Continuing a tradition that we began last year, we've taken a data-driven look at which NFL head coaches are sitting on the hottest seats heading into the 2018 season.
Keep in mind we are not predicting which coaches will be fired. That involves two separate factors: How hot each seat is and the fortunes of each team in 2018. Instead, we isolated the first factor -- the heat under each seat -- by assuming they will each have the same losing season. Specifically, we presupposed every team would finish the year 4-12, and then asked our analytical model to make a projection on the fate of each head coach.
Just as before, we trained our model using Pro Football Reference's data on all NFL head coaching tenures since 1979. Unsurprisingly, the most important factor is the team's record from the present season, but there are a number of other factors that interact with each other within the model. Click here to read more on our methodology.
We've tested the model against every season for the past 39 years, and historically, it's correct 80 percent of the time, when using a cutoff of more than 50 percent predicting a firing, and less than 50 percent predicting retention. Last season was slightly unusual in that two of the five most likely coaches to be replaced, based on actual season results, survived. Hue Jackson (75 percent) and Bill O'Brien (65 percent) were both vulnerable, but were given reprieves due to extenuating circumstances. The other three, Chuck Pagano, Ben McAdoo and John Fox, were all replaced. Jack Del Rio's dismissal was thought to be unlikely by our model, but the Raiders jettisoned him to make a play to bring back Jon Gruden. Mike Mularkey was dispatched in one of those "mutual agreement" situations despite leading his team to a playoff appearance. As our model pointed out a year ago, he was on very thin ice before the season started.
Here's a look at which seats would be hottest assuming a four-win season in 2018: