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It's easy for NFL teams to compile a list of worthy head coaching candidates. But what do their fans think?

By Conor Orr
December 28, 2017

The lifecycle of an NFL coach can be rapid; the initial post-hire swoon is sometimes the only chance to savor a rise to one of the toughest gigs in professional sports. Likability can extend the honeymoon period by a few months, which is essential for coaches and owners looking to buy as much time as possible to instill and execute a game plan.

Coaches who have held the position before have cache, but for first-time head coaches, there is a bit of guesswork for owners making the decision. Will fans fall in love with this candidate the way we have?

To aid in that process, we at the Morning Huddle newsletter (with a huge assist from The MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler) conducted a flash poll with the 10 first-time head coaching candidates, asking readers to vote for who they would most like to see lead their team.

Our results (736 respondents over 24 hours) show a surprising amount of open-mindedness considering that some candidates have received far more publicity than others. A special teams coordinator finished near the top while some of the most accomplished—and maybe obvious—candidates finished near the bottom

1. Matt Patricia, defensive coordinator, New England Patriots (33.7%, 248 votes)
2. John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach, Philadelphia Eagles (13.6%, 100 votes)
3. Dave Toub, special teams coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs (13.2%, 97 votes)
4. Mike Vrabel, defensive coordinator, Houston Texans (12.9%, 95 votes)
5. Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs (7.9%, 58 votes)
6. George Edwards, defensive coordinator, Minnesota Vikings (6.7%, 49 votes)
7. Teryl Austin, defensive coordinator, Detroit Lions (4.1%, 30 votes)
8. Steve Wilks, defensive coordinator, Carolina Panthers (3.0%, 22 votes)
8. Kris Richard, defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks (3.0%, 22 votes)
10. Harold Goodwin, offensive coordinator, Arizona Cardinals (2.0%, 15 votes)

Some thoughts: I think it’s significant to see fans willing to accept a special teams coordinator; a changing of perception could be on the way…It’s crazy how low Steve Wilks is on this list given that he’ll be a hot candidate for the Giants opening now that Dave Gettleman is in place…The popularity of the Patriots assistant never wanes, but is Matt Patricia a different breed? 

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PRESS COVERAGE

Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
 
1. Good for Jacksonville. After selling out the available tickets for their playoff opener, they removed the tarp on the upper bowl so more fans could get in. I've seen this stadium at its emptiest. This is a testament to general manager Dave Caldwell and new executive Tom Coughlin among others. It's what happens when you ... take it to the limit

2.  Speaking of Coughlin, what happened to his no rest philosophy on the eve of the playoffs? The Steelers are the next team to admit they're resting stars this weekend.

3. James Harrison returns serve amid a relentless attack from former Steelers teammates. He says he begged for his release and finally got it

4. Jameis Winston apologized for his end-of-game meltdown last week, but was it too little too late? May it be the final check mark against Dirk Koetter?

5. Who is the second-best quarterback behind Tom Brady this year? Pro Football Focus might surprise you.

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

6.  How insane has this season been that Darrelle Revis coming out of contractual retirement to join a contender and revive his career has been a non-story?

7. Just now dialing in to college football? Sports Illustrated's staff is as good as it gets.

8. Both New York teams seem intent on stashing young quarterbacks despite the painful meaninglessness of their final game. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, TODD BOWLES?!

9. A fun trip down memory lane with Bill Belichick (no, seriously)

10. How crazy is this? DeAndre Hopkins isn't playing this weekend. It will be his first-ever missed game.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.


THE KICKER


On this day in 1988, the Grateful Dead rock the Oakland Coliseum and close with Quinn the Eskimo

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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