Reid, Smith Are Among Seven NFL Coaches Fired as Jets Keep Ryan

Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles and Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears were among seven of the National Football League’s 32 head coaches to get fired a day after the conclusion of the regular season.

Mike Tannenbaum of the New York Jets was among five general managers who lost their jobs yesterday.

The San Diego Chargers fired coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith; the Arizona Cardinals released coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves; the Cleveland Browns parted with GM Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur; Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey both were let go; and the Jacksonville Jaguars dismissed GM Gene Smith.

Last season, seven coaches lost their jobs, though not in the same day. Three were fired during the season, two the day after it ended and two more in the ensuing weeks.

Rex Ryan will remain the Jets’ coach in 2013, team owner Woody Johnson said, a day after New York completed a 6-10 season with a 28-9 loss to the Bills. Johnson said he’ll begin an immediate search to replace the 43-year-old Tannenbaum, who had been the team’s general manager since 2006 after working as assistant GM beginning in 2001.

“Mike devoted 15 years of service to the Jets, and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication,” Johnson said. “Although he helped guide us to two consecutive AFC championship games, we are not where we want to be and a new general manager will be critical to getting this team back on the right track.”

The Jets reached the playoffs three times and never won a division title in Tannenbaum’s seven years overseeing personnel. Their regular-season record was 57-55 during that span.

Reid Fired

Reid, whose 14-year run with Philadelphia was the longest of any active coach in the NFL, was let go after the Eagles finished the season 4-12, capped by a 42-7 loss to the New York Giants two days ago. He steps down with a 130-93-1 record.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie spoke to the franchise staff yesterday, giving Reid a game ball to commemorate his role as the coach with the most victories in team history. After applause, Reid said his tenure was “the greatest 14 years of my life.”

“Sometimes change is good and I know Jeffrey does nothing that isn’t best for the organization, so I know that the next guy that comes in will be phenomenal,” Reid said. “The ultimate goal is the Super Bowl. Everybody in this room, I wish you a big ring on that finger in the near the future.”

The 54-year-old Reid led the Eagles to successive National Football Conference championships from the 2001 to 2004 seasons, and again after the 2008 campaign. Philadelphia beat the Atlanta Falcons to reach the February 2005 Super Bowl, falling 24-21 to the New England Patriots.

Bears’ Move

Lovie Smith had been the Bears’ coach since 2004, leading the team to three division titles, a Super Bowl appearance after the 2006 season and an 81-63 record.

Chicago began the season 7-1 and finished at 10-6. The Bears beat the Detroit Lions 26-24 two days ago and would have qualified for the playoffs had the Minnesota Vikings not topped the Green Bay Packers.

The firing of the Chargers’ Turner and Smith following a 7-9 season was announced by team President Dean Spanos.

“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning,” Spanos said in a statement. “My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions.”

Chargers’ Season

Turner, 60, went 56-40 in six years leading the Chargers, who missed the playoffs the last three seasons after going 13-3 in 2009. San Diego lost to the New England Patriots in the conference championship game during his first season. Smith had been the team’s GM since 2003.

Whisenhunt, 50, departs Arizona with a 45-51 record in six years with the team. His tenure included the Cardinals’ first Super Bowl appearance, a 27-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2008 season.

Arizona won its first four games this season and then dropped 11 of its final 12, finishing 5-11 with a defeat two days ago to the San Francisco 49ers. It was the third straight year the Cardinals failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Graves led the Cardinals’ personnel department since 2003 and was with the team for 16 years.

The Browns, who finished the season with a 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to fall to 5-11, were 9-23 in two years under the 47-year-old Shurmur. Heckert had been Cleveland’s GM since 2010 and the team hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2002 season.

“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” Jimmy Haslam, who became majority owner of the Browns in October, said in a statement.

Full Season

Crennel, 65, went 2-14 with the Chiefs in his only full season leading the team after going 2-1 on an interim basis in 2011.

Clark Hunt, the Chiefs’ chairman, said today that “no final determination has been made” on keeping GM Scott Pioli.

“I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction,” Hunt said in a statement. “The entire football operation will remain under review.”

Crennel was 24-40 with the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2008.

The 60-year-old Gailey, whose staff also was let go, led the team to successive 6-10 finishes after 4-12 in his first season. Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs since the 1999 season.

“This will be the first place that’s ever fired me that I’ll pull for,” Gailey, who coached the Dallas Cowboys in 1998-99, assisted on several other NFL teams and was a college coach, said in a statement. “We didn’t get the job done.”

Contract Honored

The Jaguars will honor the two years left on the contract of Smith, who had been the team’s GM for the past four seasons.

Jacksonville tied the Kansas City Chiefs for the NFL’s worst record at 2-14, scored the fewest points (15.9) per game and had the league’s lowest average rushing yards of 85.6 per game. It was the team’s worst record since the franchise began in 1996.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said in a statement that the team “simply must do better for our fans.”

“Now it is time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to begin a new chapter,” Khan, who assumed control of the team a year ago, said in in a statement. “We’re not looking back. I’ve made it clear from Day 1 that we pledge nothing less than to deliver the first Super Bowl championship to Jacksonville.”

A day after the 2011 regular season ended the St. Louis Rams’ Steve Spagnuolo and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raheem Morris were fired. The Indianapolis Colts later released Jim Caldwell and Oakland Raiders parted with Hue Jackson, while the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio, the Miami Dolphins’ Tony Sparano and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Todd Haley were fired during the season.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net; Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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