coach and see where they sit on Pro Football Network’s hot seat meter. 

Ice Cold 

New England’s Bill Belichick: Apparently, black holes are the coldest thing in space. That’s how cold the Sith Lord Belichick’s seat is. The only way he leaves this season is if he pulls the plug on his coaching career. 

San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan: Neptune is the coldest planet in our solar system. The 49ers are the last undefeated team in football. You do the math people.   

Seattle’s Pete Carroll: Carroll’s like the ice in your outdoor fridge you rarely go to. He’s staying put. 

New Orleans’ Sean Payton: LOL. Nope. Payton won five games with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and is just several games away from getting New Orleans back to the postseason. 

Miami’s Brian Flores: Have you ever had Reese’s peanut butter cup frozen? You have to wait for it to freeze, but done right, it’s perfect. Miami’s tanking hard, and Flores knows that. He could be worth the wait. 

Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur: LaFleur’s seat has to be as hot as a seat in Lambeau come January. Guess what? It isn’t that hot. 


Indianapolis’ Frank Reich: Let’s see; lose an MVP quarterback and still contend for a division title? Check. You’re fine Father Frank; in Reich we trust 

Tampa Bay’s Bruce Arians: Arians is like a fine whiskey over ice; mix it with the wrong ingredients, you ruin the rep. Jameis Winston is a lost cause for the quarterback whisper, but maybe another young talent could fix the issue? 

Kansas City’s Andy Reid: He’s a Walrus on an iceberg, and the berg is Patrick Mahomes. So long as he doesn’t ruin the reigning MVP’s career, Reid will float in Kansas City until he calls it quits. Also, he looks like a walrus, and it’s too good to pass up that joke. 

Los Angeles’ Sean McVay: Apparently, every girl I know thinks the Rams head coach is hotter than a pumpkin spice latte. His seat, however, is pretty damn cold. 

Baltimore’s John Harbaugh: Imagine eating ice cream in Chicago during October. It likely won’t melt, but it could start to drip. The Harbaugh-Lamar Jackson relationship maybe has dripped at times this year, but it’s sweet to see them together.

Buffalo’s Sean McDermott: McDermott is a classic milkshake; you have to work at it for a while before it becomes perfect. The formula in Buffalo has the Bills at 6-2 right now. The team has a chance to potentially return to the postseason for the second time under his tenure. He’s going to be fine this year.

Oakland’s Jon Gruden: Gruden’s chance of getting fired this season are likely the same as Antonio Brown playing in 2019 for the Raiders: Zero. 

Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer: Zimmer is luke-warm chicken noodle soup after sitting on the counter for 30 minutes. It’s still good and works, so why get rid of a classic even if it’s bland.  

Room Temperature 

Dallas’ Jason Garrett: Houston and Dallas people may not like each other (we don’t, I’m from Houston), but there are similarities between the two cities and franchises. Garrett is the classic Coca-Cola in the sense of it works, but there are better options. Kellen Moore is the flavor gun you add at restaurants, but the long-time coach is just here at this point.  

Houston’s Bill O’Brien: If Garrett is Coke, O’Brien is Pepsi. Houston is the other soda that some people like, but most prefer the original. Deshaun Watson is that wild cherry flavor that gives the team that kick and pizazz. Until management gets tired of being behind their competitors, he’ll sit right in the middle. 

Denver’s Vic Fangio: He’s snow melting in the Rocky Mountains come March. You could get rid of him now, or see what the future holds with the next crop of snowfall to add to the product. 

Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel: Imagine Buffalo Wild Wings’ mild sauce. It works, but you could be a little more innovative with the approach. Maybe a quarterback as the dry rub helps add another element to the team’s success. 

Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson: To anyone who has tried the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, this is a good comparison. Some would believe it needs to be hotter, but it’s at the right temperature for all to enjoy thus far. It’s maybe a little overhyped, but still pretty good. 

Los Angeles’ Anthony Lynn: Leave a popsicle out to dry without ice, it’s going to melt fast. Management could make a switch, but it’s unlikely Lynn will be gone no matter what happens this season. 

Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor: The Bengals knew they were going to struggle, so why get rid of an innovative coach who could at least be something different? It’s the Brown family, so this could happen.

Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury: Was Josh Rosen that bad, or is Kyler Murray just better for Kliff? It doesn’t matter since the team is pretty much just room temperature water and just trying to get by. Kingsbury is going to be like Taylor and get another season to correct the mistakes… I think?

Detroit’s Matt Patricia: Like a room temperature beer, Patricia is getting the job done. The Lions are still relevant and could be a team to watch in the second half. Be careful, though; eventually, even beer fills you up, and you want to switch over to something else.    


Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin: Tomlin is running out of legs to stand on. The team could pull a Miami and rebuild, meaning he’d be out. The new core is going to decide the coach’s fate. 

Chicago’s Matt Nagy: Nagy is an espresso shot hot. He came in, did his job, and now his “innovative” effects are starting to wear off. Nagy had still been thriving off last season, but either he or Mitchell Trubiksy could be on thin ice come season’s end. 

Carolina’s Ron Rivera: Rivera is a jalapeno dipped in tabasco sauce. Some people can handle the heat while others are done after one bite. Depending on management, he could be out in the Queen City. 

Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone: In Batman, the villain Two-Face decided the fate of his victims with the flip of the coin. Gardner Minshew is heads while Nick Foles is tails. Depending on what the Khan Family and Tom Coughlin decide is the losing side, that could be the fate of Maronne in Duval. 

New York’s Pat Shurmur: Is Dave Gettleman going to be kept around? If so, that likely means Shurmur could get one last chance next season. For now, he’s the steam coming from the Subway in Manhattan. It’s pretty toasty, but it up to the person standing there to move on.   


Washington’s Bill Callahan: Callahan Auto’s was the name of the company in the hit movie “Tommy Boy” with Chris Farley. Remember the scene where Tommy lights the toy car on fire, and it falls off the cliff? Callahan is the flaming car, and December 29th (Washington’s final game) is the cliff. 

Atlanta’s Dan Quinn: If you’re pasty and white, you’ll get sunburnt pretty bad without sunscreen as your defense. Well, the Falcons offense is finding success while the defense doesn’t want to play. Start firing up the resume, Quinn. 

New York’s Adam Gase: Sam Darnold caught mononucleosis at the start of the season. One could have a fever as high as 106 degrees. That’s the percentage it should be for Gase to be fired

Cleveland Freddie Kitchens: Kitchens’ and the Browns are a microwave filled with tin foil cooking excellent food. All the pieces are there for a great recipe, but sometimes the flashy, sparkly stuff could be the thing to cause a fire. Kitchens in flammable tin foil that was placed in the mix because John Dorsey wanted to create a “stronger” recipe with Baker Mayfield. 

The team should have baked, but instead is now is slow dancing in a burning room. The song needs to end, and so does Kitchens’ time in Cleveland. Face it; he couldn’t take the heat. 

Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.

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