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Let the Eagles’ Head Coaching Speculation Commence!

Nov 8, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

With most observers feeling fairly certain these days that Andy Reid’s time is running out with the Eagles, the head coaching Christmas lists are starting to come out.

Earlier this week, Sean Payton’s name popped up when it was revealed the NFL never approved his contract extension with the Saints. The likelihood that Payton will be a candidate anywhere other than New Orleans is low. However, a new report emerged on Thursday that directly tied the Birds to another former Super-Bowl winning coach. Hint: he’s a popular TV broadcaster.

FOX 29′s Howard Eskin Tweeted that Monday Night Football color commentator Jon Gruden is itching to get back on the sidelines, and suggested Eagles brass may have an interest because the current crop of assistant coaches lacks punch.

Gruden, of course, was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator organization for three years during the Ray Rhodes era, before moving on to become the head coach in Oakland in ’98. The Raiders traded Gruden to Tampa Bay in ’02, where he promptly won the Super Bowl in his first season. He was with the Bucs until ’08, and has not coached since.

Gruden would be both an intriguing choice, and a major departure from the current situation. Reid is far more laid-back than Gurden, who gained some notoriety for the scowl that earned him the nickname “Chucky,” like the killer doll from the move Child’s Play.

If the Eagles intended to hit the ground running with a new head coach though, Gruden might be just the man for the job. He took a Tony Dungy-led Bucs team that could never quite get over the hump, and with minimal changes, had them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy immediately. However, over time, Gruden’s decision making resulted in a systematic dismantling of the roster, and they won more than nine games only once in the next six seasons.

Overall, Gruden has a 95-81 record as a head coach, 5-4 during the postseason. And he has a ring, so you could do a lot worse. Then again, that may also work to his detriment if he wants the job, as no head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams.

Still, his name was bound to come up sooner rather than later, and actually has with great frequency in our forums for years. If there is any truth to the fact that Gruden would like to coach again, he would have no shortage of suitors, that’s for sure. However, he recently signed a big extension with ESPN, and when pressed on the matter, has proclaimed repeatedly that he enjoys the current gig.

As for Payton, he’ll likely just hammer out a new deal with the Saints, who are happy to have him, and where he is happy to be. I mean, who would you rather coach: Michael Vick or Drew Brees? Plus, Payton can’t negotiate with another team until after the Super Bowl, and it would be bold to wait that long before making a hire.

However, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and Gruden probably won’t be the last name TV analyst mentioned, either. Sooner or later, you know somebody is going to link Bill Cowher to the Eagles’ job. That is, if it’s going to be vacant, obviously…