Head coach Jim Schwartz was fired by the Detroit Lions after a 2013 season that saw the team go from a 6-3 start to losing six of the final seven games to finish 7-9.
Detroit led in the fourth quarter in all seven of those games, including the season-ending loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
A decision on the fate of general manager Martin Mayhew was made Sunday, and he was informed he was staying with the Lions.
Schwartz, 29-51 in five seasons, met with the team Monday and informed players he was fired. He is owed $12 million for the remainder of his contract.
The Lions have not won the division in 20 seasons but held a 1 1/2-game lead when they improved to 6-3. But mistakes by quarterback Matt Stafford and a leaky defense that was a constant under the defensive-minded head coach were too much to overcome.
The Lions have the second-most salary committed to their 2014 roster, but the roster is thought to be good enough to contend in the NFC North.
Even so, Detroit is hiring a coach for the seventh time since 2000.
Candidates for the job are likely to be those with experience and a proven ability to coax top performance out of quarterbacks. Stafford is to be paid $90 million over five years thanks to a three-year contract extension signed prior to the 2013 season but became as much of a hindrance as anything late in the season.
San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien are among early targets if Mayhew and chairman Bill Ford Jr., according to multiple reports.