Cowher, Gruden linked to Dolphins job

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With Dolphins coach Tony Sparano’s days numbered and owner Stephen Ross reportedly looking for a superstar, the list of potential candidates is nearly as small as the number of games the Dolphins have won on their home field since December 2009.  Short of luring Bill Belichick or Sean Payton or Mike Tomlin or Mike McCarthy — all of whom are under contract with other teams and beyond all doubt not available — to town, the list would consist of three names:  Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, and Jon Gruden.  (The only other coach to win a Super Bowl in the last decade not named Belichick, Gruden, Cowher, Dungy, Tomlin, Payton, or McCarthy is Tom Coughlin.)

Dungy consistently has said he’s not returning, and based on the time I spend with him every weekend at dinner on Saturday night and all day on Sunday, I completely believe that.  So it’s down to Cowher or Gruden.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross “apparently” has his eyes on Cowher and Gruden, and that Cowher and Gruden could be interested.

“Both Cowher and Gruden have quietly planted seeds that they would like to return to coaching and are more than open to listening to an offer from Miami owner Stephen Ross,” Cole writes.  “According to two sources in and around the team, former Dolphins quarterback and current CBS studio analyst Dan Marino has been telling Dolphins management that Cowher, an analyst partner, is geared up for a return.  Cowher is also close with Ross confidant Carl Peterson.”

Cole says that Gruden, who signed an “exclusive” five-year deal with ESPN that kicks in next year that apparently doesn’t preclude him from returning to coaching, “told more than a few folks” while in Miami for the Week One game between the Patriots and Dolphins “that he’ll be ready to go next offseason.”  (Last year, Gruden’s son blurted out that the former Raiders and Bucs coach could be coming back to the game in 2012.)

Mike Freeman of takes it one step farther.  He reports that the Dolphins already have contacted Cowher through intermediaries.  Cowher has refused to discuss any jobs that currently are filled, and Peter King recently reported that Cowher’s primary factor in picking a new team will be whether and to what extent he believes he can win.

The ability to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck may not be enough.  With the salary cap back in place, Cowher would need to assess the full roster, and he’d need to analyze whether and to what extent players who need to go can be dumped without creating the kind of cap havoc that could make it hard to acquire competent replacements.

Regardless, it’s not hard to compile a list of “superstar” NFL coaches.  With no potential Jim Harbaughs in the college ranks and with Dungy staying put at NBC, it’s Cowher and Gruden.

108 responses to “Cowher, Gruden linked to Dolphins job

  1. saying he only wants to go to a team that can win makes him sound like a front runner scumbag like Deon Sanders. If there is a head coaching vacancy it is because the team is bad and needs help. That should be the challange not jumping on a team that is already a winner like Gruden did.

  2. Don’t get Dungy unless the signing includes Peyton Manning. Gruden has apparently never met a player he isn’t in awe of. They need to get Rex Ryan….they could have won the last couple Super Bowls if they had him.

  3. what about jeff fisher? i would like to see him as a candidate for the miami job. he has yet to win a superbowl so he is still hungry to get that ring.

  4. Gruden would be a bad hire.

    Dolphins fans would have to adjust to a veteran stop-gap after veteran stop-gap.

    Gruden can’t work with young QBs.

  5. I think Jeff Fisher should be at the top of the list, but Ross is too stupid to see why. I rather have a coach with his experience who came within inches of winning a superbowl rather than a less hungry coach who already won one.

  6. Cowher will end up being the Colts coach. The offense he is comfortable with is the base that is run in Indy. Bruce Arians was qb coach with the Colts before his o.c. position with Cleveland and Pittsburgh. As Peter King said, Bill wants to be somewhere where he can win right away. That can be done in Indy easily. The only issue will be control of the roster. That could be worked out.

  7. If Gruden were the coach you know there would be at least 9 QBs on the payroll, with Cowher you know there would be a collection of guys who want to win at football while kicking serious butt on the way.

  8. Chuckie vs The Chin? File that under nobody cares. I hope I’m not alone on this, but it seems everytime a coaching position opens up these two names are always mentioned and again they allegedly “pass” on the job. What are these guys waiting for Belichick to drop dead so they can inherit a dynasty? Thats why guys like Jim Harbaugh deserve all the credit in the world.



