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NASHVILLE – And then there were two.

With the Chicago Bears’ decision to fire coach Matt Nagy on Monday, Mike Vrabel is one of two NFL head coaches hired in 2018 still on the job.

The other is Indianapolis’ Frank Reich, although it should be noted that Reich was the Colts’ second choice. Josh McDaniels originally accepted the position but backed out days later, which eventually led that franchise to Reich.

For what it’s worth, the Colts also interviewed Vrabel at that time and ultimately chose between McDaniels and him. By the time McDaniels reversed his decision and elected to remain the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, however, Tennessee already had hired Vrabel to replace Mike Mularkey, who was fresh off two winning seasons and one playoff appearance.

At this point, therefore, it seems clear that the Titans fared the best in that year’s coaching searches. And general manager Jon Robinson’s choice could look even better in a matter of weeks. Vrabel is a leading contender for Coach of the Year after he led Tennessee to a 12-5 record this season, the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and the opportunity to host playoff games through the conference championship.

“I think we are always looking for more,” Vrabel said last week. “Our goal, is to win championships.”

Right now, he is the only one of the seven hired in 2018 who has the chance to do so as a head coach this season. Reich’s Colts missed out on a playoff berth when they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

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A look at the NFL head coaches who were hired in 2018 and how they fared: 

CoachTeamRecordPlayoff WinsDivision Titles

Mike Vrabel





Frank Reich





Matt Nagy





Jon Gruden

Oakland/Las Vegas




Matt Patricia





Pat Shurmur

N.Y. Giants




Steve Wilks





Five of the seven hired in 2018 were first-time NFL head coaches. The exceptions were Jon Gruden (Oakland-Las Vegas Raiders) and Pat Shurmur (New York Giants). Gruden had the Raiders headed in the right direction before he was fired after five games this season because of controversial emails he sent from 2010-18 that only came to light this year (the Raiders made the playoffs this year).

Regardless of their experience, the attrition has been steady. Steve Wilks (Arizona) was fired after one season. Shurmur was canned after two. Matt Patricia (Detroit) did not quite make it until the end of his third season, Gruden was fired early in his fourth and now Nagy is out after four full campaigns.

Vrabel already is one of four head coaches in Titans/Oilers history with at least 40 regular season wins and one of four (not the same four) with multiple playoff triumphs. His .631 winning percentage is the best in Titans/Oilers history, and his win total is the most by any franchise coach through his first four seasons. In two weeks, he will become the fifth to direct the franchise in at least five playoff contests.

“He’s done a great job since he’s been there, and I’m not surprised at all with it,” Houston Texans coach David Culley, whose his first season on the job concluded with a 28-25 loss to the Titans on Sunday, said. “… His football team emulates who he is and what he is as a person and as a coach.

“He’s done a great job, he and Jon Robinson have done a great job of developing a football team down there that fits who he is, and they’re playing the kind of football that he wants to play.”

And he has shown staying power. With Minnesota’s decision to fire Mike Zimmer, there are just eight NFL head coaches who have been in their current positions longer than Vrabel has led the Titans – and there is no reason to suspect he won’t be on the job for a while longer.