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Update – Which NFL Head Coach Will Be Fired First in 2021?

Scott Morris | October 15, 2021
Urban Meyer firing odds

In the summer long before the start of the 2021 NFL season, a handful of coaches were among the favorites to be fired first. One of those coaches was Dallas Cowboys mentor Mike McCarthy. After a 4-1 start with what is the best offense in the NFL, McCarthy isn’t going anywhere…except taking the Cowboys to the playoffs.

Two other coaches were in that early mix of favorites to be fired. Denver’s Vic Fangio had a tough 2020, but started the 2021 season 3-0. Denver is currently 3-2, but Fangio’s odds to be canned, +750, are a little longer now at +900. Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor initial odds of +1200 are now at +3300 at top sportsbooks thanks to a 3-2 start by the Bengals. 

And then, of course, there is the whole Jon Gruden fiasco. Gruden resigned as the Raiders head coach, so the door is still open. Which NFL head coach will be fired first?


The Gruden Thing

The biggest story of the latest news cycle was Gruden’s email history that led to his resignation. Gruden actually made the initial list of sleeper candidates to be fired first. Gruden’s record with the Raiders was a so-so 57-55 with no trips to the playoffs.   

After the Raiders started 3-0, they dropped a tough one to the Chargers. Then came the reports of Gruden’s emails and the Raiders lost a game they probably shouldn’t have to the Bears. At +1000 back in the summer, it would have been a nice payout had Gruden actually been fired. Odds on next Raiders Head Coaching hire here


Urban Meyer – From Bad to Worse

Before the 2021 season started, it was assumed (you know what happens when you do that) that first-year head coaches like Robert Saleh of the Jets and Dan Campbell of the Lions would get a pass if their initial season didn’t go all that well. It takes a good year or two to build a winner. Kyle Shanahan went 6-10 and 4-12 before leading his San Francisco 49ers to a 13-3 season, an NFC West title, and a trip to the Super Bowl.

In Jacksonville, the Jaguars and their fans were excited by the hiring of former college national championship coach Urban Meyer taking over. Meyer had a way with team development. He was a strong developer of quarterbacks, especially those built for the spread offense. After drafting former Clemson star Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, Meyer was going to be the Jags’ savior.

Then, the Jags started 0-4. The fourth loss came in Meyer’s home state of Ohio to the Cincinnati Bengals. After the game, Meyer ended on video groping a much younger woman who was not his wife. Ouch! 

It was more of the same ineptitude in Week 5 as Jacksonville allowed Derrick Henry to run wild and lost to Tennessee 37-19. After trailing 7-6 in the first quarter, the Jags were never in the game again. As a result of the 0-5 start and his off-the-field shenanigans, Meyer is now the favorite to get the axe first at +100.

~ Live NFL Odds Here ~

Value Picks

The Jags haven’t pulled the plug on Meyer just yet, which leaves a couple of value picks out there in the market. The two best both hail from the same division – the NFC North. Chicago’s Matt Nagy was among the favorites back before the season started. Despite the Bears’ 3-2 start, Nagy is still among the favorites with +250 odds to go first. It’s been all downhill since Nagy’s first season when Chicago went 12-4 and won the division. The Bears are the worst offense in the NFL right now and while rookie QB Justin Fields is playing okay, the offense is still a train wreck. To make matters worse, here’s the Bears next five games – Green Bay, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.

The other value pick is Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer. The Vikings have done fine during Zimmer’s tenure, but they have never gotten over the hump. Minnesota is now 2-3 after a last-second field goal beat winless Detroit. The Vikings next six games will likely determine Zimmer’s future. Minnesota plays Carolina, Dallas, Baltimore, the Chargers, Green Bay, and San Francisco. Oh, and only two of those games (Dallas and Green Bay) are at home. That’s why bettors might want to jump on Zimmer at +1200 to be the first NFL head coach fired in 2021.


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