  9. Gee, there are lots more “superstar” coaches with NFL experience to choose from, all of whom can guarantee success:

    1. Spurrier?
    2. Saban?
    3. Kiffin?
    4. Petrino?

    See what I mean? Neither Cowher nor Gruden will sign up with Miami, not as long as Ross is wont to pull tricks like he did with Jim Harbaugh, and not as long as the team has no strong player foundation. Ross will have to choose from some other list.

  10. Gruden just got a boatload of cash to stay on MNF and Cowher has said time after time that he is not going to go back to coaching just to go back to coaching…and lets face it, who really wants to coach this team??..

  11. Cowher, winning in Miami is like beating a real Dolphin in a swimming match.


    you can’t do it.

    Seriously though, all is possible. Look at my Niners….kudos to you if you pull if off.

  12. If Cowher wants to win now, the Miami job makes ZERO sense. They are several years away from rebuilding, and don’t even have a QB. Not to mention, the rest of the division keeps getting better.

  13. I’ll do it and for a lot less money.

    Excuse me while I go practice throwing my headset on the ground and screaming at the ref…….

  14. I can’t see Cowher going to a team who’s talent pool is so shallow. I don’t take him as a rebuilder … merely a reloader. I’d be surprised if he didn’t go to a team that is either already a contender or only a part or two away.

    The Dolphins don’t fall into either category.

  15. please tell me you don’t consider tony dungheap an elite coach, Rex Ryan would have won multiple superbowls with peyton manning…just ask him.

  16. Just how did Dungy get on that list? It’s obvious more than ever that Peyton Manning is the primary reason the Colts were successful while Dungy was head coach. Even then, he only won a single SB with one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. Few will argue that the Colts underachieved while Dungy coached the Colts.

  17. Hands down if I am making the decision….Cowher. While I like Gruden he is second fiddle to Cowher. No matter it is three years for that franchise to make it back to respectability.

  18. Why is cower’s name always being tossed around as a candidate? It took him ten years to get Pittsburgh’s ring. They’d be better off continuing to try to find that diamond in threw rough

  19. Hopefully Gruden gets it so we don’t have to hear him talk and talk and talk and talk on MNF anymore

  20. We all know the Dolphins stink…so why not try this? Hire a new coach and draft Luck. In the offseason, cut all of the “fat” from the roster in one year. Yes, that’s a huge salary cap chunk. That means you’ll be bad this year and next year, too. But, at that point, you’ve got a coach like Cower (or Gruden), a franchise QB, and two years in a row drafting near the top. It would only work with a good group of football people (unlike Matt Millen drafting in the top 5 every year), but I might try it with Gruden or Cower.

  21. after the chargers lose to the chiefs this week they SHOULD be throwing the chargers name in there as candidates for cowher and gruden. norv should be on the hot seat. i don’t understand why they don’t talk about that. He blows big games consistently. I don’t know any other coach that screws up as much as norv and still gets to keep thier job. F norv

  22. gruden will get a good look at the chargers monday night when they lose and everyone starts calling for norvs head

  23. what established coach would want to take over the worst team by far in a division with BB and even Rex Ryan and even Chan Gailey’s Bills who are improving and most likely will be in contention for a play off spot. Cowher’s record against BB is awful and never won a game in the playoffs. The one SB Cowher won, the Steelers did not have to play NE, unlike 01 and 04.
    These coaches know they can’t hold BBs jock or even Ryan’s sock so why would they do it? If anything I’d bet my $$ on Mangini becoming Miami coach because he has nothing to lose after failing twice and everything to gain if he has even moderate success against NE and NYJ.

  24. Cowher has said that its not about the money he wants to win now. So u can most likely cross his name off

  25. ijahru says:

    saying he only wants to go to a team that can win makes him sound like a front runner scumbag like Deon Sanders.

    Dude, Cowher didn’t say that. Peter King from SI said that. So get off the Chin’s back.


    usmutts says:

    Gee, there are lots more “superstar” coaches with NFL experience to choose from, all of whom can guarantee success:

    1. Spurrier?
    2. Saban?

    Oh, I can safely guarantee that Nick Saban will not be coaching the Dolphins next season 😀 The fans there don’t want him … and they can’t have him. ROLL TIDE!!!

  26. What’s with all the Dungy hate? The man completely turned around Tampa Bay. Gruden doesn’t win his superbowl if not for Dungy.

  27. With Peterson in Miami, It could be Cowher. But doesnt he want more control? Kansas City is also in play. Gruden – I would say Miami or Tampa Bay. Jacksonville is going to need a coach next year and for the move to L.A. Where will Fischer end up?

