The day after the regular season ends is traditionally called "Black Monday" in the NFL, because that's the day head coaches usually get fired.
Anywhere from 2-5 usually get the axe on that day. I remember wondering -- along with many other folks -- whether Black Monday was going to impact the Panthers last season when John Fox had just gone 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.
Nope. It didn't. Jerry Richardson stayed the course, which was the correct thing to do. I advocated Fox getting another season back then, but I certainly didn't expect he and Carolina would go 12-4 this season. As much as I criticize Fox for his conservative approach, that's one heck of a job by this coaching staff, general manager Marty Hurney, the scouting department and so on.
Meanwhile, the New York Jets fired Eric Mangini, Cleveland fired Romeo Crennel and Detroit got rid of Rod (0-16) Marinelli, all in the past 24 hours. All of those teams will be looking for turnarounds like Atlanta, Baltimore and Miami had this season, each team making the playoffs with rookie head coaches.
NFL stands for "Not For Long," as the old joke goes. But Fox has been here a pretty long time now -- 7 seasons, or exactly as many seasons as Dom Capers and George Seifert put together. You've got to hand it to him for his survival instincts -- and for the team he has right now, which just may be his best yet.