For the first time in 14 years, the Philadelphia Eagles are searching for a new head coach.
They haven't been in the market since 1999, when they tabbed Green Bay quarterbacks coach Andy Reid to replace Ray Rhodes. Reid was one of four candiates the Eagles interviewed, along with Dom Capers, Jim Haslett and Willie Shaw. At the time, Capers had just been fired as Carolina's head coach, Haslett was Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator and Shaw was Oakland's defensive coordinator.
Capers is now Green Bay's defensive coordinator, Haslett his Washington's defensive coordinator and Shaw is out of football.
They passed on high-profile contenders such as Brian Billick and Gary Kubiak. Billick, who is now a TV analyst, was hired by Baltimore in 1999 and won a Super Bowl the following season. Kubiak now has Houston on the brink of reaching one this season.
So who will be the Eagles' next coach? Will owner Jeffrey Lure and general manager Howie Roseman try to convince Jon Gruden to leave the ESPN booth? Will they grab an NFL assistant such as San Francisco offensive coordinator and Ventnor native Greg Roman or Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer? Will they reach into the college ranks for Oregon's Chip Kelly?
Here's a look at some of the candidates.
FORMER NFL HEAD COACHES
Jon Gruden, 49 - current analyst for ESPN's "Monday Night Football." ... Former head coach with Oakland and Tampa Bay. Led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory in 2002 after beating the Eagles in the NFC championship game. ... Has ties to the Eagles, having served as their offensive coordinator under Rhodes in 1995-1997. ... Signed a five-year extension with ESPN that began this season. ... Not expected to return to coaching.
Tony Dungy, 57 - current analyst for NBC's "Football Night in America." ... Former head coach with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Led the Colts to a Super Bowl season in the 2006 season. Retired as the Colts coach after the 2008 season. ... Considered a defensive guru who created the "Tampa 2" defense. ... Served as a mentor to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after Vick was released from prison in 2009. Was partly responsible for Vick signing with the Eagles. ... Not expected to return to coaching
Bill Cowher, 55 - current analyst for "The NFL Today" on CBS. ... Served as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 seasons (1992-2006). Won the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. ... Retired after the 2006 season with a record of 161-99-1 in regular-season and playoff games. ... Played three seasons for the Eagles (1979, 1983-84) as a special teams player. ... Not expected to return to coaching.
Chip Kelly, 49 - Finishing his fourth season as head coach at Oregon. ... Enters the Fiesta Bowl with a 45-7 record with the Ducks. ... Almost jumped to the NFL before last season, but backed out of a deal to coach Tampa Bay. ... Known for his offensive creativity that included creating a versatile, spread offense at Oregon. ... Eagles will be among several NFL teams pursuing him for their coaching vacancy.
Bill O'Brien, 43 - Finished his first season at Penn State. ... Said to be on the short list of several NFL teams, including Eagles. ... Prior to joining Penn State, spent five seasons (2007-2011) with the New England Patriots. ... Served as the Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011. ... Also coached with Cleveland in 1993-94. ... Is not expected to leave Penn State, but could be persuaded with the right opportunity.
Nick Saban, 61 - Ending his sixth season at Alabama. ... Will be playing Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game. ... Previously won two national titles for the Crimson Tide (2009, 2011) and one with LSU (2003). ... Has NFL head coaching experience, having led the Miami Dolphins for two seasons in 2005-06. After compiling a 15-17 record in two years, he abruptly left the Dolphins to go to Alabama. ... Also served as an assistant with Cleveland and the Houston Oilers. ... Is not expected to leave Alabama, considering he is the highest paid college coach in the country at $5.6 million per year.
CURRENT NFL ASSISTANTS
Greg Roman, 40 - current offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. ... Ventnor native and Holy Spirit High School graduate, grew up as an avid Eagles fan. ... Teamed with head coach Jim Harbaugh to develop one of the league's top offenses. Also worked under Harbaugh at Stanford. ... Previously served as an NFL assistant with Carolina (1995-2001), Houston (2002-2005) and Baltimore (2006). ... Considered among the favorites to land an NFL head coaching job during the offseason.
Perry Fewell, 50 - current defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. ... In his third season with the Giants after previous stops in Jacksonville (1998-2002), St. Louis (2003-04), Chicago (2005), Buffalo (2006-09). ... While with Buffalo, was named the Bills' interim head coach after Dick Jauron was fired in 2009 and guided the team to a 3-4 record.
Mike McCoy, 40 - current offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. ... Top-rated contender for a head coaching vacancy by Sports Illustrated's Peter King. ... Finishing his fourth season as the Broncos' offensive coordinator. ... Spent nine seasons (2000-2008) on Carolina's coaching staff. ... Spent part of the 1995 season on Green Bay's practice squad as a quarterback. Andy Reid was a Packers' assistant at the time.
Mike Pettine, 46 - current defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. ... Bucks County (Pa.) native and former head coach at William Tennent and North Penn high schools. ... Recently turned down a contract extension from the Jets. ... Spent eight seasons as an assistant with Baltimore before joining Rex Ryan's staff in New York in 2009.
Mike Zimmer, 56 - current defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. ... Considered one of the top defensive coaches in the NFL, has been waiting years for an opportunity to become a head coach. ... Has plenty of NFL experience, including stints as a defensive coordinator with Dallas (1994-2006), Atlanta (2007) and the Bengals (2008-present).