The Philadelphia Eagles have looked towards Gus Bradley, Bruce Arians, Jay Gruden and even Brian Billick as head coaching candidates in recent days. But the Eagles faithful still have Jon Gruden on their mind -- or at least Philadelphia’s media columnists still do.
A slew of pro-Gruden editorials came out during the weekend, wondering why the Eagles haven’t approached the former Super Bowl winning coach. First, former mayor Ed Rendell wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News on Jan. 12, saying that the “overwhelming people’s choice” is Gruden and that he is his choice as well.
Next, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Phil Sheridan wrote on Jan. 13 that the Eagles should hire Gruden, although he had already argued the same thing 10 days earlier. But since Philadelphia hasn’t reached out to Gruden since then, Sheridan repeated his assertion that “he will win” and is better qualified than the Eagles’ other candidates.
For good measure, Ray Didinger answered a question about Gruden on CSNPhilly.com on Jan. 14, which asked why the Eagles haven’t contacted him. Didinger thought it would be “baffling” if they really haven’t, and wondered why they would pursue Jay Gruden and not Jon.
Yet despite his history on the Eagles’ coaching staff in the mid-90s, and the way his Tampa Bay Buccaneers broke the Eagles’ hearts in the 2003 NFC title game, Gruden hasn’t come up as a serious official candidate. In fact, there haven’t been any new rumors about his desire to even come back to the NFL in weeks. If he’d prefer to stay in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth, it would block Philadelphia then and there.
Is Gruden waiting for the Eagles or some other team to reach out to him first? Or is he still biding his time while Philadelphia and other franchises run through candidates like his own brother first? Either way, much of the Philadelphia media seems to want the Eagles to make the first move.
Bradley appeared to be the front runner before his Seattle Seahawks’ defense was manhandled by the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 13. If that gave the Eagles second thoughts, and if Arians and Jay Gruden either don’t work out in interviews or get picked up by other teams, then Philadelphia has nowhere else to go.
At that point, maybe it would look at Jon Gruden again, if the coaching market and local media really gave it no other choice.