It was supposed to be a buyers market. Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden were the big names on a short list of coaches. Then there is Jim Harbaugh and a slew of up and coming assistants and a few former NFL heads as well. It’s Monday, “Black Monday” in NFL circles. The day where coaches lose their jobs and owners begin the process of finding new leaders with the idea that a change is what their team needs.
This year, it appears that the allure of a Cowher or Gruden wasn’t enough to sway some owners for pulling the plug on their own in-house coaches.
Consider that a short week ago, Jason Garrett was coaching as an interim HC in Dallas and Leslie Frasier was doing the same for the Viking’s Ziggy Wulf. Gary Kubiak was rumored to be a Miami Dolphins OC candidate and Bill Cowher was going to take over for the embattled Tom Coughlin in New York.
Instead, they all stay. The interims are now the HC’s and the incumbents remain. No Gruden. No Cowher. Four vacancies snuffed out immediately following their teams 2010 finale’s.
So what is open?
As of today the only three coaching vacancies are officially in Charlotte, NC where the Panthers bid a fond adieu to 9 year HC John Fox, and San Francisco where a big push is underway for Jim Harbaugh. Denver did not retain their interim HC and will also be making a big push for Jim Harbaugh under new Director of NFL Operations manager John Elway. According to Internet reports.
Speculation in the Charlotte quickly turned to Bill Cowher, a NC native and resident of Raleigh a short 2 hours away.
Many fans believe that Jerry Richardson won’t pony up the money or the control to Cowher and thus will settle on another name. Perhaps a Jon Gruden. They won’t land Jim Harbaugh. In San Francisco, Harbaugh is the top and so far only name being mentioned there.
This brings us to the teams who may be looking for HC’s at the end of today.
The Dolphins are at the top of that list and with four major players no longer in the market for a new HC, Stephen Ross finds himself with a handful of options that won’t include Tony Sparano.
Ross was not at the game but he will likely watch it on his way back to the states. He will be nonetothrilled with what he finds on the tape, if he watches it all.
His first order of business will be to meet with the HC and the GM. There is some belief that Ross will forgoe the big name and try and to land fellow Michigan man Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has a relationship of sorts with GM Jeff Ireland so the two, it would seem, could work together.
An option that Ross will heavily weigh.
Ireland would maintain some continuity in the organization without leading to a complete upheavle of the teams management. The question is can Ross land Harbaugh…if he even wants to?
While the watch is on for Sparano’s future confirmation, the rest of the NFL is putting their goggles on places like Cleveland and Oakland where their coaches could be fired today or later this week.
Neither team will draw a Bill Cowher and possibly won’t bring in a Jon Gruden either. Gruden won’t return to Oakland and Cowher won’t likely go that far West. Cleveland is a hard one to call…if Eric Mangini is fired at all.
While fans wait in Miami for word on the future of Tony Sparano and staff, the media will continue to speculate and fans will debate who would be the best option to take over a team that has become an afterthought to the sports world in Miami.
Today however, the names of Gruden and Cowher were not enough to sway 4 owners from making changes. Will it be enought for Stephen Ross?