In this era of non-stop NFL news and analysis, opinions and whispers can quickly harden into fact, when repeated and reiterated and rehashed over a period of days and weeks. With Week 17 here, it’s become a given that four teams will be changing coaches, especially since none of those four teams have attempted, publicly or privately, to push back against outcomes that seem to be certainties.
For four coaches, either they’ll be fired as soon as today or their teams have done a poor job of protecting them against the widespread assumptions/presumptions that they’re done. From Jets coach Todd Bowles to Broncos coach Vance Joseph to Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter to Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, the sense that they’ll each be fired has become baked in to the NFL news cake.
Again, there’s a chance that one or more of them won’t go. But if that’s the case, whoever stays should be miffed that more (anything) wasn’t done to get those in the media who have been speaking about a firing as a fait accompli to adjust the narrative.
The only statement any of these four teams has issued came from the Jets, not to renew vows with Bowles but to shoot down (or at least try to) a report that they’ll pursue Jim Harbaugh. “Todd Bowles is our coach,” the statement declared, stating the obvious.
The statement didn’t say, “Todd Bowles will be our coach.”
Only one team has reacted to widespread rumor and chatter to make it clear that its head coach will return for 2019. The fact that the Ravens said so makes the silence from the Jets, Broncos, Bucs, and Cardinals even more deafening.
And so, when that silence is broken as soon as this afternoon, there’s currently no reason to think that the end result will be four fresh vacancies to go with the other two that emerged during the season. At a time when everyone is looking for a surprise, the biggest surprise would be if Bowles, Joseph, Koetter, or Wilks are still employed when the ball drops in Times Square on Monday night.