The history of Black Monday in the NFL


Jan. 10, 2022, marks an unfortunate annual tradition across the NFL: Black Monday.

While Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer failed to make it through the year, other franchises are expected to cut ties with key figures on Monday, the first day after the regular season ends.

With Week 18 added to the 2020 NFL season, Black Monday got pushed back a few days, but its impact on coaches and general managers remains. What is the origin of the phrase, and who is in danger of becoming a Black Monday casualty in 2022?

Here’s a look at the history of Black Monday in the NFL:

What is Black Monday in the NFL?

Black Monday commonly refers to the first Monday after the conclusion of the regular season. While some coaches and general managers will be gearing up for playoff matchups, others will have to pack up their offices after being fired. 


Since Black Monday is the first day of the offseason for 18 NFL teams each year, it is common for multiple head coaches and front office members to be let go across the league.

When did Black Monday originate?

While a Chicago Tribune story used the term when referencing a day in which multiple college coaches were fired in the late 1990s, 1998 is the year when Black Monday became a noteworthy phrase for the NFL. The Associated Press, New York Post and Houston Chronicle all used Black Monday in headlines on the same day after the season ended.

How many coaches were fired on Black Monday in 2021?

Two coaches were fired on Black Monday last season: Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Doug Marrone of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Some teams did not even wait until that Monday to cut ties with their coaches. The New York Jets fired Adam Gase that Sunday after losing to the New England Patriots in the regular season finale. Matt Patricia, Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien were all fired by their teams during the 2020 regular season. Doug Pederson, meanwhile, was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles exactly one week after Black Monday.


How many coaches will be fired on Black Monday in 2022?

There are several coaches on the hot seat heading into Week 18, and two of them will be on opposite sidelines at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears and Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings could be coaching their final games for their respective teams on Sunday after being eliminated from playoff contention. Nagy has been with the Bears since 2018, while Zimmer has been at the helm for the Vikings since 2014.

In New York, Joe Judge could be gone after two seasons with the Giants. While the team reportedly plans to bring back Judge and third-year quarterback Daniel Jones, Judge’s recent postgame rant does not help his case as New York is 4-12 on the season.

Vic Fangio is another name to keep an eye on. The Denver Broncos have missed the playoffs in all three seasons since he took over as head coach.

Even if any of these coaches are fired, an announcement could come sooner than Monday. Fangio’s Broncos end their season Saturday evening with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Bears, Vikings and Giants all play at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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What does Black Monday mean outside of football?

Black Monday is not an exclusive term to the NFL, but its sinister connotation continues throughout its various meanings.

Black Monday has been used to reference a notable drop in the stock market, particularly as part of crashes in 1929 and 1987. Other infamous Black Mondays date back to the 13th century, when native Irish massacred hundreds of Dublin citizens.