NFL Coach Hot Seat Thermometer: Post-Week 7 Edition

An NFL coach’s job security can seemingly change drastically week to week. Whether it’s so-called analysts calling for a coach’s head after a brutal loss, or if it’s the coach himself saying he deserves to be fired, the thermometer of a coach’s seat is always changing.

Naturally, though, some coaches are closer to being fired than others. If a coach loses one bad game, it seems unlikely that he would be fired compared to the chances that a coach who starts a season 0-8 could get the boot. But there’s no real way to know how close a coach truly is to being fired.

Until now.

I have devised a formula so complex and detailed that can measure the exact temperature of a coach’s seat, per the common phrase that a coach is on the “hot seat.”

Alright, so no, this formula is not real. These measurements are purely for entertainment purposes and to poke fun at the national analysts who constantly overreact to one game, only to change their minds completely the next week.

There are, however, a few rules that I will enact for my Hot Seat CalculatorTM (not actually trademarked).

  1. The scale is from 50 to 212 degrees. A coach whose seat is 50 degrees means he is not at all in danger of losing his job. Essentially, his seat is room temperature. The hottest is 212 degrees because that’s the temperature in Fahrenheit in which water boils. Technically it should be whatever temperature the surface of the seat boils, but who really cares that much?
  2. If a coach reaches 100 degrees, he is officially on the hot seat. I imagine sitting on a seat that is 100 degrees feels pretty hot, so this seems like a good estimate. Plus, I like even numbers.
  3. If a coach reaches 150+ degrees, a team should seriously consider firing the coach. Doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, but he’s on track to be fired.
  4. If a coach reaches 212 degrees, he needs to be fired immediately. No waiting around. In theory a coach could spend multiple weeks with a seat temperature that’s this hot, but I assume since all NFL executives will be reading this, they’ll have no choice but to fire the coach if I deem it necessary.
  5. A coach who just won the Super Bowl cannot be on the hot seat in the next season. After one full season prior to a Super Bowl win, all bets are off.
  6. A coach who is in his first season as a head coach in the NFL cannot surpass 100 degrees. I fully believe that a rookie head coach should never be judged based on his first season. However, a veteran head coach in his first year coaching a different team can indeed suffer from the full range of seat temperatures.
  7. The only exception to any of the rules is if a coach goes 0-16. If you win zero games in a season, you’re done.

These rules will be a work in progress as this scientific experiment plays out. Below are my assessments of each coach’s seat temperature based on their history as a coach, their unique set of circumstances, and their performance in 2018 up through Week 7. Most importantly, don’t take any of this too seriously. This is purely satirical and mostly illogical.

Arizona Cardinals: Steve Wilks

Temperature: 80 degrees

Explanation: Wilks has had a rough start to his coaching career, going 1-6 and just suffering through a 45-10 bludgeoning by the Broncos, who are dealing with their own set of question marks. Starting Sam Bradford for a few games only to immediately move him to third string was a strange move. He’s already more than halfway to the hot seat.

Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn

Temperature: 60 degrees

Explanation: Even though the Falcons have struggled a bit this year at just 3-4, they’re now coming off back-to-back wins and still look like a semi-competent team. Quinn isn’t completely immune to the heat, but he’s obviously not in danger of losing his job right now.

Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh

Temperature: 65 degrees

Explanation: The Ravens generally run their organization the right way, but how long is that 2012 Super Bowl win going to guarantee safety for Harbaugh? He’s only had one losing season in his 10 full seasons with the team, but they also haven’t been to the playoffs since 2014. Also, a loss to the Browns in which they scored no touchdowns was enough to boost his temperature by a few degrees.

Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott

Temperature: 90 degrees

Explanation: McDermott seems like he only wants former Panthers players from when he was their defensive coordinator, even if that means suffering brutal defeats to other horrible teams (see this week, in which he started former Carolina backup Derek Anderson, who hadn’t won a game in the NFL since 2014). Needless to say, he threw three picks and they lost to the Colts by 32. McDermott is dangerously close to being on the hot seat.

Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: Rivera’s seat is pretty chilly. The team had a disappointing 2016 campaign in which they went 6-10, but he bounced back with an 11-5 season last year and is off to a 4-2 start. He doesn’t have anything to worry about. Yet.

Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy

Temperature: 55 degrees

Explanation: The Bears don’t have any real impressive wins (Seahawks, Cardinals, Bucs), but they also had some devastating losses, including the Week 1 blown lead against an injured Aaron Rodgers. That game alone probably bumped up Nagy’s seat temperature, but he’s looked pretty solid so far this year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis

Temperature: 90 degrees

Explanation: Lewis is really playing with fire here. His team is now 4-3 after coming off back-to-back losses, including a 45-10 beatdown against the Chiefs that seemed to be over before it started. Lewis honestly should’ve been fired decades ago, but his long tenure with the team has apparently made him invincible. You’d think zero playoff wins in 15 seasons would be enough to fire a guy, but the Bengals seem to play by different rules. He might as well take a seat on the sun until he wins something meaningful.

Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson

Temperature: 80 degrees

Explanation: Jackson obviously should’ve been fired last year after losing all 16 games, a feat that has only been accomplished one other time in league history. The fact that his team has three non-losses is enough to turn down the heat a little, but the fact that he started Tyrod Taylor over Baker Mayfield for three games was baffling. It shouldn’t have taken an injury to get Mayfield in the game. Jackson is an idiot.

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett

Temperature: 85 degrees

Explanation: You’d think coaching “America’s team” would mean the pressure is much stronger for a coach. Garrett only has two playoff appearances (and one win) in seven full seasons as the Dallas coach. He’s 3-4 this year. He was my pick to be the surprise mid-season firing of 2018, and I don’t think that’s completely out of the question. His seat is toasty.

Denver Broncos: Vance Joseph

Temperature: 75 degrees

Explanation: This dude almost got fired after one year, something that almost never happens in the NFL no matter how bad of a coach you are. Denver is a pedestrian 3-4 and doesn’t look like a playoff team. His seat is warm, but he still has time to turn things around.

Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia

Temperature: 65 degrees

Explanation: Losses to the Jets and 49ers to open the season was immediate cause to put a blowtorch under Patricia’s seat. Since then, the Lions have somehow been able to beat the Patriots, Packers, and Dolphins, including having two games where a running back ran for over 100 yards, something that hasn’t been accomplished since Christopher Columbus “discovered” America.

Green Bay Packers: Mike McCarthy

Temperature: 60 degrees

Explanation: It’s fair to say McCarthy’s seat isn’t ice cold. Sure, they have a winning record, but McCarthy seems to be devoid of ability to coax a win out of this team unless Aaron Rodgers enters God mode. One of these days, McCarthy might end up on the hot seat.

Houston Texans: Bill O’Brien

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: O’Brien sent his quarterback out to battle with half a lung and they still pummeled the Jaguars on the road, so kudos to him I guess? O’Brien has had his questionable moments at times, but the Texans are leading the division. I guess he’s safe.

Indianapolis Colts: Frank Reich

Temperature: 65 degrees

Explanation: The only real thing keeping Reich’s temperature above 50 degrees is going for fourth down in overtime a few weeks ago in the loss to the Texans. He tried to be cool and ended up looking like an idiot. Maybe my formula will forgive him one day.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Doug Marrone

Temperature: 70 degrees

Explanation: The fine print in the Hot Seat Calculator says if you think Blake Bortles is even a semi-talented quarterback, your seat temperature goes up a minimum of 15 degrees. Even though they lost, Marrone benched Bortles mid-game this past week, helping his chances of remaining off the hot seat. Somehow, though, he thinks it’s a good idea to start Bortles next week too. I’m watching you, Marrone.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: The Chiefs look like a dominant team as they usually do in the first half of the season. Reid can’t even comprehend the idea of being on the hot seat. He won’t even sit on the bench with Patrick Mahomes too long because he said it’s too hot (can’t find a link but he actually told this to Cris Collinsworth).

