Sean Pendergast

Who Will Be the First NFL Head Coach Fired in 2022?

Lovie Smith is way down the list of coaches to be the first fired in 2022.
Lovie Smith is way down the list of coaches to be the first fired in 2022. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The internet is the best (and worst) place for a lot of reasons, but one of the most obvious is the fact that you can gamble on almost anything from anywhere, and one of the underrated things upon which to wager is the employment of other human beings. Yes, it's summertime in the NFL, a bit fo dead period, but training camp will be here soon, so it's time to determine which had coach is going to get canned first!

Courtesy of, here are the current odds on which NFL head coach will be the first to get fired OR resign, a designation added after last season when Jon Gruden was the first coach to vacate his job, but he wasn't fired — officially, he resigned:

Next NFL Coach Fired/Resign:
Matt Rhule 3/1
Mike McCarthy 5/1
Pete Carroll 6/1
Frank Reich 7/1
Ron Rivera 8/1
Dan Campbell 10/1
Kevin Stefanski 10/1
Kliff Kingsbury 12/1
Mike Vrabel 12/1
Arthur Smith 14/1
Robert Saleh 14/1
John Harbaugh 16/1
Mike Tomlin 16/1
Nick Sirianni 25/1
Kyle Shanahan 33/1
Bill Belichick 50/1
Lovie Smith 50/1
Todd Bowles 50/1
Brandon Staley 66/1
Brian Daboll 66/1
Dennis Allen 66/1
Doug Pederson 66/1
Kevin O'Connell 66/1
Matt Eberflus 66/1
Mike McDaniel 66/1
Nathaniel Hackett 66/1
Zac Taylor 66/1
Matt Lafleur 80/1
Andy Reid 100/1
Josh McDaniels 100/1
Sean McDermott 100/1
Sean McVay 100/1
OK, a few relevant thoughts here on these odds:

Lovie Smith is 50/1 to be the first head coach fired, and honestly they should just make it 5,000/1
Last summer at this time, David Culley was hovering around the fringe of the upper third of the odds board at 16 to 1, and that made sense. He'd never been a head coach before, and he was overseeing the worst team in the league, a team with a quarterback who didn't want to be there and was getting sued by 22 women. Implosion seemed somewhat likely. Culley ultimately WAS fired, but it was after the season. Lovie Smith seems to be on much more firm ground at 50 to 1. The fact of the matter is that Lovie Smith's odds could be 5,000 to 1. There is ZERO chance that Lovie Smith is the first head coach fired, or even gets fired at all in 2022. There is no way the Texans want to go "one and done" two years in a row.

Bill Belichick is 50/1, which is noteworthy, as well
More noteworthy at the same 50 to 1 odds as Smith, New England head coach Bill Belichick has skyrocketed up the board from an understood "no chance" wager to "firmly intriguing." To be clear, it's highly likely that Belichick is the one who decides when Belichick is done coaching, but the last time his odds on being the first head coach fired in a given season were anything shorter than 100 to 1 was probably when Tom Brady was still on his rookie contract.

You know who was 50/1 last season? URBAN MEYER!
While we are on head coaches whose odds are 50 to 1, the winning ticket on this wager last season actually came from Jacksonville's Urban Meyer, who was, in June of last year ...  wait for it ...  50 TO 1! IN fact, the last two winners both came from the AFC South, as the first head coach fired in 2020 was our very own Bill O'Brien, whose preseason odds for "first head coach fired" were around 20 to 1. The lesson in the last couple years is that the winning ticket probably gets punched by somebody further down the board than the odds-on favorites.

So who is a decent "long shot" on the board?
Well, if we try to use last season as some sort of template, that's difficult to do, as I don't think we can really identify a coach like Meyer, who will completely embarrass his employer with off the field idiocy like groping a young woman (who is NOT his wife) on camera in Ohio, while his team is back in Florida. That said, if I were to throw a sawbuck down on a coach whose odds are longer than, say, 20 to 1, let's go with Dennis Allen of New Orleans (66 to 1). Expectations are high in New Orleans, despite having Jameis Winston as their quarterback, and the Saints are a team that is ripe for regression as the roster ages with no Sean Payton and two years removed from Drew Brees.

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 the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast