Black Monday Came And Went | Kliff Kingsbury and Lovie Smith Both Got Their Pink Slips

At the end of every NFL season comes the daunting day that is referred to as “Black Monday.”

That’s when head coaches are relieved of their duties, and while this year’s first day of demotions and departures didn’t have too much motion on Monday, two high-profile coaches had their fates revealed.

Kliff Kingsbury Fired

After four seasons in Arizona, Kliff Kingsbury was fired following a tumultuous year in the Valley of the Sun.  Lovie Smith, on the other hand, ever stood a chance in Houston. He was hired to oversee a tank job, and after one season he was let go.

No one should feel sorry for Kingsbury, who will walk away with nearly $30M after signing a five-year extension last offseason.

Lovie Smith One And Done In Houston 

As for Lovie, the writing was on the wall from the moment the Texans surprisingly decided to hire him. Thus far these are the only two Black Monday casualties, and there almost certainly will be more after the playoffs. 

Kingsbury Never Should’ve Been Hired?

On Monday, the Cardinals released a statement thanking Kingsbury and the man who hired him, GM Steve Keim, who’s stepping down amidst health concerns.

“Never Deserved A Head Coaching Job In Arizona”| The Kliff Kingsbury Experiment Isn’t Working, Kyler Murray Regressing


“We have announced that head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been relieved of his duties,” the team said in a statement. “In addition, general manager Steve Keim has decided to step away from his position in order to focus on his health. The team wishes them well and thanks both of them for their contributions.”

The hiring of Kingsbury was doomed from the jump, as the former Texas Tech head coach, who went an underwhelming 35-40 in six seasons in Lubbock, was given the keys to the Cardinals ship because of his relationship with star quarterback Kyler Murray.

While Kingsbury never coached Murray at any level prior to the NFL, he recruited the talented dual-threat from Allen High School in Texas, where he went 42-0 in his career and won three state championships. In the Cardinals’ opinion that was enough to hire Kingsbury as the coach in 2019, the year they took Murray with the No.1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Murray and Kingsbury Partnership Never Worked 

Murray and Kingsbury always seemed to display a volatile coach/player relationship which often played out on the sidelines during games and in the media. From the looks of it there wasn’t much mutual respect between the two.

“I Just Wanted Him To Know, Hey, This Sh**t Ain’t Easy” | Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury Let Kyler Murray Call Plays For Backups To Teach Murray A Lesson 

Owner Michael Bidwell and GM Steve Keim thought it would be a good idea to contractually tie Kingsbury and Murray together until 2027, with big extensions for both last offseason.

But less than a year later that relationship has run its course. Kingsbury finishes his underwhelming run in Arizona at 28-37-1, with one playoff appearance.

Will Sean Payton Replace Kliff Kingsbury In Arizona?

What head coach could come in and right the ship? The hot name is Sean Payton, who’s track record with QBs is undeniable from his time with Drew Brees in New Orleans. Payton also knows how to develop the undersized QB as Brees wasn’t much bigger than the diminutive Murray, who owner Michael Bidwell says will have some input on the hire.

Who Is NFL Coach Ben Johnson?

Ben Johnson is another name that could end up in Arizona. Johnson just led the Detroit Lions to offensive heights not seen since Barry Sanders, Herman Moore and Erik Kramer were running the offense.


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