Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was offered, and accepted, the job of head coach with the Arizona Cardinals Thursday evening. This was the last NFL head coach position yet to be filled, leaving Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, safe in Cincinnati for another year.
The Cardinals had interviewed six candidates for the job eventually offered to Arians, including Bengals’ Gruden who was reportedly a front runner. However the Cardinals clearly saw something they preferred in Arians, who temporarily took on the role of leading the Colts this past season while head coach Chuck Pagano was out receiving treatment for leukemia.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Jay Gruden, who has been with the team for two seasons, had indicated he intended to stay in Cincinnati yet has been riding the head coaching rumor rollercoaster. Gruden interviewed with not only the Arizona Cardinals, but also with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers. The Eagles have since hired University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly while the Chargers went with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy .
Though seemingly and surprisingly not as heavily pursued, Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator also interviewed for a head coach opportunity with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns elected to hire Rob Chudzinski to fill their opening last week.
The Cincinnati Bengals can now breathe a significant sigh of relief having been on cusp of losing both their offensive and defensive coordinators. They can now focus on moving forward fully intact.