Though it's early in the process it's clear some top head-coaching talent is available. At the moment, the Chiefs are competing with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins for a new coach.
So who will it be? Here are five possibilities.
1. Jeff Fisher – After being dumped a year ago by the Tennessee Titans, Fisher has been enjoying a nice vacation. However, that's about to change. Per our sources, Fisher has a strong interest in becoming the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But Fisher does have his detractors. He didn't win a Super Bowl in Houston/Nashville from 1994-2010. Still, he's a terrific coach and can evaluate talent. The Chiefs have plenty of talent for him to work with in Kansas City and if he can put together a solid staff, then he'd be a top choice for the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs want Fisher, they may have to beat out the Dolphins, who reportedly are interesting in hiring him to replace the recently fired Tony Sparano.
2. Josh McDaniels – McDaniels, whose selection of Tim Tebow is looking better every day, might just be the offensive fix the Chiefs need.
But has he learned enough in one season away from Denver to make the adjustments he'd need to make if the Chiefs gave him a second chance as a head coach? I'd say that's too early to tell.
We've heard McDaniels wants out of St. Louis and we all know the connection that McDaniels has to Pioli. It's so strong that had Todd Haley not gotten in the way last January when Charlie Weis left the Chiefs, McDaniels would have taken KC's offensive coordinator job.
So is this the right guy?
I'd say no. The Chiefs need a veteran head coach who can whip the team into shape and the fans need a big name to believe in.
3. Bill Cowher – This is the name on the mind of every Chiefs fan. If you polled 1,000 fans, Cowher would easily have at least 900 votes. The route to convincing Cowher to return to Kansas City, where his roots as a coach planted, appears costly.
The Chiefs would have to give Cowher Scott Pioli money. That means a contract north of the $6-7 million range. Secondly, they'd have to stave off his desire to coach in New York where some have told us he'd prefer to end up.
I wouldn't rule out Marty's return to the sidelines but that would likely be Hunt's call, not Pioli's.
Still, if the Chiefs are serious about rebuilding their fan base and season ticket sales, which we're told are lower than what Carl Peterson inherited when he took over in 1989, Cowher is the only choice for the Chiefs.
4. Jon Gruden – Name one AFC West diehard who wouldn't want to see Jon Gruden come to the Chiefs. His work in Oakland was legendary and resulted in a Super Bowl win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gruden has always been my top choice to replace Haley. However, we've been told that the NFL job he covets the most rests in San Diego. Reports are that the Chargers are going to dump Norv Turner at season's end so that would leave a vacancy for Gruden.
Gruden currently has a sweet deal with ESPN, who just signed him to a contract extension for their Monday Night games. But the lure of coaching in the NFL probably is too much for him to pass up.
Let's hope the Chiefs can at least get on his radar.
5. Kirk Ferentz – Pioli and Ferentz are close friends. We know their history and it would be naïve for anyone to think the two men haven't spoken about "what if scenarios" concerning the head coaching job in Kansas City.
As the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Ferentz has done a remarkable job running a clean shop that produces NFL-ready athletes. In fact, had the lure of the Chiefs job come at a different time, I think Pioli would have offered the job to his friend before he extended an offer to Haley.
I only mention Ferentz because I believe he's a long shot. But based on the fact he and Pioli have a strong bond, you'd have to take him seriously as a candidate. So for purposes of what we've been told, let's agree that at this point he's certainly in the mix.
Kansas City's Next Head Coach Part II
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Who do you want as head coach?
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