Next up is Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts.
1975-1977 Virginia Tech (GA)
1978-1980 Mississippi State (RB/WR)
1981-1982 Alabama (RB)
1983-1988 Temple (HC)
1989-1992 Kansas City Chiefs (RB)
1993-1995 Mississippi State (OC)
1996 New Orleans Saints (TE)
1997 Alabama (OC)
1998-2000 Indianapolis Colts (QB)
2001-2003 Cleveland Browns (OC)
2004-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers (WR)
2007-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers (OC)
2012-present Indianapolis Colts (OC/interim HC)
Why he could work
As you can see from the resume, Arians has tons of experience at every level of the game. He reached 3 Super Bowls as with the Steelers, winning one when he offensive coordinator. He has head coaching experience locally from running the Temple program for 5 years. Most recently, he was thrust into the head coaching job of the Colts after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia and led them to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth just one year removed from being the worst team in the NFL.
And if you think Arians' success this season was all about Andrew Luck being there... Take a look back at that wild card game and see how Luck fared with Arians calling plays for him. Contrast that with what Luck did against New England & Green Bay. It's hard to say Arians wasn't a big part of that.
In fact, you'd be even more likely to believe that he was a big part of Luck's success if you look at some of the other QBs he's been involved in developing.
For instance... who was Peyton Manning's QB coach in his first 3 seasons? Bruce Arians.
Who was Ben Roethlisberger's offensive coordinator in his only 2 Pro Bowl seasons? Bruce Arians.
But if you don't find any of that compelling, how about we take a look at a couple of guys who have hired Arians in his career. I bet you'll recognize the names.
Bill Cowher & Bear Bryant.
This season, the Colts finished 10th in the NFL in total offense, up from 30th last year. His time in charge of the Steelers offense was a bit mixed, but they got better as he was there and really were only ranked low once.
2007 - 17th
2008 - 21st (won SB)
2009 - 7th
2010 - 14th (lost SB)
2011 - 12th
Even more importantly, the Steelers were successful. They had a winning season every year that Arians was in charge of the offense and compiled a 55-25 record.
Why he may not be the guy
Typically, when owners look for a head coach, they have this idea that he'll lead their franchise for the next 10 years. That almost never actually happens, but it makes sense that this is their intention. Arians is almost certainly not going to be that guy. He's 60 years old. Maybe that turns Lurie off, maybe not.
There's also the same concern as with a guy like Mike Zimmer. If you been in the league this long and have this great resume... Why haven't you gotten a head gig already? There's a bunch of job openings every year, has the league really just overlooked these guys?
I came away really impressed with Arians after doing the research for this. He really has everything you look for. He's got some head coaching experience, he's been a part of winning organizations, he's worked under great head coaches and he's shown a knack for developing young QBs.
K Adam Vinateri, who would know a thing or 2 about good head coaches, endorsed Arians as a head coach.
‘He stepped in in a real difficult situation and did it exceptionally well,’’ kicker Adam Vinatieri said. ‘‘The way he game-planned all week, the way he coached on the field, the pregame and postgame meetings — it just seemed like he had done it before. He was very natural and comfortable in that role.
‘‘He’s got great leadership skills. He gets guys to play well. He gets guys motivated. The thing I like about him is he’s an aggressive coach. He’s not scared. And I appreciate coaches that go like that because they’re trying to win games.’’
One final note, as with all of these coordinator candidates, it's important that they be able to get a strong coordinator of their own to run the side of the ball they are less experienced in. Arians would seemingly have a pretty good pipeline to find defensive talent. Not only did he spend 7 years with the Steelers, but he has a connection to the Ravens defensive guys through Chuck Pagano. You would think he'd be able to find someone good with those kind of connections.
As for the age thing, I get it. But look at it this way... if he spent 5 successful seasons here, would anyone care? That's an eternity in the NFL. If he's the best candidate right now, I think it's kind of ridiculous to think his age would prevent him from getting the job. Tom Coughlin was 58 when he took over the Giants, he's 66 now and still rolling.
As I'm sure you can guess, I really like Arians and would really have no qualms about him being the next Eagles coach.