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Heads roll on Black Monday as four coaches fired

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on the sidelines during the first half against the Denver Bronco
Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on the sidelines during the first half against the Denver Bronco

(Reuters) - The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all fired their head coaches a day after the regular season concluded as part of the National Football League's so-called Black Monday.

The Redskins dumped Mike Shanahan, the Vikings parted ways with Leslie Frazier, the Buccaneers fired Greg Schiano and the Lions axed Jim Schwartz after each team finished well out of the playoff picture.

Shanahan's Redskins went 3-13, Frazier's Vikings finished 5-10-1 and Schiano's Bucs went 4-12 as all teams finished last in their respective divisions. Schwartz's Lions were 7-9.

The announcements came a day after the Cleveland Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski hours after his team closed out the 2013 season with a seven-game losing streak to finish 4-12.

Shanahan went 24-20 in four seasons as coach of the Redskins but his future at the helm came under question given the team's performance and his tenuous relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III.

"Redskins fans deserve a better result," owner Dan Snyder said in a statement.

Shanahan's departure comes in the wake of a disappointing season for the Redskins, who started the year with high hopes coming off a 10-6 record and the NFC East title in 2012.

The Vikings, meanwhile, axed Frazier after he went 21-32-1 in three-plus seasons. Minnesota made the playoffs last year but regressed in 2013.

"Unfortunately, we did not achieve consistent success and did not achieve the progress we expected," Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said in a statement.

Tampa Bay dropped Schiano after two mediocre seasons and also ditched general manager Mark Dominik.

"The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards and we believe the time has come to find a new direction," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer.

Detroit fired Schwartz after a late-season fade that cost the Lions a playoff berth as they lost their final four games.

Schwartz was 29-51 in five seasons with the Lions. They had only one winning season during his tenure, going 10-6 in 2011.

"I think it's a cut-and-dry wins and losses business," said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who added that the players had to accept "quite a bit" of responsibility for the team's mediocre season.

Chudzinski, meanwhile, lasted only one season with the Browns even though he has three years remaining on his contract.

The Houston Texans fired Gary Kubiak in early December with three games left in the season, making him the first of six head coaches to lose their job this month.

The exodus of head coaches may not be over with reports suggesting the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins could also make changes.

But amid the firing carnage, it is worth noting that several under-pressure coaches have survived to fight another season.

The New York Jets have said they will keep Rex Ryan after going 8-8 and failing to make the playoffs, while the Dallas Cowboys seem poised to keep Jason Garrett.

The Cowboys (8-8) missed the playoffs when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but owner Jerry Jones reportedly is happy with Garrett.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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