NFL's Black Monday: Culley, Judge, Zimmer, Nagy and Flores the latest head coaches to be fired

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge walks off the field after a loss to the Washington Football Team during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants fired Judge on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, after he went 10-23 in two seasons
Photo of Phil Agius

Phil Agius

NFL· 1 week ago

Show Bio

I've been writing about the NFL and a host of other sports for the UK's top daily betting paper the Racing Post for more than 20 years. An incurable Browns fan (1-31 survivor), I also specialise in all kinds of motorsport betting including F1, MotoGP, IndyCar and NASCAR.

Black Monday got started early in the NFL this season as Denver finishing their season on Saturday meant they actually fired head coach Vic Fangio on Sunday, before the traditional end-of-season coaching cull.

Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer was the first out of the door on Monday, soon followed by Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears and Brian Flores at Miami. Joe Judge was the latest to bite the dust on Tuesday. Check back to this page throughout the week as we’ll be taking a look at all the end-of season coaching changes.

FIRED: David Culley, Houston Texans

Black Monday was busy already, and then the Giants fired Joe Judge on Tuesday. The Texans decided to one-up them by waiting until Thursday to can David Culley. Culley ended up getting just one season in Houston, despite arguably exceeding expectations by steering the team to four wins with a noticeably bare roster. It was the first, and likely last, head coaching opportunity for the football lifer who began his coaching career in 1978.

After a whopping 43 years as an assistant, he finally got the chance to lead a team at the tender age of 65. It didn’t always go smoothly, but he did get a team light on talent to fight hard each and every week and pulled off a couple of big upsets. He’ll at least go down as the guy who ruined the Chargers’ season by beating them as a double digit ‘dog in Week 16. The Texans also fired offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, and early reports emerged that they could be targeting Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their now-vacant head coaching position.

FIRED: Joe Judge, New York Giants

Call it Black Tuesday now. The Giants made everyone sweat a bit, but they finally pulled the trigger early Tuesday evening by sending Joe Judge packing. It was a decision most fans were clamoring for, but on Monday it initially looked like Judge was going to survive for a third season. Now it appears his bizarre behavior and rambling press conferences down the stretch ultimately did him in with owner John Mara.

New York now once again finds themselves in need of a reset. They’ve been a bit of a dumpster fire ever since Tom Coughlin left, and it’s unclear where they go from here. GM Dave Gettleman “retired” on Monday, meaning they’ll need a whole new power structure. And they’ve also got to figure out what the heck they do with Daniel Jones. For now, there won’t be any more players calling Judge and begging to play for the G-Men.

FIRED: Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

Continuing the theme of this year’s early coach firings, Brian Flores did not lead Miami to one of the worst records in the league — in fact the Dolphins had a winning campaign, finishing at 9-8 after winning 8 of their last 9 games and completing a season sweep of the New England Patriots! It’s true that more was expected after a 10-6 campaign in 2020, but Flores had at least got his players moving in the right direction.

How the quarterback situation is resolved — developing Tua Tagovailoa or bringing in Deshaun Watson, maybe — will go a long way to determining the fate of Flores’s successor, but Jaylen Waddle was a home-run pick in last year’s draft and there’s talent on the Fins defense when it’s not decimated by injuries.

FIRED: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

This is the least surprising name on the list, however long it grows today. Matt Nagy has been seen as a lame duck since before the season began. Hired 4 seasons ago to provide the Bears with a creative spark on offense, his offenses have been largely awful. This firing may seem harsh looking at the bare facts — Nagy made the playoffs in 2 of his 4 seasons in the Windy City and this year was the first time he has finished with a losing record (6-11) as he went 34-31 in the regular season and 0-2 in the playoffs.

The Bears looked terrible even when compiling a 3-2 start but the pressure was growing when results became more appropriate for the performances and they lost 8 of the next 9 games. Rumors that Nagy would be fired after Thanksgiving proved to be a false alarm, but he didn’t make it much past Christmas. The Bears have some young talent in QB Justin Fields, RB David Montgomery and WR Darnell Mooney and maybe a new approach can bring out the best in them.

FIRED: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

Like Vic Fangio, Mike Zimmer didn’t have a terrible record with the Vikings this season (8-9) but there was no evidence that he would be able to take the offensive talent on the roster to the next level any time soon. There were rumors that Zimmer was in trouble in his 8th season in Minneapolis when the team started 1-3 and a corner was never really turned as they meandered to the end of the season.

Zimmer had success in his time with the Vikings, leading them to the NFC Championship Game in 2017 and making the playoffs 3 times, but mediocre 7-9 and 8-9 seasons despite having talent such as Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen on the roster, plus a veteran QB in Kirk Cousins, was not deemed good enough.

FIRED: Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

Denver became the first team to end its 2021-22 NFL season on Saturday night as 28-24 home loss to the Chiefs led to head coach Vic Fangio being the first victim of this season’s Black Monday — or rather Sunday.

Fangio was relieved of his duties in a meeting with president Joe Ellis and general manager George Paton after his third straight losing season with the team and a 19-30 overall record. This year’s 7-10 campaign was the Broncos’ 5th straight at under .500.

The Broncos were not expected to fare much better before the season started; they were 45/1 to win the Super Bowl before the campaign. But despite a 3-0 start, a lack of quality quarterback play proved their downfall as first Teddy Bridgewater and more recently Drew Lock failed to get the job done.

Check out more analysis on Fangio’s firing after three losing seasons in Denver

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Picks and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks.

See All
BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Win $200 if either team scores a TD in a Playoff game!

Bet $10 on the Money Line for any NFL team

Win $200 if either team scores a touchdown in the game

Winnings paid in free bets

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$150

Bet $5, Win $150 CASH on Any NFL Team to Win Their Playoff Matchup!

Sign up for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook

Bet $5 on any NFL team to win their next playoff game

If your team wins, YOU WIN $150 - in CASH!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

DraftKings

$280

Bet $5, Win $280 on Any NFL team to Win Their Playoff Game!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $5+ any NFL playoff game Money Line

Win $280 in credits if your team wins the game

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 - Regardless of Outcome!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+.

Bet $20 on any game in any sport!

Win $200 - no matter whether your initial bet won or lost!

BetMGM

$200

Win $200 If ANY NBA Team Makes a 3-Pointer!

Sign up for a new account with BetMGM, and make a deposit of $10+.

Place a $10 moneyline bet on any upcoming NBA game.

Win $200 if either team in your selected game makes a 3-pointer

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at BetMGM Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Win $200 If A Goal Is Scored In ANY NHL Game!

Sign up for a new account with BetMGM, and make a deposit of $10+.

Place a $10 moneyline bet on any upcoming NHL game.

Win $200 if either team in your selected game scores a goal

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at BetMGM Sportsbook.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,001

Get a $1,001 First Bet Match + A FREE NBA JERSEY!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,001

Receive a free bet matching your initial stake up to $1,001 + a FREE NBA JERSEY!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$400

Get a $400 Risk-Free Bet on the Breeders' Cup!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code PICKS400

Place a bet on the Breeders' Cup

Receive a refund if your first bet loses up to $400

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.