So while many of you may think it's classless or tacky to wager on the future employment of other human beings, I say "BALDERDASH!" What you call tacky, I call a "business opportunity," so if I see value on the odds board for "first NFL head coach fired in 2021," then I am going to strike while the iron is hot.
Once the Texans moved practice indoors, I headed to my local tavern and wagered with the regulars on which cars would tempt fate in the flash floods. Quality afternoon activity. pic.twitter.com/yzRIZuaxgS— Sean Pendergast (@SeanTPendergast) August 17, 2021
The odds for said wager are below, and before you start thinking that it will only be a heavy favorite taking home this "crown," just remember that Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was the winning ticket in 2020, after an 0-4 start against one of the toughest opening schedules in recent history — at Kansas City, home versus Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, and home versus Minnesota.
Without further ado, here are this season's "first head coach fired" odds:
1st NFL Coach to be Fired during the 2021-2022 Regular SeasonOK, before we get into the most intriguing entries on this list, keep in mind, this is not a bet as to WHETHER OR NOT a head coach gets fired. It's who gets fired FIRST. So almost by definition, the schedule has to be conducive to early struggles, like O'Brien had in 2020. Here are four intriguing names:
Vic Fangio 5/1
Mike McCarthy 6/1
Kliff Kingsbury 15/2
Matt Nagy 15/2
Zac Taylor 17/2
Mike Zimmer 9/1
Jon Gruden 12/1
DAVID CULLEY 18/1
Mike Vrabel 20/1
Matt Rhule 22/1
Matt LaFleur 25/1
Mike Tomlin 25/1
Pete Carroll 25/1
Dan Campbell 28/1
Joe Judge 28/1
John Harbaugh 28/1
Ron Rivera 28/1
Sean McVay 28/1
Sean Payton 28/1
Brian Flores 33/1
Frank Reich 33/1
Kyle Shanahan 33/1
Arthur Smith 50/1
Brandon Staley 50/1
Nick Sirianni 50/1
Robert Saleh 50/1
Urban Meyer 50/1
Kevin Stefanski 100/1
Sean McDermott 100/1
Andy Reid 200/1
Bill Belichick 200/1
Bruce Arians 200/1
DAVID CULLEY, Houston Texans 18/1
EARLY SCHEDULE: vs JAC, @ CLV, @ CAR
Let's be very clear here. While I am certain I probably dismissed the thought of O'Brien being the winning play last year, this year I will dismiss Culley, and I willing to guarantee any donated organs you need to back that up. David Culley is not going to be the FIRST head coach fired, largely because the Texans' early schedule is somewhat manageable, with their two least difficult home games of the season happening in the first three weeks.
VIC FANGIO, Denver Broncos 5/1
EARLY SCHEDULE: @ NYG, @ JAC, vs NYJ
Fangio is the favorite on the board, and it does seem like he fits the profile of a head coach who is ripe to be fired. He has two lower level quarterbacks battling for the starting job, and an overall roster that is probably better than the eventual win total he will achieve. In other words, it will be very easy to paint this as a quick turnaround with the right head coach. That said, the Broncos could very well start the season 3-0, so it won't be Fangio.
KINGSBURY, Arizona Cardinals 15/2
EARLY SCHEDULE: @ TEN, vs MIN, @ JAC, @ LAR, vs SF, @ CLV
I was a little surprised to see Kingsbury this high on the board, only because there is no franchise to post .500 or below records in each of the last five seasons that gets more love than Arizona. Honestly, the DeAndre Hopkins trade and J.J. Watt signing bought them oodles of cachet, and that buzz may work against Kingsbury, who is 13-18-1 in two seasons as the head coach. They will likely be underdogs in four of their first six games. A 2-4 start might have the Cardinals looking to kickstart things with a Kingsbury firing.
MIKE ZIMMER, Minnesota Vikings 9/1
EARLY SCHEDULE: @ CIN, @ ARZ, vs SEA, vs CLV, vs DET
Actually, the loser of that Week 2 game between the Cardinals and the Vikings might settle into the pole position on this bet. The Vikings open with two road games, and then two home games in which they will likely be small underdogs. On top of that, their quarterback Kirk Cousins resistance to getting vaccinated is causing major rifts behind the scenes with this team. So give me the Vikings as the value play at 9/1!
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