Sean Pendergast

David Culley Among Leaders In Odds For First NFL Head Coach Fired

David Culley is among the leaders on the odds board to be the first head coach fired.
David Culley is among the leaders on the odds board to be the first head coach fired. Screen grab from YouTube
As many of you who read my work here know, I love to wager. I mean, like REALLY love it. I'll play some table games at a casino. I'll lay some money down on a five game parlay. Hell, earlier this week I bet some fellow patrons at a local bar on whether or not cars would drive into a flooded Sackett Street near River Oaks. True story....

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.

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 Season
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
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
OK, 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:

DAVID CULLEY, Houston Texans 18/1
: 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
 @ 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
 @ 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
 @ 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!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast