NFL head coaches John Fox, Jim Caldwell, Jack Del Rio and Chuck Pagano lose jobs
Last Updated: 01/01/18 6:45pm
After missing the playoffs for the second time in three years, head coach Jim Caldwell has been fired by the Detroit Lions.
Meanwhile, NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears have also made a change at head coach, firing John Fox after the team finished bottom of the division for a third straight season under his guidance.
Fox and the Bears finished the season at 5-11 Sunday following a 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and he leaves Chicago with a 14-34 overall record.
The Lions also decided to move on from Caldwell on Monday after the team's 9-7 season. Following a promising 6-4 start, the Lions quickly lost ground in the highly competitive NFC playoff race, hitting rock bottom in a Week 16 loss to a struggling Cincinnati Bengals team that ended Detroit's postseason aspirations.
Caldwell went 36-28 over four seasons with the Lions.
Fox and Caldwell weren't the only coaching casualties after the end of the NFL regular season; Jack Del Rio made a tearful farewell after being fired as head coach by the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Del Rio's departure came just three hours after the Indianapolis Colts revealed they had also dismissed their head coach Chuck Pagano.
The 57-year-old Pagano, who had been in charge of Indianapolis for six seasons, was widely expected to lose his job after the Colts posted a 4-12 record that ended with a 22-13 win over the Houston Texans.
But Del Rio's sacking after three seasons was less predictable, coming less than a year after he signed a four-year contract extension following a successful 2016, when the Raiders went 12-4 and finally made the playoffs after a 13-season drought.
But the team lost ground in 2017, going 6-10. An emotional Del Rio, 54, said at the press conference it had been a dream to coach his "childhood team" but acknowledged the reality of the industry.
"It's a results business, I understand," added Del Rio who went 25-24 in his three seasons with the Raiders.
Some reports suggested former Raiders coach Jon Gruden could replace Del Rio.
Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, before guiding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in the 2002 season Super Bowl. He most recently has been working as a television analyst.
The Colts, meanwhile, thanked Pagano for his work, while at the same time showing him the door.
"Chuck's first season was one of the more inspirational stories in NFL history as he courageously battled and overcame leukaemia," Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement.
Pagano, speaking before his firing had been announced, said "I'm just grateful I'm on this side of the dirt," referring to his recovery from leukaemia.
Pagano guided the Colts to a 56-46 overall record (including the post-season) after joining the team in 2012.
He led them to three consecutive 11-5 seasons and playoff appearances from 2012-14, which included the 2014 AFC Championship game.
But the team failed to compile a winning record the past three seasons as they were hampered by multiple injuries to quarterback Andrew Luck.
There is a fifth head coaching vacancy in the NFL after Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals announced his retirement.
The 65-year-old two-time NFL Coach of the Year won a franchise-record 50 games in his five seasons with Arizona.
Arians has had health issues in recent years, including treatment for diverticulitis and a successful fight against kidney cancer last offseason.