NFL Hot Seat Coaches (and Replacements) for 2022

min read
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Jun 13, 2021, 7:34 AM

Nineteen NFL head coaches have been in their current position for two or fewer seasons. Ten of those coaches were hired after the conclusion of the 2021 season as unprecedented turnover wiped out nearly one-third of head coaches.

Who’s next?

Here are potential hot seat coaches for 2022 and, if a move is made, their potential replacement.

Pete Carroll – Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks are tied with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets for the third-lowest win total (5.5) at the online sportsbook. And only five teams have worse playoff odds.

That doesn’t bode well for Pete Carroll’s Hall of Fame prospects, but it might for his future in Seattle beyond the 2022 season.

In bringing back the 70-year-old for a 13th season, the Seahawks signaled a willingness to let Carroll oversee the first phase of what could potentially be a massive rebuild. And typically, multi-year rebuilds mean multi-year job security for the organization’s power brokers. 

Still, a change seems plausible if the Seahawks downright suck in 2022.

Replacement: If Carroll is gone, longtime general manager John Schneider – hired one week after Carroll in January 2010 – might be gone, too. Regardless, whom might the Seahawks target in their first coaching search in 13 years?

Dan Quinn is the obvious name. A former Seahawks’ assistant – including 2013-14 as defensive coordinator – Quinn reportedly passed on several interviews and offers after the 2021 season, his first as Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.

Matt Rhule – Panthers

Throughout the 2020 season, Matt Rhule and his assistant coaches admitted they didn’t know what they were doing … in a good way. Led by Rhule, offensive coordinator Joe Brady, and defensive coordinator Phil Snow, the Panthers’ staff spent the season identifying where players fit within their respective schemes.

Two years later, Rhule still doesn’t know what they’re doing … in a bad way.

With seven straight losses to end last season, the Panthers are now 10-21 in Rhule’s two years. And a third straight five-win season – their win total is 5.5 – will likely push Rhule out the door. 

Replacement: Before hiring Rhule, the Panthers reportedly had Mike McCarthy, Josh McDaniels, and Eric Bienemy on a short list. Greg Roman, Kevin Stefanski, and Perry Fewell were among others considered for the job.

If owner David Tepper is willing to go back to the well, Bienemy and Roman are the only available/sensical ones from that group. And for a franchise starving for offensive stability, either makes sense, especially Bienemy. 

Kliff Kingsbury – Cardinals

In the three years prior to Kliff Kingsbury’s arrival, the Cardinals had 18 total wins and were outscored by a total of 190 points. He has 19 wins in just the last two years, during which he’s led the third-best two-year point differential in the last 45 years.

Kingsbury has undoubtedly proved to be a good hire. But when a 7-0 start ends with an 11-6 regular-season record and a blowout loss in his lone playoff appearance as head coach, little else matters and as a result, he’s potentially on the hot seat in year four.

Replacement: Historically, college football and NFL teams zig after zagging led to an unsuccessful hire, as they did with Kingsbury, a young college coach with zero NFL experience, after a dud season from Steve Wilks, a longtime NFL assistant.

If owner Michael Bidwell and general manager Steve Keim – assuming he’s allowed to make a fourth hire instead of searching for a new job – employ a similar strategy but to a lesser degree, might they consider DeMeco Ryans? 

The 37-year-old former All-Pro linebacker turned down a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings last winter and returned to the San Francisco 49ers for his second season as defensive coordinator.

Mike McCarthy – Cowboys

Mike McCarthy needed to be told he would return as Dallas Cowboys head coach in 2022. Coaches with secure employment don’t need to be told that. 

Despite tying the fourth-highest win total – albeit with one additional game on the schedule – in team history, McCarthy was widely regarded by NFL insiders as a liability, not an asset, in an operation led by elite offensive talent and young stars on defense.

As was often the case in Green Bay, the Cowboys won 12 games in spite of McCarthy, not because of McCarthy.

Replacement: Jerry Jones was considered a change prior to their playoff loss, Jason La Canfora reported in mid-January.

“If this season doesn’t end the way Jerry thinks it should, don’t be surprised if Kellen Moore is their next head coach much sooner than later,” one source told La Canfora. “He does not want to lose him.”

Perhaps Kellen Moore’s rejection of Boise State and return to Dallas for a fourth season as offensive coordinator despite four interviews for NFL head-coaching jobs mean something. Perhaps they don’t. But he seems like the most realistic candidate to replace McCarthy.

Frank Reich – Colts

Jim Irsay never considered firing Frank Reich or general manager Chris Ballard after the worst regular-season loss in franchise history, an “unacceptable” defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars that kept the Colts out of the playoffs.

“Those two guys are excellent and I hope one day they can follow the path of Bill Polian and Tony Dungy, who I hired and became Hall of Famers,’’ Irsay said of Reich and Ballard, whom he signed in August to extensions through the 2026 season.

Still, Reich has one playoff win in four seasons, botched the Carson Wentz trade, and has zero AFC South titles.

Replacement: Most of the Colts’ candidates from January 2018 are unavailable or presumably wouldn’t be of interest again, including Mike Vrabel, Matt Nagy, and Josh McDaniels. But Kansas City Chiefs’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub could make a short list again, as could several new names, among them Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator Brian Callahan or DeMeco Ryans.

Ron Rivera – Commanders

Ron Rivera is 26-35 in his last four seasons as an NFL head coach, including just 14-19 in two seasons with the Commanders. And now he’s betting on Carson Wentz to end the franchise’s longtime quarterback issues and a delusional Jack Del Rio to fix a terrible defense.

And he’s coaching within an off-the-field firestorm engulfing the organization under Dan Snyder’s deplorable leadership.

Replacement: Does it matter?

Also: Check out the updated college football hot seat.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

Read More @DoughtyBetMGM

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.