Now You Can Bet on the First NFL Coach to be Fired

It’s bound to happen. Some team will underachieve and suck so bad that a change in leadership has to be made. And NFL bettors can rejoice in the misery of a coach being fired. Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer is the favorite to be the first coach fired this season, though there are several other viable options.

While teams would prefer to wait until the end of the season to relieve a coach, we’ve seen guys get the axe early in the year. Expectations are high for most teams and when the club doesn’t perform patience wears thin. We saw that last year when Bill O’Brien was the first coach fired, edging Dan Quinn by a few days. The Houston Texans started 0-4 and there was no hesitation in cutting ties with a man who produced five winning seasons and four playoff appearances in his previous six years.

Coaching in the NFL is very much a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately job. While Zimmer has put some strong teams on the field the Vikings went 7-9 last year and missed the playoffs. Along with guys like Kliff Kingsbury and Mike McCarthy, he’s squarely on the hot seat heading into 2021. Below is a list of odds for every NFL head coach to be the first fired in 2021.

Minnesota Vikings Mike Zimmer is the favorite at +454 odds to be the first coach fired this season.

First NFL Coach Fired in 2021-2022 Season Odds

Mike Zimmer +454

Vic Fangio +558

Mike McCarthy +636

Matt Nagy +679

Kliff Kingsbury +679

Zac Taylor +803

Jon Gruden +1342

David Culley +2095

Matt Rhule +2095

Mike Vrabel +2095

Dan Campbell +2424

Matt LaFleur +2647

Mike Tomlin +2872

Pete Carroll +2872

Joe Judge +2872

John Harbaugh +3210

Urban Meyer +3433

Sean McVay +3555

Sean Payton +3555

Ron Rivera +3555

Brian Flores +3905

Frank Reich +3905

Kyle Shanahan +3905

Arthur Smith +5000

Nick Sirianni +5000

Robert Saleh +5000

Brandon Staley +5500

Kevin Stefanski +10000

Sean McDermott +10000

Bill Belichick +25000

(Odds provided by as of 8:36 am ET)

We typically won’t see a first-year coach get the boot and even if the hire isn’t a good fit teams are hesitant to admit their mistake. So the seven newbies – David Culley, Dan Campbell, Brandon Staley, Robert Saleh, Nick Sirianni, Arthur Smith and Urban Meyer – are exempt. And the Patriots aren’t going to fire Bill Belichick, so you can cross him off the list. I’ll admit I was surprised to see Zimmer at the top of the list, but when you raise the bar to a higher level and fail to reach it in subsequent seasons I guess that puts your job in jeopardy.


In my mind there are other coaches more worthy of being the odds on favorite to be the first fired. The first one that comes to mind is McCarthy. He was given a reprieve in Dallas when last season crumbled following the season-ending injury to Dak Prescott. Given another chance the Cowboys need to win a bunch of games early or McCarthy is on the outs. There is a history in Big D with Jerry Jones not one to pull the plug on a whim, that’s why Jason Garrett was able to hang around for nearly a decade. With Dak back the Cowboys need to win and if they get off to a slow start McCarthy will be let go.

Among the coaches with shorter than 10/1 odds my money is on McCarthy and Chicago’s Matt Nagy. There are no more excuses for Nagy now that he has a potential franchise quarterback in Justin Fields. Nagy already made one mistake by naming Andy Dalton the starter, but that will change by Week 4 if not sooner.

Last year’s second half collapse also put Arizona’s Kingsbury on the hot seat. An odd choice to begin with when hired a few years ago, he was outcoached in games that led to defeats. He helped Kyler Murray develop into a top QB and with several big time adds in the offseason it’s clear the Cards want to win now. That just ratchets up the pressure.


First on the next tier is Las Vegas’ Jon Gruden at +1342. It’s hard to imagine the Raiders letting Chucky go after inking him to a ridiculous 10-year contract a few years ago. But the results just haven’t been there despite the team going all in. The honeymoon period in Vegas will continue this year with fans allowed into the stadium and the Raiders have won just enough to keep them thinking that a Super Bowl run is around the corner.

The one coach who stands out among the longshots is Sean Payton. Linked to Drew Brees for his entire career with the Saints, Payton worked wonders. He’s moving forward with Jameis Winston and the team is expected to take a dip in the win column. A big enough drop could force the team to move on.

Chicago Bears Matt Nagy (+679)

Our Prediction

Our pick: Bears’ Matt Nagy +679

Coaches further down the odds board will have to screw up big time to get fired and I don’t see that happening. Established veterans like Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll will also be given the benefit of the doubt after years of success. McCarthy is a good pick, but I expect the Cowboys to be better with Prescott healthy and a reimagined defense. That brings me back to the Bears, who haven’t progressed from their 12-win season in Nagy’s rookie campaign.

View today’s NFL odds.