Over the past two days, three now-former head coaches were once again a reminder that the National Football League is a performance-based business for everyone involved.
Succeed and keep your job, fail and look for a new one.
This constant coaching carousel has left six teams with coaching vacancies.
Two teams that won’t be making changes at the head coaching position, though, are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite finishing 4-12 and dead last in the NFC East, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett’s job is safe.
Since taking over as head coach midway through the 2010 season Dallas has played to a 45-43 record and has only twice finished better than third place in the division. The Cowboys’ best season under Garrett was last year when Dallas went 12-4 during the regular season, won the NFC East and lost on a questionable call in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
2015 was a different story, though.
Dallas won each of its first two games of the season, opening with a win at home against the Giants and then the next week on the road against the Eagles. The Cowboys went an abysmal 2-12 over the rest of the season, good enough for the fourth pick in the upcoming draft.
Even though this was the worst finish in over a decade for the silver and blue, Garrett will return for 2016.
Not even the Cowboys sometimes-questionable owner Jerry Jones can argue that Dallas would’ve had a much better season had quarterback Tony Romo and wide out Dez Bryant been healthy all of, or even for a majority of, the season.
Not only that, but the head coach also has what I like to call “Jerry points” since Garrett was once under center as QB in Dallas.
Another coach that will be back in 2016 is Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.
Some may find it odd that a head coach who has taken his team to five-straight trips to the postseason constantly finds his job in some speculation at the end of the season, but it makes sense.
In nine of Lewis’ 13 years at the helm, Cincinnati has finished at or above .500, and seven times he has led his team to the postseason. But not once have the Bengals made it past Wild Card weekend.
Twice during Lewis’ tenure the Bengals lost to the Texans in the AFC Wild Card games, and in 2005 his team lost to division-rival Pittsburgh, the same franchise that Lewis and company will play Saturday night in the Wild Card round.
And despite being the number three seed in the AFC, and the Steelers needing help to get into the playoffs, the Bengals go into Saturday’s game as a three-point underdog at home.
Franchise quarterback Andy Dalton sat out each of the past three weeks due to a broken thumb he sustained the last time Cincinnati played against Pittsburgh, and his status for Saturday’s game doesn’t look promising. However, it should be noted that Lewis didn’t give any further insight to Dalton’s status during his Monday press conference.
And even though it seems that the constant inability to win in the playoffs by Lewis-led Bengals teams has gotten old – and somewhat predictable – Dalton’s injury gives his head coach another 16 games with a Bengals headset on.
If Cincinnati does indeed lose to its AFC North rival Saturday, Lewis has the “get out of jail free card” that Dalton was injured and that’s why his team lost yet again in the postseason.
So even though Lewis and Garrett have underachieved in one way or another during their respective tenures as head coach, you will see both both of these coaches leading their current football team onto the field when the 2016 season starts in August.