Head coaches get fired after the season in every sport. It's just the nature of the beast. The NFL is no different, and there has already been one firing this season, as the Las Vegas Raiders fired Josh McDaniels after a 3-5 start. McDaniels’ job was considered one of the least secure in the NFL heading into the season, but who else has a hot seat right now?
Matt Eberflus - Chicago Bears
The most obvious head coach is Matt Eberflus, who is in the middle of his second season as the coach of the Chicago Bears. He had never served as a head coach at any level before taking the Bears’ job, and he currently has a 6-22 record at the time of writing.
Eberflus is a defensive-minded coach, but the Bears’ defense has not been good, especially in pass defense. The Bears allow the seventh-most passing yards per game this season, but they are also allowing the sixth-most points per game and are the second-worst in red zone defense and third-down defense, as well. The defense was the focal point of this team before Eberflus took over, and that has taken a turn for the worse.
The other worrying thing for Eberflus is that Justin Fields, who was seen as the future franchise quarterback, hasn't shown much improvement in the past two years. If Eberflus is to survive 'Black Monday', the Monday after the final week of the regular season is known, he will need the defense to show improvement, and for Fields to come back from his current injury and play well. Otherwise, his chances of reaching a third season in Chicago are razor-thin.
Todd Bowles - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Todd Bowles is another defensive-minded coach whose defense is not the strong suit of the team. Bowles’ Buccaneers have the worst third-down defense in the league, and they are allowing the second-most passing yards in the league, but the rushing defense has been surprisingly stout, and they have the best red zone defense in the league.
Bowles took over last season and led the Buccaneers to the playoffs by winning the NFC South, though they finished with an 8-9 record and were crushed by the Cowboys in the Wild Card Round, in what would end up being Tom Brady's final NFL game. This season, the offense hasn't been great, but they have been surprisingly decent, considering that they have the worst rushing offense in the league and are one of the worst offensive teams in the red zone.
Baker Mayfield is having his best season since 2020, but it hasn't translated to many wins, as the Buccaneers currently sit with a 4-6 record. Bowles flamed out as the Jets’ head coach after four seasons where they steadily got worse each year, and if the Buccaneers don't pick up the pace, he might end up spending only two years in Tampa.
Bill Belichick - New England Patriots
If anyone had told me five years ago that Bill Belichick would have one of the hottest seats in the NFL, I would have told them that they were lying, but that's what happens when you start the season 2-8 and your franchise quarterback has regressed so much that the team isn't willing to commit to him as the starter going forward. The defense has been unspectacular, ranging around the middle of the pack in most defensive statistics, which is rare in a Belichick-coached team.
The offense has been awful, as they have been the second-worst team in terms of scoring, and the only offensive metric where they haven't been in the bottom 10 in the league in red zone offense, where they have been average. Even the greatest defense in the league wouldn't be able to carry an offense like that to a winning record, let alone the playoffs.
In the four seasons since Tom Brady left New England, Belichick's Patriots have made the playoffs once, and they have only had a winning record once; they finished with nine losses in 2020 and 2022, and the team has been one of the worst in the league in 2023. If the Patriots don't get any better toward the end of the season, it's not hard to imagine the Patriots firing the greatest head coach in franchise, as well as potentially NFL history.
Brandon Staley - Los Angeles Chargers
Next is a firing that many fans felt should have happened last season: Brandon Staley. Staley is the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers and started his career with two straight winning seasons, going 9-8 in 2021 and 10-7 (and making the playoffs) in 2022; in that playoff game, the Chargers jumped out to a 27-0 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars before choking away the lead and losing on a game-winning field goal, 31-30.
After that loss, many fans felt that Staley should have been fired, and many fans also felt that Staley was merely skating by with the talent on the roster. Like the Chargers’ previous head coach, Anthony Lynn, Staley has been accused of being an easily replaceable head coach, and there have been rumors that the Chargers might be targeting Belichick as their next head coach.
These rumors have not been helped by the fact that the defense, which is supposed to be Staley's specialty, has been poor this year, especially in the passing game; they allow 25 more passing yards per game than any other team in the league. The Chargers have had one of the best offenses in the league, but it hasn't been enough to raise them to anything higher than a 4-6 record. If the Chargers miss the playoffs this season, don't be surprised to see a change in Los Angeles.
Who Has the Hottest Seat
If someone were to ask me, I would say that the hottest seat in the NFL belongs to Eberflus, but the other three aren't far behind. Personally, if I were the owners of each of these respective teams, all four would need to do a lot before the end of the season for me to consider keeping them.
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