NFL Futures and Props: First Coach to be Fired or Resign in 2019 Picks (Part 1)

Written by:
C Costigan
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Pro football teams and players are not the only subjects of NFL proposition betting odds.  The coaches are also fair game.  In this preview, we’ll look at a few good value positions on a prop at that asks players to select the first NFL coach to be fired or resign. 

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The long standing conventional wisdom in the National Football League is that is usually counterproductive to fire a coach mid-season.  Some go so far as to consider it the ultimate ‘slap in the face’ for a NFL head coach—the team is suffering so much under his tenure that they’re better off making the move during the season and deal with the difficulty of a transition than they are waiting until the end of the campaign. 

That mentality is changing somewhat along with several other ‘conventional wisdoms’ about NFL head coaching.  For example, it’s becoming more common to see a coach fired after a single season.  Historically, coaches were given at least a couple of years to ‘implement their system’ and to ‘get their personnel in place’.  Even with the change in attitude, mid season coaching moves are still rare.  In 2018, there were only two—the Cleveland Browns fired Hue Jackson hours after a Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this case, it was an excellent move—the team turned things around almost immediately under interim head coach Gregg Williams and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens who would become the team’s next permanent head coach.  The other 2018 mid-season coaching move probably could have been made just as effectively after the season—the Green Bay Packers fired longtime head coach Mike McCarthy after Week 12 leaving Joe Philbin to serve as interim coach.



Shurmur isn’t the favorite in this betting market but he likely should be.  The favorite is Jay Gruden and there’s a good chance that the Washington Redskins will improve this season.  Additionally, Gruden is coaching this season without the team’s starting quarterback Alex Smith who will miss this year due to a nasty ankle injury.  That gives him plausible deniability. 

There’s no doubt that Shurmur has been dealt a bad hand in terms of personnel.  The New York Giants are in ‘rebuilding mode’ but it doesn’t look like GM Dave Gettleman has a strategy of how to do this.  They lost their best offensive and defensive players during the offseason with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon now in Cleveland.  Sometimes moving talented veterans is a necessary move during a rebuild but the Giants got little in return and didn’t really replace what they had lost.  The team bungled the draft taking Duke QB Daniel Jones with the #6 pick when he would have almost certainly been available for the Giants’ second pick in the first round at #17.  This means that they could have selected Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, considered one of the best at the position.  Jones could become a good NFL quarterback but for now the plan is to let him sit and watch veteran Eli Manning for a season or two. 

The Giants have fired a coach in mid-season only once but it wasn’t that long ago.  Ben McAdoo got his walking papers in Week 12 of the 2017 season.  The fact that the ‘last straw’ could have been a decision to bench Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith will not be lost on Shurmur who will be very hesitant to make the move to Jones which is likely in the best longterm interest of the franchise.  Shurmur went 5-11 in his first season as Giants’ head coach and there’s a very good chance the team could be worse this year.  Much of that decline wouldn’t be his fault but he’ll be the first one to take the fall—even if GM Gettleman throws him ‘under the bus’ just to save his job.  Shurmur’s record as a head coach is not at all impressive with 15 W 34 L for a .306 winning percentage.

Shurmur is definitely the worst coach in the worst situation of any in the NFL this season.  He really should be the favorite to be fired at a much shorter price thus making him a nice betting value.  In Part 2 of this preview, we’ll look further down the betting board at for some other coaches at even higher prices.

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