  28. cowher giants
    gruden philly
    fisher miami
    that leaves houston, SD, KC, arizona, jax, indy,chicago, to fill, let the games begin

  29. Seriously: Why would Cowher or Gruden wish to return to a talent-poor team such as Miami?

    Each is in demand so that more attractive future openings would likely be chosen instead.

  30. Two names that come to mind besides the ones mentioned in this article are Urban Meyer for obvious reasons and…

    Rob Ryan. Think about the buzz that would cause. The guy is a hell of a coach.

  31. Jeff Fisher is by far the best candidate for this job. His records in Tennessee were second to none until his GM got them in major cap trouble forcing them to get rid of all their good players and their senile owner sticking him with a problem child like Vince Young. Cowher is overrated and Gruden is WAY overrated.

  32. Any coach with a pulse is or will be linked to Miami.

    Ross needs to stop that behind the back garbage. Either fire Tony/name an interim or stop mentioning/questioning potential candidates.

    Cowher may be waiting to see Coughlin’s status in NY. Gruden is interested in anything that gets him publicity. If Reid is let go (assuming Philly underperforms the rest of the year) then I think Gruden heads there. Caldwell is not a good coach and should be let go. Any of the “premiere” coaches would take Indy as long as Manning is capable of playing–unless Tressel has the inside track due to his “job” as TV watcher/replay challenge suggester. Fisher was not mentioned in the article (no SB) but he is one of the better guys available. Regardless of who it is, they need to be a real leader–not a cheerleader. Hold the players accountable and they have the talent to be a good team.

    Ross is impressed by star power and potential ticket sales. Competency is an afterthought at best. Sadly, the Dolphins owner is incapable of making sound/logical decisions concerning football. Hopefully he will come to realize that a fundamentally sound and well coached team will produce wins. That is the only way to get and maintain ticket sales.

  33. Gruden can win the big one, if you give a good team to start with, but the Dolphins are not a good team!

    Cowher can get you a Ring by like 2026!

    Good luck with that!

  34. sfwillis52 says: Oct 25, 2011 9:53 PM

    I hope Gruden gets the job just so I don’t have to hear him talk on Monday Night Football anymore
    But seriously. If I couldn’t have seen the score of the Lions game, I would’ve assumed Jay Cutler had run up 60 points and 500 yards. Every throw he was the greatest player alive.

  35. Maybe I’m not the 1st to say this……..

    Cowher is done coaching.

    He’s made MORE than enough money for his great grand kids to live comfortably, & he’s making a handsome salary talking about the game.

    He’s done coaching.

    He’s the next Madden.

    He will NEVER coach again in the NFL.

  36. Why would want Dungy anyways?
    He is a failure coach, He could not win without Manning.. He is also a failure as a father.
    I hate Dungy this scum bag goes out of his way to tell players not to go to the raiders..
    He also thinks Mike Vick did nothing wrong..

  37. This Ross guy is starting to sound like the Dan Synder by treating his coaches with no respect. AlREADY talking replacements! Fire him first man. And wants overrated head coaches who supposbly can guide in the right direction. What now? Bring Dan Shula out of retirement? Have him coach a few years? Miami in deep stuff. Just to think Sparno lead them to the playoffs and almost won Coach of the Year. Miami has it bad, when will they ever find glory again?

  38. Ya, Gruden a Superstar Coach. He won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungys Team year one and then drove Tampa Bay into the ground while holding much of the control on talent or in his case non talent brought in.

    He was such a Superstar in Tampa he was Fired, the dude is the Paris Hilton of the NFL.

  39. i really think Luck wont want to play for Miami. call me crazy but living in CA and watching him closely, he looks like he may pull an Eli. i would bet on it.

  40. fin72 says:

    Jeff Fisher is by far the best candidate for this job. His records in Tennessee were second to none until his GM got them in major cap trouble forcing them to get rid of all their good players and their senile owner sticking him with a problem child like Vince Young. Cowher is overrated and Gruden is WAY overrated.

    Actually, Fisher’s records in Tennessee were definitely second to Cowher’s because Cowher had the winningest record in the NFL during his 15 years with the Steelers. He made the playoffs 10 times, went to 6 AFC championships, and two Super Bowls. His 8 division championships put him among just six coaches all-time to win seven or more. You don’t know what you’re talking about. But as a Steelers fan who can appreciate what Cowher brings to the table, I’d rather see him with the G-Men, so you’re welcome to Fisher. Enjoy.

