With six (and possibly more) NFL head-coaching vacancies, the offseason coaching carousel already is spinning at full speed.
This year, like every year, the next wave of head coaches will come from three primary categories: (1) former NFL head coaches; (2) current college coaches; and (3) current NFL coordinators.
Technically other categories exist, like former college coaches (e.g., Barry Switzer), current NFL non-coordinator assistant coaches (e.g., John Harbaugh), and current CFL coaches (Marc Trestmant). But most jobs will be filled by one of the three primary categories.
Given the copycat nature of the NFL, recent successes and failures will influence current hires. Andy Reid’s transformation of the Chiefs into a contender will attract owners to other men who coached past teams to Super Bowl appearances, like Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt, and Jim Caldwell. The success of Chip Kelly in Philly will keep the college path in play, after guys like Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino pushed the pendulum the other way.
Coordinators without head-coaching experience entail a high degree of risk, along with the potential for a significant reward. This year, former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy took the Chargers to the playoffs with no head-coaching experience. But for every McCoy, there are several Brad Childresses.
Some teams fire coaches knowing precisely whom they want to hire. Others will take anyone other than the guy they have.
Regardless of how the seats are filled, the music already is playing.