Fire This Asshole! A Guide To The Worst NFL Coaches Of 2022
12:26 PM EST on December 22, 2022
Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Got something you wanna contribute? Email the Roo. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, through here.
I have lived long enough, and lost enough jobs, to have a sympathetic grief reflex kick in anytime anyone I know becomes freshly unemployed. It’s a shitty thing to lose your job, even if it’s one you didn’t care for. You lose both your income and your sense of direction all in one go. And no matter how many other people lose their jobs around you, you feel alone. Deserted. Unwanted and, even worse, unneeded. The uncertainly can be devastating. I’ve seen it take its toll on scores of media colleagues, friends, family, and thousands of other Americans who I do not know but whose plight I feel all too intimately connected to. I wouldn’t wish joblessness on anyone.
Except for NFL head coaches. That’s where my empathy switch stays off.
Coaching is a job in which you work 100-hour weeks all for the pleasure of having millions of people tell you that you’re fucking horrible at it. That’s almost enough to get me to feel bad anytime Chip Kelly finds himself out on the curb, but not quite. These men are handsomely compensated for the scrutiny, mad with power, and probably drunk on the job. They’re all hired to be fired one day, but they’re also all re-hired a month later: by other NFL teams, by networks in need of studio analysts, by gambling concerns, or by Nick Saban. They’re all part of the same fuck factory, which means that I don’t REALLY care that Frank Reich has to put his house on the market sooner than he planned. I don’t care if any coach is fired, especially if he was fucking terrible at his job.
And the coaches you’re about to meet? They’re all dogshit. I know because I’ve seen them at work, both this season and in seasons past. These men exist solely to anger you. They call the wrong plays, start the wrong quarterbacks, hire the worst assistants, and spend every postgame telling the world “I felt great” about their latest, most egregious fuck-up. These men cost you both victories and sleep, and for that they must pay with their jobs. Let’s meet this year’s worst head coaches and decide, just in time for Christmas, if your team should—and will!—Fire This Asshole. Here now is your potential 2022 chopping block:
The case against: I don’t know how else the Saints thought this was gonna go. Dennis Allen came into this job with a career head coaching record of 8-24 and proceeded to change absolutely nothing on a team that was already falling down a trash chute. Their quarterback room has all the vitality of a hospice. Every touchdown they score is a small miracle. The defense is just good enough to keep New Orleans in games they eventually go on to lose. This is a lifeless football team.
The case for: His players seem to like him. Judging by their Twitter feeds, pro athletes like a lot of garbage.
Fire this asshole? Yes.
Will they actually fire him? Yes.
The case against: In accordance with Kliff’s late-season koaching tradition, his team has lost six of its last seven games. His quarterback hates his guts. That same QB also has a torn ACL and a contract that doubles as a license to commit blackmail. All of his players hate one another. His O-line coach just got fired for treating Mexico like his own personal red-light district. His GM went to live on a farm upstate. He’s been to one playoff game in four years and got crushed in it. I don’t know what else Kliff Kingsbury has to do to demonstrate that he’s not qualified to be an NFL coach. Does he have to murder a fucking cop or something? Let’s get on with it.
The case for: DURRRRR HIS HOUSE LOOKS PRETTY SWEET. So does every rich guy’s house. It doesn’t matter.
Fire this asshole? Right now.
Will they actually fire him? Yes.
The case against: Is not a real coach. Has been outscored 72-9 in the past two second halves. In addition to being up 33-0 at the half last week, the Colts were still up 36-7 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, and still lost.
The case for: Well look, you gotta feel good for Jeff Saturday. Every Sunday, NFL color guys tell me who I have to feel good for, and it’s always some clueless asshat. “You gotta feel good for Jeff Saturday, taking this job and knowing that his lack of experience would draw a lot of attention.” “You gotta feel good for Colts owner Jim Irsay, who really stuck his neck out with this hire but has the full support of his players right now. They can tell how much he cares about winning.” “You gotta feel great for Nick Foles, getting back in there and hoping to remind everyone why he won that Super Bowl MVP just a few years ago.” I feel good for no one. Fuck you.
Fire this asshole? Given that Saturday is technically an interim coach, his release wouldn’t quite be the same as other coaches whose tenures were never meant to be temporary. So yeah, fire the clueless dipshit who was never supposed to be here to begin with.
Will they actually fire him? Saturday has talked a big game about keeping this job for good, and his boss is a ruddy dilettante who treats hiring practices like an opportunity to surprise his audience at the House of Blues by busting out the wah-wah pedal. But I’m gonna make the critical mistake of believing that Jim Irsay has SOME cognitive function left, which means Indianapolis is about to enter the Jim Harbaugh Sweepstakes 2.0. Saturday is out.