  41. HOw come Jon Gruden gets so much more love than Brian Billick? He has a Super Bowl Ring. Sure Kyle Boeller hurt him but at least he tried to develop a project unlike Gruden

  42. Once they inteview Caldwell … I’m sure he will get the job after all he did win 14 games in his first year as coach.

  43. Is there any doubt that Miami has officially opted to Suck For Luck? Honestly, I can’t blame them. Just keep losing and you’ll land the rights to the best NFL prospect in 20 years, which in turn will enable you to land the pick of the litter at head coach.

  44. As a dolphins fan, i will gladly take either of these fireball coaches. These guys don’t cheer insanely for field goals. They are mad about that one field goal the whole game.

  45. PLEASE take Gruden! That would be a double benefit – I wouldn’t have to hear that tool on MNF anymore, and my Patriots would get to face them twice per year. If there is a divinity of football, he/she would make this happen for me… for all of us!

  46. The following scenario doesn’t seem entirely unlikely:

    Tony Sparano and his fashionable shades are shown the door a few days from now, and Bill Cowher takes over.

    He whips the team into shape, so the guys play hard. But they still sort of suck. In the end, the Dolphins go, say, 2-14. The Rams and Colts each go 1-15. The Rams get the first pick due to whatever tiebreaker they use. They can’t bring themselves to draft a QB, but they know Miami is desparate.

    Cowher agrees to swap firsts in 2012 (first and third picks in the first round), along with giving up Miami’s 2012 second-round pick and Miami’s 2013 second-round pick.

    Risky but perhaps worth it. That is, if Luck is even willing to play for Cowher. Coach Chin doesn’t exactly have a track record of letting his QB sling the ball around.

  47. Haven’t the Dolphins learned their lesson about ‘superstar’ hires after Parcells basically destroyed the entire franchise?

    Why is Jeff Fishers name not being mentioned? It makes me doubt the veracity of this “news item” Way better chance he winds in Miami before Cowher or Gruden.

    When anyone starts jawing about hiring a star coach that’s been out of the league a few years, it reminds me of George Seifert’s disastrous tenure with the Panthers.

    How bout Marty Schottenheimer? That gig in Virginia must be going great. Hey, maybe they can spring Bum Phillips from his nursing home.

  48. I live here(from Dallas) These “fans” sing suck for luck songs on am radio. Cant show up for UM, Miami Heat, Marlins or Dolphin games. Seriously, nobody can rescue this city from futility. No one cares here. Lebron, Wade and Bosh cant even fill this place up in a small arena. U could put Montana, Rice, Barry Sanders, 85 Bears D, and Steve Tasker(u know, for special teams)and it doesn’t matter. Come for the weather and women. If u want a legacy or to continue one, go to ny, phi, boston, dallas, wash, gb, minn, chi, hell even kc…anywhere else. The fans here are terrible.
    And if u live here and give a thumbs down ur a joke. U know this town is crap for sports or uv never lived in a good sports town.

  49. Heck, at this point, if you REALLY want to put butts in the seats, why not consider talking Dan Marino into coaching the team. They couldn’t possibly do any worse if he were to fail. Think about it, worst case senario and the Phins under Marino are 0-6 at this point again next year, what have we lost? Nothing, but I’ll bet the franchise is a whole lot richer for the effort. Fans will say this is a very stupid idea, but I’ll bet they still buy tickets up.

    One guy said, why not hire Rob Ryan? I say why the hell not!? Can you imagine the rivalry between the Phins and the Jets in this situation!? Not to mention the fact that the Phins need to get a whole lot meaner and nastier then they’ve been as of late. It doesn’t get any more of both than those filthy Ryan brothers, ya digg!?

  50. huejackson says: Oct 25, 2011 10:56 PM

    Why would want Dungy anyways?
    He is a failure coach, He could not win without Manning.. He is also a failure as a father.
    I hate Dungy this scum bag goes out of his way to tell players not to go to the raiders..
    He also thinks Mike Vick did nothing wrong..


    Bitter much? There’s no call for you to say things like that about this man that you know NOTHING about just because he (correctly) intuited that your team’s FO was a mess.

  51. Please let it be Gruden. He has made Monday Night football unwatchable is is SO bad in the broadcast booth. Just terrible.

