With Monday’s news that the Minnesota Vikings have fired coach Brad Childress, the question becomes is John Fox next?
Carolina is 1-9 and Fox doesn’t have a contract beyond this season. It’s common knowledge that Fox won’t be back with the Panthers next season. But will he make it through the rest of this season?
That’s going to be up to owner Jerry Richardson and history suggests he’ll let this thing drag on. In 2001, Richardson stuck with George Seifert even as the Panthers were losing their final 15 games.
Although they’re certainly not playing well, the Panthers are at least playing hard. That’s a sign that Fox still has some respect in the locker room. Without a labor agreement for next season, Richardson’s not going to do anything drastic. This season is lost and going with an interim head coach isn’t going to accomplish anything.
The only way I see that changing is if Fox forces the issue and takes some strong shots at ownership or the front office. Otherwise, Fox will get to finish his contract and the search for his replacement will begin as soon as the season ends.
Speaking of Fox, it looks like he’s become something of a sympathetic figure in Carolina. Although he has the league’s worst record, Fox is not at the bottom of the latest SportsNation NFL Head Coach Approval Ratings. At the moment, Fox has a 19 percent approval rating, which puts him ahead of Childress, Marvin Lewis, Mike Singletary and Gary Kubiak.
The rest of the NFC South coaches are way up the ladder. Atlanta’s Mike Smith is fourth in the league at 86 percent and Tampa Bay’s Raheem Morris is one spot behind him at 84 percent. New Orleans' Sean Payton is seventh at 81 percent.