From a gambling standpoint, we live in a truly glorious age, with the ability to place bets online (sorry, government, it's true) and with television networks now acknowledging the fact that wagering does exist en masse. These are tremendous developments! The end result has been smarter, more insightful coverage of these events, and by God, a whole lotta fun!
That said, I'm not sure how I feel on the fact that we can wager on the actual employment of other human beings. Depending on your point of view, it's probably either the most unsavory or the most truly real form of wagering, with no in between. Given that the employment we're talking about here (in this case, NFL head coaches) pays a seven figure annual salary, and that this type of scrutiny tends to come with the territory, I tend to lean more towards "truly real" than "unsavory"….which explains why I'm giving you several hundred words on the latest odds for which NFL head coach will be the first to get fired in 2015!
We than the good folks at Bookmaker.eu for these odds. My analysis is down below:
1 Jay Gruden,Washington +250
2 Mike Pettine, Cleveland +550
3 Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee +750
4 Jim Tomsula, San Francisco +1200
5 Joe Philbin, Miami +1500
5 Sean Payton, New Orleans +1500
7 Gus Bradley, Jacksonville +1800
8 Chip Kelly, Philadelphia +2000
8 Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay +2000
10 Jeff Fisher, St. Louis +2500
10 Jim Caldwell. Detroit +2500
12 Marvin Lewis. Cincinnati +2700
13 Mike Zimmer, Minnesota +3000
13 Bill O'Brien, Houston +3000
15 Tom Coughlin, New York Giants +3300
16 Jack Del Rio, Oakland +3500
16 John Fox Chicago, +3500
16 Andy Reid Kansas City +3500
16 Ron Rivera Carolina, +3500
20 Todd Bowles, New York Jets +4000
20 Mike McCoy, San Diego +4000
22 Rex Ryan, Buffalo +4500
22 Dan Quinn, Atlanta +4500
24 Jason Garrett, Dallas +5000
25 Gary Kubiak, Denver +6000
26 Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh +7500
27 Bruce Arians, Arizona +10000
27 John Harbaugh, Baltimore +10000
29 Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis +15000
29 Mike McCarthy, Green Bay +15000
31 Pete Carroll, Seattle +25000
31 Bill Belichick, New England +25000
A few thoughts on these odds:
1. JAY GRUDEN
Coming off a 4-12 season in which the "brains" behind the Cincinnati Bengals' offense the previous three seasons did nothing to cure the ills of the Redskins' anemic bunch (nor fix Robert Griffin III in any discernible way), Gruden was already on the short list to be at the top of this big board. However, he locked up the top spot after this flimsy, wussy quote after the fights between the Redskins and Texans at joint practice last weekend:
“I do wish we had that practice. We had some red zone, some two-minute, some great situational work we were going to do today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done. I think three days in a row is probably too much. These guys get a little...The third day in shorts, there is no way they can really fight ’cause there is no contact...I know [the opponents] are sick about what happened today, as we are, but that happened and we just have got to move on.”
You suck, Gruden.
2. MIKE PETTINE
I don't feel bad for Mike Pettine because he's a bad football coach. (I think there's a decent chance that he's a good football coach.) I feel bad for Mike Pettine because he's a bad evaluator of available jobs. I think to take a job like the Cleveland job as a first time head coach, you have to be perfectly okay with getting fired on a moment's notice by an owner who is clearly a kook, who runs an organization that is so cursed with disaster that their stadium should be built in the shape of the Brady Bunch tiki statue.
3. JIM TOMSULA
Damn, for Tomsula it's probably a race to see what happens first — his firing or all of his players quitting. All you need to know about the Jim Tomsula Era we learned on the day he was introduced to replace Jim Harbaugh as head coach:
An earthquake would be a smaller disaster right now in San Francisco than Jim Tomsula's promotion to head coach.
4. JOE PHILBIN
As uninspiring as Philbin is as a person (and make no mistake, he is the coaching equivalent of porridge), there is zero chance he will be the first head coach fired. Not when the first five games for the Dolphins go like this: @ Redskins, @ Jaguars, vs Bills, vs Jets, @ Titans. If Philbin goes anything less than 4-1 against that slate, he should be fired. (And now that I rethink it, maybe I should be putting a grand down on ol' Philby.)
5. MARVIN LEWIS
People, he is never getting fired. EVER. Just so you know.
6. TEFLON COACHES
These coaches could go 0-16 (with two middle fingers pointed at the entire stadium for the final month of the season) and still keep their jobs. (In other words, a total waste of money to wager on them.): Belichick, Carroll, Harbaugh, Arians, Tomlin, Kubiak, Garrett (I will assume until he gets fired that he's never getting fired), Rex Ryan (there's an outside chance he would coach a whole month with both middle fingers raised, by the way), and O'Brien (Texans termination policies being that they are and all).
7. IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING….
….here's what last season's odds board for "first coach fired" looked like at this time (end result of the season for that coach in parentheses, winning bet in BOLD):
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Jason Garrett, Dallas +200 (Signed 5-year contract extension)
Dennis Allen, Oakland +400 (FIRED first)
Joe Philbin, Miami +700 (Contract extended by one more year to 2016)
Doug Marrone, Buffalo +800 ("Opted out" of contract with Buffalo)
Rex Ryan, Jets +1000 (FIRED)
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville +1200 (Didn't finish last in the AFC South!)
Mike Smith, Atlanta +1200 (FIRED)
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati +2000 (Made playoffs, lost in first round)
Ron Rivera, Carolina +2000 (Made playoffs, lost in divisional round)
Tom Coughlin, NY Giants +2500 (How did he not get fired?)
Jeff Fisher, St. Louis +2500 (Coached a 4th consecutive losing season as head coach but wasn't fired)
Marc Trestman, Chicago +3300 (FIRED)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh +3300 (Made playoffs)
My selection for this season? I'll go with Tomsula at +1200 and the beginning of a total teardown in San Francisco.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.