Five NFL coaches fired
Five NFL coaches were sacked on 'Black Monday' after failing to guide their teams to the play-offs.
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Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano and Detroit boss Jim Schwartz became the latest to go, joining Cleveland's Rob Chudzinski, Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and Leslie Frazier of Minnesota Vikings.
The Bucs fired Schiano a day after a season-ending 42-17 loss to the New Orleans dropped his overall record to 11-21 over two seasons.
Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said the team has "not lived up to our standards" over the past two years and "we believe the time has come to find a new direction."
Tampa Bay lost the first eight games of the season while going through a messy split with former quarterback Josh Freeman and an outbreak of MRSA infections in the locker room.
Gary Kubiak, who was axed by the Houston Texans with three games of the season remaining, has already been linked with the Bucs job.
The Detroit Lions finished the season with a 7-9 record after a 6-3 start put the franchise in a position to win a division title for the first time since 1993.
Schwartz was 29-51 over five seasons, including a 10-6 mark in 2011 that lifted the Lions to their only post-season appearance this century.
Whilst the coaches who reached the play-offs can look ahead, many of those who did not always fear the sack on 'Black Monday.'
The Redskins had a hugely disappointing season, a 3-13 record, and Shanahan and his entire coaching staff - including his son Kyle, the team's offensive co-ordinator - were fired on Monday.
Shanahan, who still had one year remaining on his contract, went 24-40 in his four-year reign.
"Redskins fans deserve a better result," owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. "We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the play-offs."
The Browns' weekend defeat was their seventh-straight loss and saw them end yet another disappointing campaign with a 4-12 record, the worst in the AFC North.
Chudzinski's first and only year with the Browns was a rocky one, as the team faced injuries to both the starting and backup quarterbacks and never found consistency.
Cleveland also traded their 2012 first-round draft choice (third overall) running back Trent Richardson just two games into the season.
"We appreciate Chud's passion for the Browns, and we have great respect for him both personally and professionally," the Browns said in a statement.
"We needed to see progress with this football team. We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year."
Chudzinski, a lifelong Cleveland fan, said he was "shocked and disappointed" at being fired. "I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be."
The Vikings went 5-10-1, but unlike last year they failed to reach the play-offs. "We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings," owner Zygi Wilf said.
"He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here, and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community. Making this change is difficult but what we determined is best for the organisation."