The case against: Is Mike McCarthy. Blew a 17-point lead to Jacksonville. Blew a 14-point lead to Green Bay and then lost the game after passing on a 53-yard field goal attempt to win it (Green Bay took the ball and summarily kicked their own winning field goal with it).
The case for: I guess they might win the Super Bowl.
Fire this asshole? You should always fire Mike McCarthy.
Will they actually fire him? You’ve met Jerry Jones, right? If you share a Johnnie Walker Black with Jerry and don’t ask him “Hey Jer, remember that time when you helped block a school integration?” you’re his bud for life. Beav is staying in Dallas forever and I couldn’t be happier.
The case against: Established himself as the single worst game manager in football from Day One. Do you know how hard that is to do, especially given the existence of the man sitting above Hackett on this list? You could argue that no first-year head coach has been gifted more rope than Nathaniel Hackett was. Denver gave him a capable defense AND a Super Bowl–winning quarterback to get started with. I’d still rather watch a snuff film than watch this team attempt to play a football game responsibly.
The case for: It’s only his first season, and we should be nice to the freshmen! They don’t even know their way around the halls yet!
Fire this asshole? Without a moment’s hesitation, yes.
Will they actually fire him? The Broncos have a new owner, and that owner isn’t inclined to keep a shitty coach around, nor even a relatively new GM who just engineered a trade that will set this franchise back at least two more years, if not longer. Everyone’s gonna get shitcanned. Except for John Elway. They’ll let him stick around to clean out the liquor cabinet.
The case against: Not sexy enough to keep around.
The case for: After Matt Rhule was fired, this team had every reason to loll around the shitter until the offseason. But thanks to Wilks, and thanks to an NFC South that goes out of its way to debase itself, the Panthers are still in this thing. Nobody wins their division with a losing record like the Panthers do. It’s their hallmark.
Fire this asshole? Wilks got fucked in Arizona when the Bidwill family replaced him, after only one season, in favor of a demonstrably worse head coach. Let the man stay.
Will they actually fire him? You know the answer. The Washington Post did a whole investigative series on this kinda situation. Speaking of which…
The case against: If you’ve familiar with the Texans, I don’t have to answer that. Lovie was hired as window dressing for the second most disgraceful franchise in the NFL. His roster is shit. He’s been granted zero control over who starts at QB and who doesn’t. An extraordinary coach would able to overcome these limitations through force of will. But Lovie’s postgame pressers have all the atmosphere of a funeral for the victim of a mass shooting. I don’t think he even wants to be here. Would you?
The case for: Well look, you gotta feel good for Lovie for making it back to the NFL after all these years.
Fire this asshole? Sure why not.
Will they actually fire him? You bet your bottom dollar they will!
The case against: ROLL THE TAPE!
When I said I wanted more laterals, I didn’t mean THAT lateral. Although that play did bring me great joy. It encapsulated how downright ordinary the Patriots have become in their third year without Tom Brady running things. Chad Graff over at The Athletic laid it out in joyful detail. This is the worst red-zone offense in football. Their special teams are anything but. They’re one of the most heavily penalized teams in the league, especially before the snap. Their quarterback hates everyone and has regressed into nearly being an official bust. And the new offensive coordinator, who is neither an offensive coordinator in title nor in capability, is the worst playcaller in a league rife with terrible ones. Why haven’t you fired Matty Patricia yet, Coach Belichick? Why haven’t you sent his ass back to a rundown frat house in Amherst, where he belongs?
"I think we need to do what we're doing better. I don't think at this point making a lot of dramatic changes; it's too hard to do that."
You fucking SLOB. You lazy, chickenshit slob. Where’s the bloodless sociopath I grew to despise? You know, the guy who orders running backs executed for fumbles that the other team didn’t even recover? What happened to you, you old bag of dirt? Why don’t you fuck off to Nantucket and spend the rest of your life taking awkward Christmas card photos with your latest bottle blonde?
The case for: Won six Super Bowls and is the greatest coach in NFL history. But what have you done for me lately, William?
Fire this asshole? I suppose he deserves one more year to prove himself.
Will they actually fire him? Not if he fires himself first. I can picture Belichick calling himself into his own office on Black Monday, gruffly standing in front of a mirror without directly looking into it, and saying, “We’ve decided to go in another direction, and that’s that. Thanks for your time.”
The case against: I bet he smells funny.
The case for: This is exactly as relevant as I want the Falcons to be, so I say extend the man for another 40 years.
Fire this asshole? Yes.