Miami Dolphins: Adam Gase

Temperature: 65 degrees

Explanation: The Dolphins somehow had a solid start to the season, allowing Gase’s seat to cool down after a poor 2017 campaign. They’ve lost three of the past four, however, so the temperature could soon be increasing.

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer

Temperature: 55 degrees

Explanation: His job is safe despite a rocky start to the season. Not much to say here.

New England Patriots: Bill Belichick

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: Belichick’s seat is a literal iceberg.

New Orleans Saints; Sean Payton

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: Saints look for real this year. The spotlight is on Drew Brees with all the records he’s breaking, so even if the Saints under-perform again this year, Payton will probably be fine.

New York Giants: Pat Shurmur

Temperature: 85 degrees

Explanation: The Giants have been just as bad as last year despite getting (arguably) more talented on offense. There really aren’t any excuses for this team to be as bad as they are. And let’s be honest, I’m tacking on at least 5 degrees for the questionable playcalling at the end of the game against the Falcons. Going for two when it would’ve been a one-score game either way, then back-to-back quarterback sneaks with under a minute and no timeouts? That’s garbage. Shurmur needs to figure things out before he finds himself on the hot seat for real.

New York Jets: Todd Bowles

Temperature: 70 degrees

Explanation: Giving the Browns their first win in forever was enough to put Bowles on the hot seat, but things cooled down a bit now that he’s won two of his past three. In all seriousness, though, he should probably watch out.

Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden

Temperature: 90 degrees

Explanation: I don’t care if Gruden got a 100-year contract, the things he’s done this offseason and regular season have been perplexing at best and detrimental at worst. Trading your best wide receiver isn’t exactly a move signaling “win now” like it seemed like the Raiders would be this year, but getting a first round pick for Amari Cooper was enough to officially take Gruden off the hot seat. Maybe he’s not as much of a madman as we thought.

Philadelphia Eagles: Doug Pederson

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: The Eagles would have to have a catastrophic season for Pederson’s temperature to go up. This guy’s icy.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

Temperature: 60 degrees

Explanation: The drama that always seems to follow the Steelers around is likely, at least in part, due to Tomlin’s lack of putting his foot down when it comes to his star players. That’s probably the only reason why his seat isn’t as cold as possible.

St. Louis Rams: Sean McVay

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: If I was good enough at Photoshop to edit McVay sitting on the North Pole, I would.

San Diego Chargers: Anthony Lynn

Temperature: 50 degrees

Explanation: The Chargers are gearing up perfectly for their patented late-season collapse. For now, though, Lynn’s seat is cold.

San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Shanahan

Temperature: 70 degrees

Explanation: The Niners have dealt with some brutal injuries so far, including their starting running back and quarterback both tearing their ACL. But this is an unforgiving league. He’s 7-16 so far in his head coaching career. His leash might not be as long as people thought.

Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll

Temperature: 60 degrees

Explanation: What can Carroll do now that he doesn’t have a star-studded defense? The team is 3-3 despite having a pretty soft schedule, with their only game against a team with a winning record coming against the Rams. Carroll’s job is pretty safe for now, either way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dirk Koetter

Temperature: 90 degrees

Explanation: As I mentioned at the top of the post, Koetter literally said in a press conference he should be fired. Sort of. I don’t think many people disagreed with him. The honeymoon phase of their 2-0 start is over after Fitzmagic fizzled out. Koetter’s seat is one of the hottest in the NFL, and barely beating the Browns this past week didn’t help his case much.

Tennessee Titans: Mike Vrabel

Temperature: 70 degrees

Explanation: Going for two and the win this Sunday after battling all the way back? That’s just reckless. Seat temperature definitely warmed up a bit after that decision.

Washington Redskins: Jay Gruden

Temperature: 65 degrees

Explanation: Gruden has a lot to prove in his fifth season as an NFL coach. He’s been largely mediocre and has zero playoff wins in just one appearance. His team is off to a solid start, though. He’ll probably need to make the playoffs to keep his job.


Well, that’s all for now. Now that you know the exact seat temperatures of every NFL head coach, please follow along as I update them week to week based on my highly scientific formula.

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