We see it every single season.
The day after the Super Bowl has become notoriously known as “Black Monday,” the day that NFL head coaches lose their jobs. If a team has failed miserably, even the general manager can be nixed. But this isn’t about GMs, let’s talk coaches.
Every year, we see more and more assistants get their long-awaited shot at a head coaching position. Look at this season for example, five out of the seven new head coaches were an offensive or defensive coordinator in 2013. New Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and new Redskins head coach Jay Gruden are two guys who have been hot commodities for quite a while now.
On that note, let’s take a look at the top-10 NFL assistants who are most likely to be a head coach sometime in the near future.
10. Jack Del Rio
Sure, he was a head coach before, and I’ll tell you what, he’ll be one soon again. Despite a so-so head coaching career with the Jaguars, Del Rio has shown he’s capable of being the top dog while serving as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.
While the defensive unit finished in the middle of the pack in 2013, they lost five very important starters to injured reserve—including star linebacker Von Miller who also was absent during the first six games due to suspension. In 2012, not only did the Broncos tie for first in the league in sacks, but they finished in the top five in nearly every defensive category.
While Broncos head coach John Fox was in the hospital undergoing heart surgery, Del Rio led the team to a 3-1 record as the interim head coach in Fox’s absence. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Broncos defense held Marshawn Lynch to just 39 yards and Robert Turbin to 25.
Del Rio will get his shot again, it’s just a matter of when.
9. Dave Taub
You don’t always hear about special team’s coaches all that often, but Dave Taub is the exception.
The former Chicago Bears and current Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator is generating a lot of interest as a head coach. In just a single season, Taub turned around the Chiefs’ special teams unit into one of the top three in the entire league. During his tenure with the Bears, each year, the special teams unit finished in the top five of the NFL, taking the top spot in ’06 and ’07.
Taub also sent five different players to a total of eight Pro Bowls while with the Bears. Also during his time in Chicago, the Bears led the NFL in blocked kicks (24), punt return yards (4,143), punt return touchdowns (15), combined return yardage (punts and kicks – 17, 031) and yards allowed per return (6.8). Don’t forget, special teams coaches don’t get the Megatron’s and Andrew Luck of each position, they get the back-ups and third-stringers.
Taub’s success says a lot about him and how he can get the best out of whoever he has to work with and about his ability to carve out the best bottom half of the roster as possible. And while it’s not common, jumping from special teams coordinator to head coach has been done and with success I might add–see John Harbaugh.