Handicapping The 'Hot Seat': Odds On 1st NFL Head Coach To Be Fired

What's the first thing we do when something goes wrong? Answer: Look for someone to blame. To capitalize on that instinct, sportsbooks are listing odds for the first NFL head coach to be fired.

The names atop the list aren't surprising ...

The best value on the board is Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule (+375). The Panthers are just 10-24 in Rhule's tenure and lost a heart-break in Week 1 vs. the Cleveland Browns.

I'd argue Rhule is more of the victim in Carolina rather than the perp.

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, right? Well, the Panthers don't have a franchise quarterback. In addition, Carolina's best player — RB Christian McCaffery — has only played in 10 of Rhule's 34 games as the Panthers' coach.

That said, someone has to go down if Carolina continues to suck and Rhule will most likely be the scapegoat. His only argument for saving his job is blaming the people who hired him. I.e. Carolina's front office ain't hearing it.

McCarthy's Seat May Not Be As Hot As It Appears

Furthermore, I disagree with Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy having the best odds in this market. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones firing Hall of Fame head coach Tom Landry upon buying the team earned him a reputation that followed Jones for years.

But, Jones' loyalty to former coach Jason Garrett amidst years of scrutiny shed that reputation.

While the NFL's worst-kept secret is Jones' interest in hiring former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. Payton just left the Saints for a cushiony TV gig and probably won't be accepting any jobs until the end of the year.

So what's the rush? Also, firing McCarthy barring a scandal would be an absurd overreaction by Jones. The Cowboys won the NFC East in 2021. It was McCarthy's second year on the job and his only season with a healthy Dak Prescott.

Arizona's Head Coach May Be Feeling Toasty

Going further down the board, I agree with Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury (+500) having the third-best odds. The media is so anti-Kingsbury in spite of his fairly successful stint. Vocal Kingsbury detractors think he is in over his head in the NFL.

The next two coaches listed can be dismissed easily. Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich (+900) is on his fifth different quarterback in five seasons and seemingly has the support of his front office. Tennesee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel (+900) is the reigning NFL Coach of the Year.

The only other name that jumps out is New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh (+1000). That said, Saleh is the only hire by current Jets' general manager Joe Douglas and I doubt Douglas wants to can his first head coach so soon.

Douglas should get a majority of the blame for the Jets' crappy roster. That's not how it goes sometimes at the workplace. If NY is another year like 2021, and it's off to an 0-1 start, then Douglas could certainly throw Saleh under the bus.

Truthfully, I have no action in the first "NFL head coach to be fired" betting market. But, the only viable options listed above are Matt Rhule (+375) followed by Robert Saleh (+1000).