Kliff Kingsbury
John Weast: Getty Images

Kliff Kingsbury Will Be The First NFL Coach Fired In 2021

The Arizona Cardinals have severely underperformed under Kliff Kingsbury. In two years as the head coach, Kingsbury has a record of 13-18-1 and has not been close to making the playoffs. The Cardinals need to make the postseason or they are cleaning house in Arizona. I don’t think Kingsbury makes it the whole season and will be the first head coach fired in 2021.

I wrote a similar article a few weeks ago regarding Mike McCarthy being fired before the season ends. McCarthy has earned his spot on the hot seat but there is less institutional pressure on Dallas than there is Arizona. Jerry Jones has also been reluctant to fire head coaches mid-way through the season. Additionally, McCarthy is not going to push back against Jerry Jones like Jimmy Johnson or even Bill Parcells who both butted heads with Jones while in Dallas. McCarthy’s relationship with Jerry might buy him until the end of the year.

As for Kliff Kingsbury, he was destined to fail as an NFL coach. Kingsbury had a losing record at Texas Tech and was fired after six seasons, if you can’t win with Patrick Mahomes in college how do you expect to win in the NFL.

Last year was a disaster. The Cardinals started 2020 as one of the hottest teams in the league knocking off teams like the Bills, Seahawks, and 49ers on their way to a 6-2 record. Kyler looked like an MVP candidate and Kingsbury looked to have saved his job for a couple of years, then it all fell apart. The Cardinals finished the season going 2-6 in their last eight games and missed the playoffs for the second straight year under Kingsbury. Kliff was criticized a number of times for his playcalling down the stretch and it looked like the Cards just quit halfway through the season. If the 2021 season ends similarly for the Cardinals, bye-bye Kliff.

There are two things working in Kingsbury’s favor that might keep him there for the whole season. First, he deserves a lot of credit for Kyler Murray. The Cardinals made a huge whiff on Josh Rosen and within one year moved off Rosen and drafted Murray number one overall. Kingsbury recruited Kyler while he was at Texas Tech and heavily endorsed the former Oklahoma QB coming out of college. Second, Kingsbury did inherit the worst roster in the best division in football. The NFC West is home to some of the elite coaches and quarterbacks in this league. If Jimmy G can stay healthy and Matt Stafford is as advertised, the Cardinals have easily the worst QB-coach combination in the division. Unfortunately for Kingsbury, nothing solves issues like winning, and he hasn’t exactly done a lot of that in Arizona.

Big year for Arizona as they need to make the playoffs or a whole lot of people are getting fired.

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