The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to have made Chip Kelly their first choice as Andy Reid’s replacement. Yet according to the National Football Post on Dec. 30, the Eagles might want to revisit the possibility of bringing Jon Gruden back instead.
Before the Eagles lost their likely final game with Andy Reid on Dec. 30, Dan Pompei wrote that “people around the NFL” are convinced Gruden will return to the sidelines next season. In fact, Pompei predicts that “the right situation” for him could be coaching in Philadelphia, which “people close to him” think he has “a good chance” to do.
Gruden was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 1995 to 1997, before anyone had ever heard of Reid in Philadelphia. But despite how his Eagles days were long ago, and despite how his Super Bowl championship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came 10 years ago, he would still excite Philadelphia if he replaced Reid.
His past Philadelphia connections, his past Super Bowl success and the mere fact that he isn’t Reid would make him a serious contender. However, most of the rumors around the Eagles’ coaching search have revolved around Kelly in recent days.
As such, even if Gruden emerges at the last minute, is Philadelphia now too committed to going after Kelly first? And would Gruden get snatched up by another team before the Eagles finish wooing Kelly? That would be a problem if Philadelphia fails to get the Oregon coach, and it could leave the Eagles back at square one.
For those who want the Eagles to get a totally fresh start with a fresh new voice, Kelly is the top candidate so far. But for those who would prefer the Eagles to turn to an experienced coach with championship quality, it seems Gruden has re-emerged to lead that pack.
First, Philadelphia has to get rid of Reid so that it can officially start its search, which it will likely do on Dec. 31. Then right after Reid has said goodbye, Kelly and Gruden will become the most buzzed about names in town.
Yet given how multiple teams will pursue both men if they are available, the Eagles would have real work to do to win either of them over. Unfortunately, their 42-7 loss to the New York Giants on Dec. 30 and their 4-12 finish under Reid wasn’t the best sales pitch.