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American Football NFL franchises plan for the future on Black Monday

JIM CALDWELL may have been the Detroit Lions’ most successful coach in the Super Bowl era but that wasn’t enough to save his job.

The Lions fired Caldwell on Black Monday, the day following the final Sunday of the NFL’s regular season on which numerous coaches and general managers are fired, after a season in which the team raised hopes before fading and missing the play-offs for the second time in three years.

Caldwell received a multi-year contract extension before the season but the team didn’t announce the move for months.

The Lions finished with a 35-11 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to go 9-7, their third winning record in his four years. Detroit met relatively modest expectations this season after a promising start that left the team at 3-1 and 6-4. But the Lions then dropped out of post-season contention by losing three of their next five.

Black Monday also saw the Chicago Bears get rid of John Fox, while Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts and Jack Del Rio of the Oakland Raiders were each fired after their games Sunday.

The Denver Broncos are sticking with Vance Joseph after players convinced the front office to stick with the former Miami Dolphins defensive co-ordinator despite a disappointing 5-11 season.

One head coach who is still unsure about his future is Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals, with a decision expected within the next 72 hours while the 0-16 Cleveland Browns will stick by head coach Hue Jackson.

After leading the Browns to 1-31 over the past two seasons, Jackson said after Sunday’s loss: “I don’t think anyone else could’ve done this job for the past two years.”

Forced to clarify that statement the following day, he said: “When I said: ‘I don’t think any other coach would do that job,’ I am not trying to sound arrogant, flippant or anything like that.

“I just think these situations are hard when you don’t win. When you are doing everything you can to win and it does not happen that way, I think those situations are hard. I don’t think the average person could go through that. That is what I meant by that. I think that is a tough situation to be in.”

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