Teams eyeing Saban, Stoops

If an NFL job was to open tomorrow, the following men are most likely to be rumored as candidates.

Updated: June 17, 2004, 8:06 AM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
When the 2004 NFL season kicks off in September seven new head coaches will be roaming the sidelines. Each year, one of the hot topics from December through February is the firing and hiring of head coaches.

While it is far too early to project which jobs will become available at the end of the upcoming season, several coaches enter the year on the "hot seat", including Marty Schottenheimer (Chargers), Dave Wannstedt (Dolphins), Butch Davis (Browns), Herm Edwards (NY Jets), Jim Haslett (Saints), Mike Tice (Vikings) and even Mike Martz (Rams).

Below is a breakdown of some of the top candidates likely to be mentioned if and when any of the 32 NFL head coaching positions become available next winter. Naturally, retread head coaches (such as Jim Fassel and Dick Jauron) will join the mix, but the following list includes only candidates with no recent NFL head coaching experience.

The list is broken down into two categories -- current NFL coordinators and current college head coaches. The dilemma that owners and general managers often encounter is whether to take a chance on a coordinator who lacks head coaching experience or a college head coach unfamiliar with the NFL landscape.

With most of the big name candidates from the past couple of years (Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs, Steve Mariucci, Tom Coughlin, Dennis Green, Dennis Erickson and Norv Turner) already locked up, there are few legitimate candidates available with head coaching experience.

The other problem that organizations face is the increasing notoriety enjoyed by college football coaches. While some college coaches -- ie. Steve Spurrier -- will always have an itch to see if they can succeed at the highest level, more coaches are now realizing that it's easier to create a stable environment on the collegiate level -- i.e. Al Groh.

If a job was to open in one of the 32 NFL cities tomorrow, the following men are most likely to be rumored as candidates to fill the void.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer