Once upon a time, when life was simpler and traditions mattered, there was something called Black Monday. Coaches gathered with their general managers to exchange a cup of cocoa, a donut, and pink slips, and at the end of the day everyone made a list of all the people who got fired by people who liked and respected them.
That is now gone, and really has been for a few years now. In fact, not only shouldn’t it be referred to as Black Monday (Pink Monday would be better given the traditional color of unemployment, and so would White Monday given the color of the cardboard boxes the freshly fired use to carry their stuff to the car), but have no name at all. Now you get it when you get it, and since malice-powered busybodies like Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero announce the fired before the eye coins get placed, sometimes you get it before they get it.
It’s like Christmas on December 17 because you want to open your presents before the neighbors. Or like the evergreen Monty Python skit where people bring their dead to the undertaker’s cart before they are actually dying. Frankly, it’s wrong, it’s a sign of our decaying culture, and why Roger Goodell must be replaced by someone who will slap the owners in line to save what is most sacred about the company.
In this case, centralized firings.
As a practical matter, Mike Zimmer’s been fired by the Minnesota Vikings for a while now, and so has Chicago’s Matt Nagy, and with any luck they’ll both get it while shaking hands at midfield after Sunday’s game. Denver’s Vic Fangio got it this morning just because his season was technically over Saturday night, which is its own form of bullshit, as the season should end at the same time for everyone. There are likely to be others, as the average number of Garrotings Per Season hovers above seven over the last five years and has not been below six since 2005. The NFL is more stable than its baseball, basketball, or hockey counterparts in this regard; the NBA had 15 teams fire 23 coaches in 2004–5, and yes, we count interim coaches because they are equal in the eyes of our galactic overlords, and a firing is a firing even when so many teams these days call it “a mutual parting of the ways.” This is to say both sides mutually agreed that one of the sides can’t come inside the building any more.
But while most squalid corners of the internet will give you hot seat projections about WHO is next, we are more concerned with WHEN. We have few enough things to rely upon in this revolting culture without losing Black/Pink/White Monday. We could have watched the games in relative peace even though most of them have some trumped-up reason or other to “matter,” like the all-important playoff seeding for a home-field advantage that no longer exists.
More to the point, Fangio could have been given a rare Sunday off to relax with the family rather than being given Sunday to relax with the family while hating the people who pretended to like him a day before. Sunday’s a day off for everyone but the NFL, the clergy, baristas, store clerks, gas station attendants, bloggers, department store workers, phone solicitors and … well, hell, it looks like everyone works on Sunday, as it turns out.
So anyway, your Monday is now less enjoyable than it should have been. While waiting for people you never met to lose their jobs is a pretty ghoulish way to spend a day, it is the business they have chosen. We spend months (or in Mike McCarthy’s case, years) waiting for these guys to get capped, so the least we can do is have it all merged into one 24-hour period—sort of like the movement to get the day after the Super Bowl declared a national holiday. It could be like the trade/transfer deadline, or National Signing Day: a clerical bonanza for a nation in quarantine.
But that’s for next year. All we know now is that Joe Judge is still safe, Matt Rhule is hiring a new defensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell and Rich Bisaccia know without being told that they will both be replaced by Jim Harbaugh, and everyone still hates McCarthy and his crummy old 12-5 record. Because sometimes, for some folks, winning and losing has nothing to do with it. It’s just the joy of knowing that a guy can win 12 games with the 12th-most prolific offense in history and still have his fan base wishing he could be Vic Fangio too.