(Reuters) – The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions rang in the New Year by firing their head coaches, while Arizona Cardinals’ Bruce Arians ended a stellar career when he announced his retirement on Monday after five years at the helm.
However, on what traditionally has become known as ‘Black Monday’, the carnage was relatively light in the National Football League.
John Fox was sent packing following three seasons at the Bears, while Detroit sacked Jim Caldwell after four campaigns, bringing to six the number of teams publicly searching for a new head coach.
The New York Giants ditched head coach Ben McAdoo four weeks ago and on Sunday the Indianapolis Colts dumped head coach Chuck Pagano after six seasons and the Oakland Raiders dispensed with Jack Del Rio following three campaigns.
Del Rio’s departure was perhaps the only surprise, with the others widely expected.
But it was not one-way traffic to the exit door on Monday, with Hue Jackson retaining his position at the Cleveland Browns despite presiding over a winless season.
An emotional Arians announced his retirement after compiling a 49-30-1 record at Arizona.
“The tears you see are really tears of joy, peace,” said the 65-year-old, who has suffered some health problems recently, including a kidney cancer scare.
“I’ll miss the players. I’ll miss coming out of the locker room, hearing the national anthem because it still gets me.”
Before becoming a head coach, Arians built a strong resume as an assistant coach, including two Super Bowl rings during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he helped develop Ben Roethlisberger into a champion quarterback.
Fox, meanwhile, departs Chicago after a 5-11 season, and a 14-34 overall record.
“Today is the tough part of our results-oriented business but I wish the Bears organization the best for years to come,” he said in a statement released by the team.
Fox previously spent four seasons in Denver, guiding the team to a losing Super Bowl appearance in the 2013 season.
Caldwell leaves Detroit after compiling a 36-28 record, the first head coach at the franchise to compile a winning record since the early 1970s.
The Lions made the playoffs twice under Caldwell, but have not won a post-season game since the 1991 campaign.
“I believe Jim is one of the finest leaders we’ve ever had as our head coach,” Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford said in a statement.
Jackson, meanwhile, has been retained by the Browns, receiving a vote of confidence from owner Jimmy Haslam.
The Browns have the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 draft, decisions that could decide the long-term fate of Jackson, who is 1-35 in Cleveland.
”It’s not going to be words,“ he said. ”It’s going to be actions and it’s going to be what we do.
“I think being 0-16, the stigma that comes with that is that we are going to have to do some recruiting everywhere.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris