As the Jets begin their search for a new head coach, there are any number of directions in which they may go. Guys who have served as head coach in the NFL before can be attractive. They are generally proven commodities. Teams do not have to worry about whether they will pan out. However, these guys come in with their own egos and demand to do things their way. Since they have experienced success in the past, they believe they know the best way to handle things, regardless of whose toes they step on.
Bill Cowher, CBS Studio Analyst
Pros: .623 career winning percentage. A Super Bowl title, two AFC Championships, and six AFC Championship Game appearances. Led a perennial contender for fifteen years. A disciplinarian. Won without an elite quarterback for over a decade before Ben Roethlisberger. Oversaw consistent winner even as free agents constantly defected. Has first hand experience working in the league's most stable franchise.
Cons: Stubbornly sticks to gameplans even when they are not working. Teams play tight in big spots. Lost four AFC Championship Games at home as the higher seed. Has never had the final say on personnel decisions. Will ask for the moon.
Verdict: Cowher is everybody's first choice. As the personnel changed constantly, the only constants in Pittsburgh were Cowher and winning big. He would be a great choice to build a power. He would bring instant credibility to any franchise that signs him. He may not have the best record in big games, but when was the last time the Jets played in one? Getting there is something to be desired. With a ring, Cowher probably will be more relaxed once he gets into that position. There was a major monkey on his back prior to Super Bowl XL in Pittsburgh. The issue is whether he will want to come back. He seems to be enjoying the life of a broadcaster, staying close to the game without the time commitment or stress of coaching. He has such a great track record, the Jets should ask him to name his price.
Bill Parcells, Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Miami Dolphins
Pros: Has turned five franchises from losers into Playoff teams. Coached the most successful Jets team in the last four decades in 1998.Proven motivator. One of the greatest coaches of all-time. Puts together outstanding coaching staffs. Has excellent relationship with Mike Tannenbaum dating from his first stint with the Jets.
Cons: Tends to burn out within four years of taking a job. Has an unhealthy obsession with over the hill veterans who used to play for him. Left the Jets with one of the worst salary cap situations in the league the last time he was in New York. Had progressively less success in each stop he has made.
Verdict: Parcells would be crazy to not use his opt out clause when Wayne Huizenga sells the Dolphins. After his fifth successful rebuilding job took the Dolphins from a single win to division champions within a year, he can name his price on the open market. All Parcells does is make teams better. The Jets should pursue him if Cowher is not interested, and Parcells would probably be interested in returning to his home for his last coaching job.
Marty Schottenheimer, ESPN Football Analyst:
Pros: 200-126-1 career record. Has won Coach of the Year in three different decades. Winning record with three of his four teams.
Cons: 5-13 career record in the Playoffs. Has never been to the Super Bowl. Ultra conservative offensive philosophy. Would probably keep his son as offensive coordinator.
Verdict: Marty would be a good fallback option. Say what you will about his cons. He is a consistent winner. He may struggle in big games, but again, the Jets have not consistently played big games in a long time. His teams may play tight in these big contests, but his struggles are overblown. Some of his issues have just been bad luck like Ernest Byner fumbling on the 1 going in for the winning touchdown in the AFC Championship Game. He would keep Brian Schottenheimer on a tight leash with his playcalls, cutting down on the overrelience on gadgetry and throwing the ball. The issue is control. After a bad relationship with the general manager in San Diego cost him his last job, it might take total authority to land him. Would the Jets really take authority from Mike Tannenbaum to land Marty?
Brian Billick, FOX Football Analyst
Pros: 80-64 career record. Two division titles. Super Bowl XXXV Champion.
Cons: Alleged offensive guru never had a decent offense in Baltimore. Smug and arrogant demeanor could lead to conflict with New York media and unwanted distractions. Some credit his success to Baltimore's general manager, Ozzie Newsome's, eye for talent more than Billick's ability as a coach.
Verdict: His Super Bowl ring will likely put him in the mix. No matter the circumstances, a guy who wins it all is doing something right and is a good coach. He would probably be a decent choice but is enough of a jerk that he would make rooting for the Jets much more difficult.
Jon Gruden, Head Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pros: Built the Raiders into a contender. Won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. Went on to win two more division titles with Tampa with a different team. Had Chris Simms playing well in 2005.
Cons: Just oversaw a collapse worse than that of the Jets.
Verdict: Gruden becoming a contender is dependent on Tampa Bay firing him over their collapse. Any guy who has won big in two spots should be a strong contender.
Mike Holmgren, Head Coach, Seattle Seahawks
Pros: Has taken two teams to the Super Bowl. Won a Vince Lombardi Trophy. Is a noted quarterback guru. Coached Brett Favre early in the quarterback's career and kept him disciplined. Favre won all three of his MVP awards under Holmgren.
Cons: Seems genuinely burnt out. Has stated he wants a year off. It feels like his Seattle teams always underachieved relative to their talent.
Verdict: Holmgren is a very good coach. If Brett Favre's play is the primary consideration, he is the best guy for the job. Given his work developing Favre and Matt Hasselbeck, he would be a nice coach for the young quarterbacks on the roster even if Brett does hang it up. However, he might need a mental holiday. There is a reason he decided to leave a good situation in Seattle.
Steve Mariucci, NFL Network Studio Analyst
Pros: Took the 49ers to within a game of the Super Bowl and led them into and out of cap hell to win the division again with a very different team. Helped develop Brett Favre as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach and still has a tight relationship.
Cons: Could never get over the hump in San Francisco. Was a disaster in his last coaching job with the Lions.
Verdict: Hiring Mariucci would be an indication getting Favre to come back is the organization's top priority. He probably would not be the best choice. Forget about his work with Detroit. That was an impossible situation. If Favre does come back, the last thing he needs is a head coach who will let him do whatever he wants.
Jim Fassel, Westwood One Radio Football Analyst
Pros: Led the Giants to a Super Bowl. Won a pair of division titles in New York. Renowned as an offensive guru as Arizona's offensive coordinator in the 1990's. Has experience dealing with the pressures of New York.
Cons: Oversaw a meltdown for the ages in 2002 Playoffs against Mariucci and San Francisco. His teams were undisciplined at times. Made suspect in game decisions. Some of his gameplans were head-scratching. Fired as Ravens offensive coordinator in his last job in the league.
Verdict: The Jets just fired their coach and could see the team they share a stadium with win a second straight Super Bowl. They are not going to hire a reject from that team who has a number of the same negative qualities as the coach they just fired.