The day following the conclusion of the NFL season has come to be known as Black Monday, as that's when axes traditionally fall on coaches and GMs who have failed to live up to expectations.
Most of the moves have been long been expected, while others may come as surprises. Job interviews likely began informally or clandestinely days or weeks ago, but this week they will start in earnest, and even quite publicly if other teams follow the model set by Denver two years ago.
Updated 8:34pm ET
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, the Colts defense picked off Matt Schaub twice, and Indy (11-5) took down the visiting Texans (12-4) by a 28-16 margin, providing the Broncos with a chance to claim homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or tie today against the Chiefs.
As recently as four weeks ago, Houston, at 11-1, had what was essentially a 2.5-game lead on the 9-3 Broncos in the AFC standings, given their Week 3 win in Denver. But they've lost three of four down the stretch - at New England in Week 14, in Houston last week against the Vikings, and today at Indy.
Peyton Manning, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey were named Pro Bowl starters today; Ryan Clady and Elvis Dumervil are on the AFC team, but are not starters.
Demaryius Thomas, Chris Kuper, Zane Beadles, Eric Decker, David Bruton, and Britton Colquitt are alternates should players ahead of them on the roster not play due to either injury or their teams being in the Super Bowl.
Following a season during which he faced the unenviable task of blocking for a player who used the entire 160-foot width of the field as his pocket, Ryan Clady received the ultimate gift in the form of Peyton Manning last March.
By choosing not to accept the reported $28M in guarantees offered him by Denver over the summer, he set himself up for an even bigger prize.
At the least, Clady figures to receive the Broncos' franchise tag, which will provide him with $9.66M in guaranteed salary, which is more than a $6M bump up from his 2012 salary of $3.5M.
Thanks to their having clinched the AFCN on Sunday, the Ravens will have the misfortune of seeing the Broncos again next year, and even worse (for them), they'll be traveling to Denver for the rematch.
In addition to the AFCW teams, Denver will host Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philly, Washington, and Baltimore. They'll head to the road for matchups with the G-Men, Cowboys, Texans, Colts, and Patriots.
Broncos starting right guard Chris Kuper again missed practice Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against Cleveland; it would be the third consecutive game he's missed due to injury, and the ninth in total.
According to John Fox, Kuper continues to be hindered by scar tissue in his surgically-repaired ankle, and is also dealing with migraine problems. Manny Ramirez will again start in his place; Peyton Manning has taken just two sacks with Kuper in the lineup, but 19 with Ramirez starting.
Nine straight wins, all by a touchdown or more. Nine games scoring at least 30 points. Six weekly player honors.
Make that seven.
Knowshon Moreno has been named the AFC's Offensive POW for his 24-touch, 126-yard, one-touchdown effort at Baltimore, which came on the heels of a more prolific 36-touch, 167-yard, one-score performance at Oakland.
Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has affirmed the league's findings regarding the Saints bounty scandal, but has vacated all player suspensions. Makes total sense, right?
Tagliabue's statement, via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:
Unlike Saints' broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects. My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell's findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints' organization.
Having reviewed the testimony very carefully, including documentary evidence that is at the center of the conflict, and having assessed the credibility of the four central witnesses on these matters, I find there is more than enough evidence to support Commissioner Goodell's findings that Mr. Vilma offered such a bounty (on Brett Favre).
The Broncos have added tackle Paul Cornick to their practice squad; he replaces Darrion Weems, who had been signed to Dallas's active roster five days ago.
Cornick had signed with the LOLJets as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State, where he was named an All-American following his senior season.