It's getting to be that time of year in the NFL.
As the regular season starts to wind down, speculation builds both about the fate of embattled head coaches such as Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers and who could potentially replace them.
Among the names that come up every year is former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, who has recently been linked to the head coaching vacancy at the University of Tennessee.
According to Nate Davis of USA Today, Gruden shot down those rumors, but that doesn't mean we can't do some speculating of our own. So here's a look at a handful of teams that will probably be giving the ESPN analyst a call this offseason.
Granted, this one, like many of the teams on this list, calls for an assumption or two.
However, given how the season has progressed to this point, I don't think it's a huge stretch to assume that the New York Jets nightmarish 2012 season will culminate in head coach Rex Ryan being shown the door.
If that happens, owner Woody Johnson is going to want to make a "big splash" with his next head coach, and hiring a former Super Bowl champion would certainly fit that bill.
Whether Gruden would want any part of the three-ring circus that is the New York Jets is another matter altogether.
According to the USA Today article I referenced earlier, part of the compensation package that Jon Gruden would reportedly receive as head coach at Tennessee is an ownership stake in the Cleveland Browns.
I hear they need a head coach too.
Getting Gruden to coach up the Browns' young offensive talent would be a huge coup for owner Jimmy Haslam, and a Gruden hire would no doubt be a huge hit with the long-suffering fans in Cleveland.
That's why it will never happen. As a Browns fan, I am succinctly aware that the universe expressly forbids us from being happy.
The scariest part about this one is that it's possible that the San Diego Chargers won't fire Norv Turner, even after another disappointing season.
I'm guessing Turner got his hands on some compromising photos or something.
With that said, assuming that Turner gets the boot, the Chargers could appeal to Gruden for a number of reasons, including a fair amount of talent on offense and the opportunity to beat the Oakland Raiders twice a year.
Don't think that wouldn't make Chucky smile.
There are more than a few reasons why the Dallas Cowboys coaching vacancy could appeal to Jon Gruden if Jason Garrett is let go after the season.
In fact, there are millions and millions of reasons.
Not only would Jerry Jones be willing to pay Gruden very handsomely to leave the broadcast booth, but there's no denying that there are precious few coaching gigs in the NFL with the cachet that goes with being head man in Big D.
Unfortunately, it also means working for Jones, and I don't know that Gruden would have any inclination to put himself through that particular wringer.
It appears that the long tenure of Andy Reid is about to end in the City of Brotherly Love, and you can bet that when the Philadelphia Eagles begin a search for a new head coach, Jon Gruden's name will come up.
As well it should. Both coaches are proponents of the West Coast offense who worked together under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, so the transition from Reid to Gruden wouldn't necessitate a sea change on offense.
However, that may also be the biggest stumbling block to Gruden landing in Philly, as Chucky could easily have serious reservations about replacing his old friend in the Pennsylvania pressure cooker.