YESTERDAY WAS a dark day for four NFL coaches, at least three anyway, as they got their pink slips.

The first Monday after the regular season is when the ax falls on the neck of those whom management perceives as not getting the job done.

The Bears' Mark Trestman was let go because his defense was awful and his quarterback was worse. Rex Ryan was let go by the Jets because his quarterback was awful and, well, it was time. And Mike Smith was let go by the Falcons. His quarterback was decent, but his team wasn't.

The fourth guy, Jim Harbaugh, didn't get along with 49ers' management so he was let go and yesterday returned to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a convoy full of money. Can't feel too bad for him.

But for the other three sacked coaches, it must be tough. We don't know how tough because rarely do fired coaches hold press conferences after the fact. But when you get fired and have to relocate your family, and worry where your kids will be going to school after Christmas break, it has to be tough. It's the side of coaching we never see or care about.

Through all this doom and gloom, thoughts became focused on basketball coach Doug Moe. No, not because he was a bad-fit hire and fired after 56 games by the Sixers back in 1993, but because of how he handled his firing by the Denver Nuggets in 1990.

Moe, one of the most colorful characters the game has ever seen, held a news conference announcing his own firing. Not only that, but he had his wife, Big Jane (as Moe calls her), pop open a bottle of champagne and they toasted the local media.

I guess Moe had no problem relocating or where his kids were going to school. Typical Doug Moe.

For some reason, I can't imagine Andy Reid, Eddie Jordan or Terry Francona doing the same thing. Charlie Manuel? Wouldn't put it past him.