  52. snnyjcbs says:
    Oct 25, 2011 11:05 PM
    Ya, Gruden a Superstar Coach. He won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungys Team year one and then drove Tampa Bay into the ground while holding much of the control on talent or in his case non talent brought in.

    He was such a Superstar in Tampa he was Fired, the dude is the Paris Hilton of the NFL.

    Translation; He’s telegenic, and I’m a hater.

  53. In my opinion, aiming only for a “superstar” coach is lazy hiring. Why not roll up your sleeves and seriously interview real candidates, looking for someone who brings innovation to TODAY’S game, and shows real leadership, drive and enthusiasm needed to completely rebuild a team from scratch? The big names in the game today (Payton, McCarthy and Tomlin) got there by rising through the ranks and showing they were ready for their break. Too easy to rattle off names that succeeded years ago and think they will capture lightning in a bottle again. Outside of Dick Vermeil, its hard to find anyone who took time away and came back for an “Act II” that was successful.

  54. I’m surprised more people aren’t saying this, Rob Ryan will be the coach for the dolphins next year. Season tickets will fly off the shelves

  55. If they do hire old “ass-chin”, I wonder if it will be on the condition they first get rid of the cheerleaders and then create a dorky looking mascot that resembles him, just like his last team did?

    After all, what man wouldn’t rather watch a real “cool” mascot instead of some “icky” cheerleaders?

  56. Bill Cowher will be the next coach of the LA Vikings. They have purposefully gone for short term veteran signings, and have positioned themselves nicely for next season’s salary cap (remember the rumours that they were setting themselves up to sign Larry Fitzgerald next year before he signed that extention). This team could seriously contend if they are able to attract a No.1 WR, a couple of competent DBs in FA, and perhaps draft a new LT.

  57. For Cowher, it’s not just about how long it would take to fix the roster. The composition of the division is also key. The AFC East makes no sense.

  58. you know what would be good? If Rob Ryan got the job and he could go head-to-head twice a year with his brother. I know no-one wants to see another Ryan head coach (isn’t one enough) but it would make for good TV.

  59. that would be ok… if Cowher took the job that means it would take about 16 years for the phins to win the super bowl… Cowher gets a lot of play about how great he is, and he is good but idk, he isnt the be all end all.
    i think it has more to do with Pittsburgs Fo, and organization.

    as far as gruden goes, he isperfect for a team with no control and is desperate for a one or two year shake up… Tampa was a lax atmosphere with Dungy and he went there to stir the pot…. the won but fell apart right after..

  60. No way Cowher goes to Miami because he’s not going to win in that division. This is the guy who only won 1 ring with Steelers teams that were stacked for years.

  61. Well, lets see…
    1) Ross likes name brand coaches – see the failed Harbaugh incident last January.
    2) Ross likes name brand minority owners – his failed thinking that JLo, Fergie and the Williams sisters azzes would put butts in the seats at the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie.
    3) Jason Cole is a former SFL beat writer who was a hack then and still is…(a member of the High-Fivegate troup)
    4) Gruden and Cowher are name brand coaches.

    Now, using my slide rule to add these facts up, any idiot could have come to the same conclusion. So, Mr. Cole…thanks for stating to us the obvious…you sure had to work hard for that….

  62. I think cowher would rather take his talents to south beach than to indianapolis. Indy is nice and all and its got weather but its not miami.

  63. I’m no Tony Dungy fan, but I assume those of you giving credit to Peyton Manning for his SuperBowl win also credit Dungy for Gruden’s ring. You think Belichick gets any rings without Brady? Nope.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  64. It seems few people give a lot of credit to Cowher or Tomlin for the Steelers success. While Noll did get enshrined he never was given the same accolades as Landry or Shula or Madden or Walsh, etc., etc. Who is responsible for Pittsburgh being the best team in the NFL for the past 40 years. The Rooney’s? Then what about the 40 years before that?

  65. I just read barely a week ago Chuckie extended his ESPN contract by 5 years, so either we’re all missing something or his ESPN contract will be bought out – provided he even entertains the though of coaching the Dolphins.

    The Jaw would be a nice fit also. Bottom line is somebody’s got to step up – Sparano can’t get the job done.

  66. Wasn’t Gruden fired? Didn’t Cowher take 15 years to win a SB and then do a fade out on his team?

    Is anyone really excited about either of these guys? Gruden couldn’t pick a QB to save his life (or his job). Didn’t Cowher try to sell everyone on Kordell Stewart?

    Doesn’t anyone do their homework anymore?

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