Will they actually fire him? Every year there’s a “surprise” firing. Could this be one of them? No. But what about…
The case against: Huh? HUH?! AMIRITE? That’s a beard made for a shitty color guy.
The case for: Remember the Browns’ miracle (for them) 2020 season? No? I kinda don’t either, but still! I’m told it was quite the spectacle until The Chad Henne Factor came into play.
Fire this asshole? Honestly, I don’t think it’ll make a difference.
Will they actually fire him? Well look, someone in Cleveland has to take the blame for this lost season, and who better to point the finger at? What, you’re gonna blame Deshaun Watson? After all the adversity he’s had to endure? Shame on you. Kevin’s gone.
The case against: There’s actually a great case to be made for this snotty pile of discarded pubic hair trimmings. But that case falls apart in the second half of my argument.
The case for: He makes too much money for his bosses to fire him. The absolute dream. That’ll be me one day, you have my word. DREW BIG TO FAIL!
Fire this asshole? Yes.
Will they actually fire him? Mark Davis has already said he won’t fire McDaniels, and Mark Davis is the kind of invertebrate who’s too stupid to know what 4D chess even is, let alone play it.
The case against: Look man, this post is running too long. It’s clearly worn out its premise. I haven’t made any adjustments in the back half to fix it. I can’t settle on an editor to make it better. Oh sure, I can pretty this blog up with a nice turn of phrase in places, and I can valiantly defend it to the press when they dare to question it. In fact, the press’d probably let me get away with it. I mean, I almost died not long ago. People know how much I mean to the blog community. But this post will still be what it is now, won’t it?
Anyway, Ron Rivera is worthless.
The case for: Who else is gonna take this miserable job?
Fire this asshole? Yes.
Will they actually fire him? Nope. Why do you think I didn’t even bother to add Pete Carroll’s name to this little exercise, hmm? It wasn’t just because I’m lazy! It’s because we will never be rid of the bad coaches. Even when one is fired, another one will simply take their place, and then another, and then another. Bad coaching is an inevitability. An act of God, and not a kind one.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Eagles at Cowboys: Nate Burleson was the color guy on a game I watched last week (the play-by-play guy was Ian Eagle’s kid!), and he’s got potential. I like any color guy who violates the unspoken rule of booth etiquette by reacting to plays in real time, often while his broadcast partner is still talking. Tony Romo does this, letting out a HE’S OPEN as a pass is sailing through the air, groaning because he sees an interception about to happen, and letting out primal yelps of excitement on any big play. In other words, Romo watches football the way YOU watch football, and I find that refreshing. Burleson does the same shit. He’s not perfect by any means, but I wouldn’t complain if he ended up snatching Mark Schlereth’s job one day.
Commanders at Niners: A reminder: I’m out next week, with Will Sennett, aka Ohio Patrick Redford, on as guest host. So send Will all of the cheap beers and poop stories that he can handle. Given that he’s a Bengals fan, I wager he can handle a great deal of both.
Jaguars at Jets: This is tonight’s game, and it’s ALMOST watchable! Trevor Lawrence is finally a stud, and Zach Wilson is always a comedy goldmine waiting to happen. I’m gonna watch a whole half of this TNF showdown. I mean it!
Packers at Dolphins
Giants at Vikings
Seahawks at Chiefs
Lions at Panthers
Bills at Bears: Out of shape? I’ve got a tip for you: Stir some almond butter. I had to stir a fresh jar a week ago and my forearm is still complaining about it. You won’t complain when you’re huge and all the ladies wanna touch you, my sinewy friend.
Bucs at Cardinals
Raiders at Steelers
Bengals at Patriots
Falcons at Ravens
Chargers at Colts: The AFC South saw the NFC South hurtling into the gutter this whole season and cried out, “Hey man, that’s OUR thing!” So don’t be shocked if we end up with TWO losing teams winning their divisions this season. It's a copycat league, after all.
Texans at Titans
Saints at Browns
Broncos at Rams
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Here Comes The Black Ship,” by Asthma Castle! Hard to believe anything cool could come from Baltimore, but by God reader Kyle found something!
I just moved to Baltimore, which has a very respectable metal scene, and I became aware of a local bunch of heshers called Asthma Castle (an all-time great name). I'm partial to "Here Comes the Black Ship" but their whole shit rules.
He’s not lying. This is pro-grade thrash. I’m very, very impressed. You boys just earned a spot on my workout playlist. No bigger honor.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Mike sends in this story I call A POO-VABLE FEAST:
My wife made a wild rice blend (we live in MN, so this is seasonally common), the kind with the long, hard, black grains. We had a ton leftover so we used it to make lunch the next day as well. A cup of this stuff goes a long way, and she made two because I have one-year-old twins who can EAT. The next day, one of them had a BM that was as if she hadn't digested this stuff at all. It was textured, Drew.
