2023 NFL Hot Seat: NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat

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2023 NFL Hot Seat: NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat
(Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)
Nick Hennion @nickhennion Dec 27, 2023, 12:09 PM
  • Could Mike Tomlin's extended tenure with the Steelers end soon?
  • The case for the Cowboys losing patience with head coach Mike McCarthy.
  • Two NFC South head coaches that could find themselves in trouble.

Last year’s coaching carousel discarded Nathaniel Hackett, Matt Rhule, Frank Reich, Kliff Kingsbury, and Lovie Smith.

Thus far in 2023, the Raiders have fired Josh McDaniels and the Panthers fired Frank Reich. Here’s a look at other candidates whose jobs could be in jeopardy. 

NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat

Dennis Allen – Saints

When your general manager must publicly confirm your return after one season, as Mickey Loomis did with Dennis Allen after the New Orleans Saints’ season ended with only seven wins and no playoff appearance, you don’t have long-term job security.

Even with a competent defense and (potential) offensive consistency with Derek Carr after last year’s injury-fueled quarterback carousel, Allen is in a tough spot as the team’s salary cap issues persist for at least one more season.

Allen started strong in the 2023-24 campaign by starting 2-0, but has since gone 5-8 to drop to third in the NFC South.

Todd Bowles – Buccaneers

In the second year of a five-year contract, Todd Bowles should have job security as the Bucs dive into a massive rebuilding project that’s starting with Baker Mayfield on a one-year contract.

Historically, the Glazer family is impatient with rebuilds and the coaches leading such efforts.

Raheem Morris was fired one year after winning 10 games, and Lovie Smith was fired after tripling the team’s win total in his second season.

Despite sitting at 8-7, the Bucs occupy the top spot in the division thanks to key wins over the Falcons and Saints.

Mike McCarthy – Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys’ comical last gasp in the divisional round shouldn’t be a factor in Mike McCarthy’s job security.

Failing to reach the NFC Championship for a third straight season despite a vastly improved defense and a $160-million quarterback should be a huge factor in McCarthy’s job security.

McCarthy has one playoff win in three seasons with the Cowboys and his last five seasons overall as an NFL head coach. He’s won multiple playoff games in the same season only twice in 16 years.

The Cowboys have flourished in the 2023-24 regular season, though. They’re 10-5 through 15 games — including 7-0 at home — but sit second in the NFC East following losses to the Bills and Dolphins.

Ron Rivera – Commanders

The Washington Commanders arguably met expectations in 2022.

Still, after non-stop franchise turmoil and new ownership, Ron Rivera’s job security could be tenuous regardless of on-field success or failures.

He’s mostly on the hot seat because of organizational instability but a third straight sub-.500 season didn’t help. A fourth straight such season could be the tipping point — currently, the Commanders are 4-9, good for last in the NFC East.

Three straight losses led to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio losing his job in Week 12. If the poor play continues — Washington is currently 4-11 — Rivera could be next out the door.

Arthur Smith – Falcons

Arthur Smith was set up for immediate failure in his first head-coaching job at any level. He arguably exceeded expectations in leading one of the league’s worst rosters to 14 wins in his first two years.

Nonetheless, as Kliff Kingsbury found it last year, exceeding expectations at the start of your tenure doesn’t guarantee long-term job security.

Smith might need a big step forward in 2023 to earn Arthur Blank’s trust for 2024 and beyond.

The big step forward began with a 2-0 start. Atlanta has struggled since, however, losing eight of 13 to drop to second in NFC South.

Mike Tomlin – Steelers

If the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t want Mike Tomlin leading a mini rebuild, he presumably would’ve been fired after the 2021 season.

Because he wasn’t, and is returning in 2023 after a third playoff whiff in the last five years, it appears the Rooney family is opting for patience.

But at what point does that patience run out?

What if they miss the playoffs again and fail to win at least 10 games for the fifth time since 2018?

After an inspiring start to the season — the Steelers started 7-4 — they lost three straight games against the Cardinals, Patriots and Colts.

All of a sudden, that puts the Steelers’ playoff hopes in jeopardy, despite a Week 16 win over the Bengals.

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About the Author

Nick Hennion

Read More @nickhennion

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.