Raheem Morris was fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the same day the St. Louis Rams dismissed Steve Spagnuolo and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay removed his vice chairman and general manager.
Irsay ousted Bill Polian and his son Chris Polian after the Colts ended the season with a 2-14 record, tied with the Rams for the worst in the National Football League.
“This season has been a tremendous disappointment,” Irsay said in a statement on the team’s website today. “It was time to make a change.”
The Colts will have first pick in this year’s NFL draft and may opt for Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck, who is projected by analysts to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Bill Polian joined the Colts in 1998 and Indianapolis took Peyton Manning as the top pick in that year’s draft, the last time Indianapolis had the first choice.
Manning has led the Colts to eight division titles, 11 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win after the 2006 season. The 35-year-old quarterback missed this season after undergoing neck surgery.
Morris, 35, was fired after a 4-12 season during which the Buccaneers lost their final 10 games and allowed an NFL-high 494 points. Morris was also the team’s defensive coordinator.
Morris had been hired in 2009 to replace Jon Gruden, who was fired after seven seasons, three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl championship. The Buccaneers were 3-13 in Morris’s first season and improved to 10-6 in 2010, the greatest single- season turnaround in franchise history.
Spagnuolo, 52, had a 10-38 record since joining St. Louis in January 2009. The Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003, when they went 12-4.
“No one individual is to blame for this disappointing season and we all must hold ourselves accountable,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. “However, we believe it’s in the best interest of the St. Louis Rams to make these changes.”
Morris and Spagnuolo are the first coaches dismissed since the NFL’s regular season ended yesterday. Three others -- Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins and Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs -- were released during the season.
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