As the 2012 regular season comes to an end and Black Monday looms on the horizon for dozens of head coaches and general managers alike, we take a look at some ideal replacements for those coaches who already have one foot out the door.
This list is not necessarily a direct reflection of the potential landing spots of the new head coaches in 2013, instead, this is a list designed purely with the intent to show who would be the at the top of the wish-list in terms of coaching candidate replacements for every NFL coach being shown the exit.
Ideal Coach: Urban Meyer, Head Coach at Ohio State
Runner up: Bus Bradley, Defensive Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks
Mike Mularkey will likely only last one year in Jacksonville after producing one of the worst seasons in franchise history with a measly two wins all season. That type of ineptitude is rarely rewarded with return duties, regardless of how brief the opportunity was.
This is Mularkey's second go-round as a head coach and he's gone only 16-32 for the games he has been the head coach . This is clearly not a shining endorsement of a capable head coach by NFL standards.
With rumors swirling around the NFL that Jacksonville has serious interest in bringing in Tim Tebow, we must deduce from this that Jaguars ownership has very little interest in building a winning organization. Instead, they're more interested in selling tickets and making fans excited.
If Tebow does indeed sign with the Jaguars, then what would make the most sense in Jacksonville would be to reunite Tebow with his college coach Urban Meyer back in the state of Florida where they are both revered.
As ridiculous as this may seem, Meyer does in fact have perhaps the best chance of any coach to utilize Tebow in the most effective ways possible just as he did back in their days at Florida. Then finally the whole world would truly be able to see just what Tebow is capable of as an NFL quarterback.
Meyer has proven himself to be highly successful everywhere he has gone. Besides, if NFL teams are beginning to believe that Chip Kelly's offense can work in the NFL, then it shouldn't be so far-fetched to image Urban Meyer doing the same thing.
As for Jaguars' owner Shahid Khan, if this crazy plan were to actually pan out, then he gets to potentially experience the best of both worlds with Tebowmania back in its rightful state, and the added bonus of winning games.
Ideal Coach: Mike Holmgren
Runner Up: Bruce Arians, Interim Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts
Chan Gailey's best season as an NFL head coach actually came during his first season ever. He took the Cowboys to a 10-6 record way back in 1998. Since then, Gailey has never been able to win more than eight games as a head coach. This is obviously unacceptable after finishing the 2012 year a disappointing 6-10.
Mike Holmgren has expressed some interest in the possibility of returning as a head coach. His prestige and expertise could be valuable in bringing in the type of talented staff needed to truly turn things around in Buffalo.
The Bills have a lot of young talent to work with on both sides of the ball. There biggest weakness is at quarterback with Fitzpatrick.
As a head coach, Holmgren has won .592 percent of his regular season games with a record of 161-111, including 13 playoff victories and a Super Bowl.
In addition to his prowess as a coach, Mike is also a very savvy talent evaluator. In Cleveland, he has assembled one of the most talented young rosters in the entire league.
His combination of expertise could be just what the Bills need to get back into the playoffs.
Ideal Coach: Nick Saban, Head Coach of Alabama
Runner Up: Brian Kelly, Head Coach at Notre Dame
Pat Shurmur actually could be getting the boot a bit prematurely in Cleveland, and it's largely in part because of the new owner's desire to clean house and build a franchise the way he wants to build it. With that said, there were in fact many signs of progress under Shurmur. Though admittedly, he was was far from the Ideal coach by any means.
Poor play-calling and decision making became a weekly complaint for Browns fans all season. Not to mention the questionable way he handled the preseason quarterback competition between Colt McCoy and rookie Brandon Weeden, if you even want to call it a competition.
Perhaps the more accurately phrasing would be that Weeden was simply handed the starting job and he has since done nothing to prove he can be the long-term answer.
Nick Saban could actually have interest in becoming the new head coach in Cleveland and this appears to be the perfect fit for the Browns.
