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NFL coach firings: Which teams are looking for new head coaches in 2021

The NFL coach hiring cycle is back around with three coaches fired and more to come. We break down who has been fired, who is on the hot seat, and some of the candidates that will interview during the cycle heading into 2021.

Head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons shakes hands with head coach Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans after the game at the Georgia Dome on October 4, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The NFL season is rapidly coming to a close, and that means the annual tradition of Black Monday is fast approaching. Following the close of Week 17 Sunday evening and throughout Monday, clubs that have struggled make the decision to fire their head coach or at least have some kind of so-called amicable parting of the ways.

Fired head coaches

We have already seen three head coaches fired during the season, and they won’t be the last ones. The Texans got it started, followed by the Falcons and then Lions.

October 5: Bill O’Brien fired as HC and GM
October 11: Falcons fire HC Dan Quinn, GM Thomas Dimitroff
November 28: Lions fire HC Matt Patricia, GM Bob Quinn

Hot seat

We’re all but certain to see multiple head coaches fired in the hours following their teams’ Week 17 game. Most will not be surprising, but there could be the occasional surprise. A lot will depend on who is available as a head coach. There are rumors Jim Harbaugh could return to the NFL, which might convince a team to make a change even if they might have otherwise done so.

Vic Fangio, Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Chargers
Doug Marrone, Jaguars
Adam Gase, Jets
Doug Pederson, Eagles
Matt Nagy, Bears

Head coach candidates

There will be plenty of the usual retreads making their way through the interview process, but we’ll have plenty of names getting interview opportunities who have yet to serve as a head coach in the NFL. Below are names of some notable candidates. It is far from exhaustive, but is a good starting point for names we’ll hear over the next month.

No NFL HC experience

Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs OC
Robert Saleh, 49ers DC

Prior NFL HC experience

Josh McDaniels, Patriots OC
Leslie Frazier, Bills DC
Dennis Allen, Saints DC
Todd Bowles, Buccaneers DC
Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs DC

College head coaches

Matt Campbell, Iowa State