There are only a handful of bowl games left to be played, and none of the big names participating in those game are serious candidates for NFL head coaching vacancies. Nick Saban would be highly desired if he wanted to return to the pro ranks, of course, but he has stated repeatedly that he doesn’t.
On Thursday night, Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks earned a 35-17 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl. It was a dominating performance in what many believe was Kelly’s final game as a collegiate coach. (For now.) Among the many suitors lined up, hoping that he will lead their beleaguered franchises to the promise land: the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.
“He will interview with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills about their respective vacancies, according to a person informed of Kelly's plans to meet with the teams.” [USA Today]
“The Browns' interview with Oregon offensive wizard Chip Kelly is expected to take place as early as Friday in Arizona…If the Browns' interview with Kelly goes well, they'll be prepared to make him an offer he can't refuse.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
Bills scheduled interview Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Friday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 3, 2013
While the Eagles, Browns and Bills are attempting to lure in the most interesting option available, other teams are looking for more established pro names. The Arizona Cardinals were rumored to be close to hiring Andy Reid, however, he is apparently looking to link up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Once Arizona brass realized that Reid viewed them as nothing more than a leveraging tool, they began to examine other candidates.
One mildly surprising name: Todd Haley.
Haley’s successful history with the Cardinals is a matter of public record, but so are the clashes he had this year with Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers ended up missing the postseason for a myriad of reasons, but one of those reasons was definitely their less than stellar offensive attack.
Nevertheless, Arizona requested permission to interview Haley for their vacancy this week. Neal Coolong of Behind The Steel Curtain offered an extremely smart analysis of why the Cardinals are going down this road:
“..for Haley, the price of being shunned by his former team – one with which he had a great deal of success – would be damaging to his reputation. And it isn’t something the Cardinals would wish upon someone who helped give the franchise its best season.”
That makes a whole lot of sense.
A few other noteworthy coaching tidbits:
O'Brien has informed the school he is staying put. Cue the Eagles and Browns and Chip Kelly once this Fiesta Bowl ends— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 4, 2013
Andy Reid's scheduled interview Friday w Cardinals has been cancelled as he continues talks with Chiefs. AZ source: "He's out with us."— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 4, 2013
Ken Whisenhunt is latest to interview with #Browns, per sources. Yes, in Arizona, where owner Jimmy Haslam & CEO Joe Banner are camped out— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 3, 2013
Packers OC Tom Clements says the Bears have asked and been granted permission to interview him about their head coaching job— Pete Dougherty (@PeteDougherty) January 2, 2013
The Chargers are interested in speaking with former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 3, 2013