Former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville once said the NFL stands for, "not for long," and he's not wrong, especially when it comes to his own profession. There are 10 new head coaches entering the 2022 season, with half of those being guys who have been in the role before. Additionally, there are five going into their second years at the helm. That means roughly half of the league's head coaching fraternity has been on the job less than two years.
That doesn't mean that every head coach has solid job security, however. After all, there's a reason nearly half of the teams have made a coaching change in the last two years. Here are the five head coaches who need their teams to perform on the field and, more importantly, rack up the wins this season — or they could be the next ones looking for a new job.
1. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
On paper, McCarthy's resume is solid. He's tied for 24th all-time in wins (143), has won 61 percent of his regular-season games, is 10-9 in the playoffs, and has a Super Bowl ring from his time at Green Bay. The problem is that McCarthy is now in Dallas, and the fans' and owner Jerry Jones' expectations never change. In two years leading the Cowboys, McCarthy is a pedestrian 18-15 and has yet to win a playoff game. That simply won't cut it, regardless of whether McCarthy has had to deal with injuries to his star players or other challenges. It also doesn't help that the Sean Payton rumors just don't ever seem to go away, especially since the former Cowboys assistant who Jones is seemingly infatuated with is not currently a head coach.
2. Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers
After making headlines for his jump from Baylor to the NFL in January 2020, Rhule has led the Panthers to back-to-back five-win seasons. Yes, his best player, running back Christian McCaffrey, has played in just 10 of the 33 games Rhule has coached and quarterback has been a persistent liability, but that's also life in the pros. The reality is that owner David Tepper didn't spend all the money he did to buy the team to watch it win five games year in and year out. So even though Tepper gave Rhule a seven-year, $62 million contract (and paid $6 million to cover his buyout at Baylor) don't think that he won't pull the plug if he's not happy with the progress Carolina makes in Year 3.
3. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Three seasons into his tenure, Kingsbury has maintained his offensive reputation, with Kyler Murray as his quarterback, but the Cardinals have yet to really break through. A 7-0 start last season had everyone thinking big but gave way to a 4-6 finish in the regular season, followed by a blowout loss in the Wild Card Round. Kingsbury's record sits at .500 (24-24-1) through his first three seasons, and he's still looking for his first playoff victory. The caveat here is that in March, Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim signed contract extensions that carry them through the 2027 season, and the Cardinals franchise is not known for swallowing a lot of money for the sake of change. That said, Kingsbury needs to keep his team at the forefront of the playoff conversation in 2022, which will be easier said than done considering Arizona resides in the same division as the defending Super Bowl champion and the other team that played in last season's NFC Championship Game.
4. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
Rivera is 14-19 through his first two seasons with Washington, although the first year resulted in an NFC East title, albeit with a losing (7-9) record. This season marks the midpoint of Rivera's five-year contract, but given the turmoil the franchise has endured these last several years due to several highly publicized scandals involving owner Daniel Snyder and other high-ranking employees, as well as the recent name change, it seems highly unlikely that a coaching change is high on the list. However, mediocrity is not something that NFL teams typically tolerate for long, and current general manager Martin Mayhew inherited Rivera.