Ten years ago today, the Redskins’ search for a new head coach revolved around guys like Ray Rhodes and some other retreads who had been fired as head coaches at least once. At least that was what we knew during the search for Steve Spurrier’s replacement.
But on the evening of January 7, 2004 word began to leak out that the legendary Joe Gibbs had agreed to return to coach the Redskins. The move sent Redskins Nation sky high, in part because it so totally unexpected.
There are currently 11 names on the known Redskins’ coaching search list and a few more usual suspects who could be added to the mix. By now we all know who those coaches are, a collection of NFL coordinators with a college coach or two sprinkled in there.
But in meetings with reporters last week Bruce Allen made it clear that the list of potential Redskins head coaches that he is working from is longer than the one that we know of.
If there are several unknown candidates under serious consideration we have the potential for a shocker like we saw 10 years ago.
Of course, it couldn’t be exactly the same as the return of Gibbs. There isn’t going to be a Gibbs 3.0. There is no other former Redskins coach out there who would take the job, much less elicit a positive fan reaction.
How about a former coach from another team? At this point, with all of his denials, Bill Cowher would be a stunning hire. Ditto for Jon Gruden.
Or maybe a shocker could come out of the college ranks. Bob Stoops of Oklahoma has been tied to the Browns job although the team has refuted the story. Could he get a call from the Redskins? Could David Shaw of Stanford, Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M or Art Briles of Baylor recant their recent pledges to stay in place and make the jump to the Redskins?
The thing is, we could go on for a few thousand words here and throw names out and still not hit on who the stunning surprise hire might end up being. That’s the definition of a stunner, something that absolutely nobody on the outside sees coming.
And, by definition, it’s unlikely that we will have a shocking ending to the Redskins coaching search. Take your pick of the usual suspects and you’ll probably be right.
Probably. But be prepared, anything is possible.