To say that the Minnesota Vikings are having a rough year is an understatement. To say that head coach Brad Childress is a “wanted” man is complete honesty. One need only look at the polls to see that his actions this season are causing a boatload of remorse amongst fans (startribune.com). The Brett Favre scandal has brought negative attention to the team. Now, news of Childress waiving Randy Moss – only weeks after trading a third-round draft pick for him – has raised concerns over the future of the head coach (sports.espn). Childress joins three other NFL coaches who have seen troubled days.
Bobby Petrino – Atlanta Falcons
It has been three years since Petrino’s infamous, and immediate, exit from the NFL to rejoin college football, but it’s a memory that longtime Falcons fans will not soon forget. Of course, the move that Petrino made coincided with the conviction of star quarterback Michael Vick for his illegal dog-fighting operation (sports.espn). With the loss of Vick, and the downhill slide of the team’s performance as a result, it seems that Petrino couldn’t stand to stick around for the rest of the season. So, in an abrupt move after only 13 games, he left the team to join the Arkansas Razorbacks, offering no explanation other than a note in each player’s locker stall.
Bill Belichick – New England Patriots
The phrase “spygate scandal” is synonymous with coach Bill Belichick. This is another situation that occurred a few years ago, but it left a sour taste in the mouths of the NFL franchise. Belichick was caught and charged with spying via videotaping the signals made by opposing teams during play. A total of six video tapes were confiscated and destroyed dating to the 2006 season, and it is unknown how many other tapes may have been made over Belichick’s time with the Pats (boston.com). The coach was personally fined $500,000, while the team received a penalty of not only $250,000 but also the loss of their first-round draft pick. The spying has caused many fans to wonder about the previous successes of the Patriots while under Belichick’s lead. Did they cheat, or were they just that good?
Jimmy Johnson – Miami Dolphins
Now there is nothing in particular that makes one think ill of Jimmy (other than perhaps his latest stint on Survivor Nicaragua), but after much success with the Dallas Cowboys, the head coach of the Dolphins had a rough time toward the end of his career in Miami a decade ago. It is widely known that Johnson and quarterback Dan Marino did not have the best relationship. As is often said, there were “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” Johnson had even quit during one season, but Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga convinced him to stay (sportsillustrated.com). When Marino returned from surgery during the final season of his career, Johnson reportedly threatened to bench him, but it never happened. Maybe it should have happened, as Johnson felt that Marino’s backup, Damon Huard, made the team stronger. In the end, the final straw for both Marino and Johnson was the humiliating loss suffered to the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC playoffs, after which both men announced their respective retirements.
With the above examples of coaches who have seen dark days, it is hard to determine what will become of Brad Childress. Perhaps he will quit under the pressure. Maybe he will be fired. Or, despite all of the bad press, Childress could go on to become the coach of the year, like Belichick did in 2007! But, I highly doubt it.
Michael Rand, “The “Should Brad Childress be fired?” poll question not looking good for Childress”, Star Tribune
“Vikings decide to waive Randy Moss”, Sports.espn
“Petrino resigns Falcons post after 13 games, goes to Arkansas”, Sports. espn
“Spygate: the pats’ videotaping scandal”, Boston.com
Jack McCallum, “The End. Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson bowed out after a humiliating loss to the Jaguars. Can Dan Marino be far behind?”, Sports Ilustrated