There is just one week left in the NFL regular season. While the end of the year has some teams looking toward the upcoming draft and others gearing up for a deep playoff run, another aspect of the NFL season is coaching changes. Whether a coach retires, is traded or is fired, there are ample things that can lead to a team going a different direction with their head coach. Let’s take a look at the head coaching situations around the league as we head into the final week of the season.
Interim and doing their best
Chris Tabor, Carolina Panthers
Giff Smith, Los Angeles Chargers
Antonio Pierce, Las Vegas Raiders
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
Sean Payton, Denver Broncos
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
Brian Daboll, New York Giants
Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Shane Steichen, Indianapolis Colts
A lot of these coaches are safe because their teams are locked into the playoffs and have had successful seasons. Others like Daboll, Steichen and O’Connell are likely going to be safe due to the fact their starting quarterback had a major injury that led to their falling short of expectations.
Jonathan Gannon, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is in an interesting spot. They were expected to not have a successful year and there were always rumblings that Gannon could be a one-year filler. He will likely still be the head coach in 2024, but if the Cardinals front office wants to change things up with a top draft pick, they could try and bring in a coach that fits that player’s strengths, especially if it is a quarterback.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tomlin was riding the hot seat when the Steelers lost back-to-back games against the Cardinals and the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh rebounded with big wins over the Bengals and Seattle Seahawks and is still in the playoff hunt. Tomlin avoids his first losing season and could quiet naysayers if he is able to take the Steelers to the playoffs and pick up at least one win. If Pittsburgh misses the playoffs, Tomlin’s seat remains warm, but he likely earned another year.
Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
McDermott needs the Bills to not only make the playoffs but have a successful run. He likely is safe if they make the playoffs, but anything short of a Super Bowl will be another year with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading an offense that isn’t able to take that next step. Eventually, those results will catch up to McDermott. If Buffalo misses the playoffs, McDermott’s seat would then be downgraded to lava hot and he likely would be replaced.
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
LaFleur is likely safe after his first season without Aaron Rodgers, but defensive coordinator Joe Barry is probably gone. The Packers’ head coach is likely on the cooler side of lukewarm, but if the Packers lose to the Chicago Bears and miss the playoffs, it doesn’t feel like MLF’s job would be considered ice-cold.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
In October, it was reported that Belichick and the Patriots front office had come to terms on an extension behind the scenes and the discussions remained very private. Later in the year, it was reported that owner Robert Kraft had already made a decision about Belichick’s future, but it wasn’t released what that was. I don’t think New England will fire Belichick, but there is a chance that he will be traded to another team.
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
The Saints still have a shot at winning the NFC South and heading to the playoffs, but they are likely eliminated. Allen coached through the first year of the Derek Carr era. He is likely safe, but it just feels like something needs to change in New Orleans, and they can’t head into 2024 with both Allen and Carr still in their respective roles if they want to have a different outcome.
Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bowles is another coach who is likely on the cooler side of lukewarm, but it comes down to Week 18. Tampa Bay is win and in for the playoffs and just needs a victory over the Carolina Panthers to cement the No. 4 seed in the NFC. If that happens, Bowles should be safe. If the Bucs lose to the Panthers, that would be a brutal loss and could see Tampa Bay missing the playoffs entirely.
Robert Saleh, New York Jets
Saleh is another coach who will likely get the benefit of his quarterback suffering an injury. Aaron Rodgers had so much hype surrounding New York that his season-ending injury in the first game was too much to overcome. Now, there should be some blame on someone for how the QB situation panned out, and Saleh could be the fall guy, but it wouldn’t be crazy to give him another shot with a healthy Rodgers.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Carroll is in a similar situation to LaFleur. He is likely safe, especially if the team makes the playoffs. If the Seahawks don’t make the playoffs, Carroll could be on the hot seat because they let a win-and-in situation in Week 17 dissipate and now need to win and have a Packers loss to Bears to get in.
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
Vrabel is likely on his way out with Tennessee. Recent reports suggest that he and the GM may not be seeing eye to eye, and the Titans are coming off a season to forget. They will finish last in the AFC South and have a high draft pick in next year. This is a prime time to reset the franchise and move on from Vrabel, especially if Belichick is traded away from New England, he would be a good fit with the Patriots and the Titans could get something from his leaving rather than nothing.
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
I don’t know that this move would surprise anyone. It felt like Smith consistently misused his offense this season, and the team had more potential than what happened. The crazy part is the Falcons could still make the playoffs if they beat the Saints in Week 18 and the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers. Still, it feels like Smith is likely gone and Atlanta will be starting over under center and with a new head coach.
Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Suggesting Pederson being gone feels surprising since he had done well in a limited time to turn around the Jaguars. Still, this year showed plenty of growing pains between him and Trevor Lawrence. I don’t think that Pederson is gone, but the recent comments about not being able to do it all and putting the blame for recent losses back on the players never suggests strong job security for a head coach.
Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears
Chicago will be on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft and will have a decision to make under center. If Chicago does decide to move on from Justin Fields and select Caleb Williams or Drake Maye with the first overall pick, it isn’t crazy to think that the Bears would do so and then look for a head coach that matches that quarterback's play style. Ebeflus did improve on his 3-14 record from last year, but 7-9 heading into the final week of the season could be enough to have him packing his bags, although I don’t expect a move would happen right as the season ended.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
This one feels like a done deal. Washington is under new ownership and is expected to clean house heading into next season. Rivera has yet to have a winning season while in Washington, and part of it was the team’s decision to rebuild and trade away its best two defense players earlier this season. The Commanders went 8-8-1 a season ago, but are 4-12 ahead of a matchup against the Cowboys’ where they are the lone double-digit underdogs of the week.