Your Complete Guide to Black Monday

Firings make for new starts across the NFL

There are happier ways to start a new year than finding out you're unemployed, but the NFL schedule makes no concessions for the regular calender. 

The regular season ended on Sunday, which means that NFL teams spent Monday firing underperforming coaches and general managers. They call the day Black Monday and, given the fact that it is New Year's Eve, this one is a little bit blacker than most. 

We'll run through all the major changes here so that you can be sure to know which teams have decided to move in a different direction. We'll do it alphabetically, which means we start out in the desert. 

Arizona Cardinals: Ken Whisenhunt is the most successful coach the Cardinals have ever known, but that wasn't enough to save him after a season that saw the team start four different quarterbacks who were all guilty of being nowhere near good enough to be starters in the NFL. General manager Rod Graves also got the axe as as a result of being the man who handed Whisenhunt those quarterbacks in the first place. 

Buffalo Bills: The Bills gave Chan Gailey his walking papers after a third straight season of double digit losses, a move that's been met with happiness from Bills fans tired of watching Gailey muck around with an offense that needed a lot more C.J. Spiller. Surprisingly, general manager Buddy Nix did not get fired on Monday despite giving Ryan Fitzpatrick one of the worst contract extensions in recent memory.

Chicago Bears: Lovie Smith is done after nine years as the Bears' head coach, a move that seemed inevitable after they missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Bears players have not reacted well to the move, blaming it on "false fans" and the media instead of their own underachieving. 

Cleveland Browns: The writing was on the wall when the team was sold to Jimmy Haslam earlier this year and it came to pass on Sunday. Coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert are looking for new jobs, continuing the disappointing saga that is the Browns franchise since their re-entry to the league in 1999. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: General manager Gene Smith was axed after years of diminishing returns, including a bust of a first-round pick in quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Head coach Mike Mularkey hasn't been fired, but could get snipped once they have a new G.M. 

Kansas City Chiefs: General manager Scott Pioli somehow survived a 2-14 season while coach Romeo Crennel was told not to bother coming in for the rest of his life. Crennel is one of the best defensive coaches in the game, but he's now failed miserably twice as a head coach.

New York Jets: Rex Ryan survives to bloviate again while general manager Mike Tannenbaum couldn't do the same after a litany of failures that could be boiled down to a three-way quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy. Whoever gets the job next would be advised to try finding one guy who doesn't stink. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid's 14-year run as the leader of the Eagles ended as expected on Monday. Reid had a terrific run as the team's coach, something that might get lost in the wake of his miserable final year on the job. 

San Diego Chargers: When the season started, it seemed clear that a losing year for the Chargers would cost coach Norv Turner and G.M. A.J. Smith their jobs. The Chargers had a losing year and both guys are now looking for work. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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