Saban has roots in Cleveland during the Belichick era as the defensive coordinator from 1991-94 and has demonstrated he can create one of the most dominant and fundamentally sound programs in the nation down in Alabama.
During his collegiate head coaching career, which includes stints in Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama, Saban has managed to rack up a record of 153-55-1. But what's most important, is that Saban knows how to coach individual players and get his playmakers all working as a cohesive unit.
Reuniting Saban with Trent Richardson could pave the way for a similar winning style to the one they both contributed to in Alabama.
Ideal Coach: Bill O'Brien, Head Coach, Penn State
Runner Up: Vic Fangio, Defensive Coordinator of the 49ers
Coach Crennel took over for Todd Haley for the final three games of 2011 and has gone 4-14 since doing so. The Chiefs now have the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft locked up and ownership is likely to clean house from the GM down. This is Crennel's second attempt as a head coach in the NFL and is likely his last.
Bill O'Brien is another product of the New England Patriots and did a remarkable job as the head coach in a difficult situation at Penn State. He led the largely depleted Nittany Lions roster to an impressive 8-4 record during a time when most would have been happy with four or five wins on the season.
It may come as a surprise to many that Coach O'Brien would actually entertain any interest to return to the NFL, but the money and intriguing offers could simply be too much for him resist.
Many of you may remember O'Brien as the infamous coach who got into a heated disagreement with Tom Brady on the sidelines in 2011. For better or worse, that video proves O'Brien has no reservations getting in the face of a team leader and NFL icon.
This is the type of coach the Chiefs' organization needs, a guy who is not afraid to hold his players accountable and confront superstars when they're getting out of line or too big-headed for their own good, or the good of the team.
Ideal Coach: Chip Kelly, Head Coach of Oregon
Runner Up: Chris Petersen, Head Coach of Boise State
Reid finished the 2012 season with an embarrassing 4-12 record despite high expectations heading into September. Last year, the Eagles faced similar expectations yet finished with a disappointing 8-8 record.
Chip Kelly would be a perfect fit to take over the speedy roster in Philly and implement his high-tempo, no-huddle offense. LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and maybe even Mike Vick (if they decide to keep him) could potentially thrive in some version of Oregon's high-powered, record breaking offensive system.
As the head coach of Oregon since 2009, Kelly has guided the Ducks to an impressive 45-7 record.
Many wonder how effective Chip Kelly's system can be against NFL talent, but we are now seeing similar versions of this working very well for teams like Carolina, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington.
The novelty of the read-option in the NFL is definitely wearing out, yet it has continued to prove highly effective while more offenses are adapting their own versions of it.
Ideal Coach: Josh McDaniels, Offensive Coordinator for the Patriots
Runner Up: Ray Horton, Defensive Coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals
Norv Turner's tumultuous run in San Diego is over. He's been the head coach of several teams for well over 200 regular-season games in his career and has failed to finish on top in half of those contests.
Coach Turner is a great offensive mind and a stand-up guy who treats his players with a ton of respect, but he has always lacked in his ability to lead and inspire men.
The time has come to add some youthful vigor and fire to a team that may be only a few pieces away from Super Bowl contention. Josh McDaniels is exactly that guy. This would be a fantastic fit for Josh to return to the AFC West only to redeem himself as a highly capable head coach in the very division that once cast him off in shame.
McDaniels is also an offensive genius much like Norv is, but he brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm to the locker room. When hired on to be the Broncos head coach in 2009, Josh was only 33 years of age and perhaps a bit wet-behind-the-ears in regard to some head coaching nuances.
He has now obviously matured while gaining valuable experience from his brief time in Denver and St. Louis before returning once again to learn from Belichick himself.
Pairing Josh McDaniels with Philip Rivers could likely generate some scary numbers when you consider the record breaking offenses he has led while in New England, and the impressive season he helped orchestrate for quarterback Kyle Orton in Denver.