Tom Coughlin, as it turns out, is no longer the leading candidate to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN reports that Coughlin has withdrawn his name from consideration, following up an earlier report that he had emerged as the team's top choice to lead them in 2016 and beyond.Details about why Coughlin believes it's "not the right fit" are scarce, although speculation about the inability to bring members of his former staff to Philadelphia is at the forefront of the decision. Former Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is expected to be promoted to head coach shortly, with a good portion of position coaches staying in their current roles, including defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. McAdoo interviewed with the Eagles earlier in the week, which means two Giant coaches (one former, one current) have spurned their division rival Eagles.
Tom Coughlin was being pursued by the San Francisco 49ers as well, but that vacancy was filled Thursday when the Niners hired former Eagles coach Chip Kelly. It was believed the San Francisco job was the only NFL option Kelly had despite there still being an opening in Tennessee and an obvious connection with quarterback Marcus Mariota. Coughlin had also privately expressed concerns over moving his family across the country, thus opening the door for the Kelly hiring.
Tom Coughlin's age has been a source of discontent for many Eagles fans. He'll turn 70 in August, and one of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie's goals has been stability and longevity on his coaching staff. Chip Kelly's firing after just three seasons, and Coughlin's emergence as a leading candidate, suggests that his patience may be wearing thin. The Eagles have not won a playoff game since 2008 and haven't been to the postseason since Kelly's first year in 2013. Coughlin's resume may include two Super Bowl rings, but he, too, has been absent from postseason play recently. The Giants have missed the playoffs four years in a row now, with the last two ending with regular season losses to, ironically, the Eagles.
Had Coughlin succumbed to the Eagles' pursuit, it would have gone against the grain of Lurie's former hirings. Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, and Chip Kelly were not head coaches in the National Football League before arriving in Philadelphia. Plus, no coach in the history of the NFL has won Super Bowls with two different franchises, suggesting that since Coughlin already hoisted two Lombardi Trophies in New York, he would not in any other city, including Philadelphia.
With Tom Coughlin withdrawing his name from consideration, where does that leave the Eagles? Do keep in mind that Chip Kelly turned down the team's initial offer, only to be wooed enough to change his mind, so anything is possible. But if Coughlin is truly out of the running, the Eagles may only have one option left.According to Pederson himself, his interview with the Eagles "went great." So it may just be a matter of waiting until Kansas City (led by former Eagles head coach Andy Reid) is eliminated from the playoffs. But if the Chiefs advance past this weekend, Lurie may want to open up his search even more. Current offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who served as the team's interim head coach for the regular season finale, may also be the back-burner option after potential candidates Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo, and now Tom Coughlin all declined the opportunity.
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