Fast forward a couple of days, and I'm driving them to daycare. I start to smell something and I know immediately that one of them has had a poop. I get to daycare (it's an in-home with one teacher) and, as I'm doing the complicated dance of getting one twin out of the car and getting the other one out before the first one yeets herself into traffic, I let out a fart. Or I guess I didn't. With no warning or gut rumbles, I shit myself. This wasn't a shart, because I could already feel it on my cheeks.
I consider my options, including asking to use the bathroom at daycare and having to explain why I smell awful. But then I remember that the one twin has also shit herself. So we go in, and the first thing I say is that the twin has had a BM. I usually let the teacher know if they have had a BM yet, so I have to clarify that she has JUST had a BM. She can definitely smell it.
I get their shoes and jackets off and, without turning around or moving much at all, exit as fast as I can without seeming suspicious. I waddle back to the car (put my jacket on the carseat), and drive home with a wet ass. My five-year-old was home sick (not gastro-related) so I'm praying that the bathroom with our shower was free. Thank goodness it was. And thankfully I work from home now.
Well-executed, sir. I could never be that resourceful under pressure.
Which Idiot GM Is This?
You know your team is in good hands when the man in charge of the roster is a professionally sweaty guy who MEANS BUSINESS. Which team does the man below hold in his meaty paws?
Pour one out for now–former Cards GM Steve Keim, who looks like Jon Favreau after making another $2 billion at the box office. Keim took a leave of absence from the Cards a few weeks back, got roped into a scandal when rumors came out (can’t possibly think of who might have started them) that his O-line coach was mistaken for Keim when that coach was accused of groping and subsequently fired, and will now reportedly be let go entirely by Arizona once the season is over. What a sentence. That sequence of events unfolded like a Kliff Kingsbury third-down play design.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Buck Range Premium Light, with an emphasis on PREMIUM! From Mike:
When I saw a 12-pack of Buck Range for $4.75 at my local grocer, I lit up with delight. I bought four 12-packs and headed home expecting to be my roommates' hero. However, both the joy and dreams of apt God status were short lived. The taste is so bad that, at about forty cents a can, I feel like I was swindled.
Surely you knew what kind of bargain you were entering into, my dear friend. That is NOT the look of a truly premium beer. It looks exactly like what it’s gonna taste like. And how the fuck do you name your beer Buck Range and not package it in camo? There should be camo patterns and crosshairs all over that 12-pack. A real missed opportunity.
Gameday Movie Of The Week For Texans Fans
Top Gun: Maverick, which the National Board Of Review just named as their Best Picture of 2022. That’s for like, ALL movies, and not just Best Action Movie or Toothiest Grins. Maverick has also been a staple of nearly every year-end Top 10 movies list. Shit man, it might even win Best Picture at this rate, which makes me happy on a certain level. It’s a good movie, and Tom Cruise deserves to be honored, at some point, for being The World’s Most Committed (both meanings apply) Actor. But fuck, man. There’s gotta be more out there than this, doesn’t there? Hollywood has to produce at least a few excellent movies every year instead of just three.
But lemme get out of Mopetown and join the praise chorus for just a second. I liked Maverick because, instead of simply referencing the '80s like so many other movies lazily do, they went ahead and MADE it like an '80s movie. They embraced every last cliché. They hired Jon Hamm just to play the dickhead general who says to Cruise, “I think you’re outta line Maverick, but dammit I have no choice but to make you the No. 1 fighter pilot in the universe.” They hired Glen Powell to play the Cocky Pilot Who Makes A Predictable Face Turn At The End. They also hired Jennifer Connelly and actually USED her inherent, otherworldly glamour rather than downplay it. No one has done that with Jennifer Connelly since 1991. They made everyone in Maverick look like a million fucking dollars, which is what movies are supposed to do but Hollywood forgot that sometime around 1992. Movie stars should look the part, and fuck me does everyone in this movie look the part. Also, the only time that Maverick breaks away from being comfortably predictable is during its emotional climax, when it suddenly, and successfully, veers into screwball comedy. I liked all of that shit.
That’s probably why critics are falling all over themselves for Maverick: because it was made like an old movie, and there’s nothing critics love more than old-ass movies. I suppose I’m not all that different in that regard, if only because new movies are in a slump that would make even Victor Robles wince.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Kent, I'd like to remind everybody to come down and watch me at the Springfield Laff'N'Brew, and burgers and fries this Saturday. The forecast calls for a 75% chance of hilarity!”
“I like those odds.”
Enjoy the games, everyone. Merry Christmas!