NFL
May 24, 2021

Predicting the 5 NFL Coaches Who Will Be Fired By End of 2021 Season

There aren’t a lot of guarantees when it comes to the NFL, but the one thing we know for sure is that after the season there will be a lot of head coaches who find themselves out of a job.

And there’s no reason to expect the 2021 season to be any different. It seems like there is at least a handful of coach firings after every season. In fact, there are seven teams with a new head coach in 2021, and who’s to say there won’t be just as many next year. I

t’s not hard to pick out the coaches who enter the 2021 season on the hot seat, but there are also others who will work their way onto the hot seat during the season.

With many potential candidates, we’d like to share our predictions for the five coaches who will get axed by the end of the 2021 NFL season.

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

To his credit, Matt Nagy has made the playoffs in two of his three seasons in Chicago. But he’s also finished 8-8 in back-to-back years and is winless in the playoffs.

The magical 12-4 season in 2018 when the Bears won the NFC North is becoming a distant memory and he might need to lead Chicago to another division title to keep his job. That won’t be easy with Aaron Rodgers still in Green Bay (for now) while the Vikings are more or less on equal footing with the Bears.

Nagy’s problem is that if Justin Fields isn’t ready right away, he’ll have to find a way to win with either Andy Dalton or Nick Foles. The good news is that the Bears still have a strong defense that can help. But Chicago is still lacking in an abundance of quality skill players on offense.

Unless Nagy can work his magic with Fields from the start, the Bears are likely to fall short of expectations, costing Nagy his job and putting even more pressure on Fields to succeed early on. 

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals 

Outside of Nagy, there might not be a coach on a hotter seat than Kliff Kingsbury. 

After loading up on talent last offseason, the Cardinals disappointed in 2020, finishing 8-8 while missing the playoffs. That didn't stop Arizona from beefing up their roster this offseason, which puts an even bright spotlight on Kingsbury. 

The Cards play in arguably the toughest division in the league, which makes their road to the playoffs a lot tougher, but Kingsbury is running out of excuses in the desert. 

If the Cardinals fail to make the playoffs again, and Kingsbury doesn't improve his lackluster game management and playcalling, then the former Texas Tech coach could be looking for a new job — perhaps back in the NCAA. 

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

The inconsistency for the Vikings under Mike Zimmer must be frustrating at this point. Minnesota has reached the playoffs three times in his seven seasons but never two years in a row. Based on that pattern, the Vikings should reach the playoffs this season. But if that doesn’t happen coming off a 7-9 record in 2020, Zimmer could get the pink slip.

To be fair, Zimmer isn’t exactly working with a roster that should win the Super Bowl. But the Vikings are good enough to be a contender in the NFC North and at least get back to the playoffs. Given the depth throughout the NFC, that will be difficult.

If Zimmer fails to get Minnesota to the playoffs for the second straight season, the franchise may not have the patience to give him another year to get things back on track.

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

Even if the Bengals can take another step forward this season, Zac Taylor’s record during his first two seasons is going to work against him. Cincinnati is 6-25-1 over the last two years. Even a solid 8-9 season would put Taylor 20 games under .500. It’s tough to keep one’s job with a record like that.

Taylor will almost surely need to get the Bengals to the playoffs to save his job. That won’t be easy with the other three teams in the AFC North all making the playoffs last year.

The Bengals are still at the bottom of the pecking order in the division and they haven’t made enough progress to think they can make a serious playoff push. Unless Joe Burrow really takes off under Taylor’s tutelage, the Bengals will likely move in another direction.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

Vic Fangio waited so long to become a head coach but his fate likely rests on whether the Broncos can find a way to get Aaron Rodgers and suddenly become a playoff contender. Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock just aren’t going to be enough to make Denver a playoff team, even if Fangio can get a better effort out of his team’s defense, which is possible with Von Miller back from injury.

Coming off a 5-11 season and with a 12-20 record over his first two seasons, Fangio is clearly on thin ice. Even if the Broncos can improve their win total by two or three games, it doesn’t signal anything promising.

In all likelihood, the Broncos will realize how foolish it was to hire an older, defensive-minded head coach, sending Fangio packing after the 2021 season.

Photo: Getty Images