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The Most Popular NFL Coaching Candidates of 2018

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

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

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