Posted by Will Brinson
As of right now, the Dolphins are not prepared to make a change at head coach, and remain committed to Tony Sparano, despite their 0-4 start. It's going to be difficult for Sparano to keep his job, though. One, Miami might need to make the playoffs for him to get another shot in 2012. And two, owner Stephen Ross recently gave him the dreaded vote of confidence.
But who would be the replacement for Sparano if he's canned? Well, Dan Pompei of the National Football Post reports the No. 1 candidate is current ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden, who's been out of coaching since the Buccaneers fired him in 2009.
"People close to the situation believe the Dolphins job will be Jon Gruden’s if he wants it," Pompei writes Sunday. "Gruden remains undecided on whether or not he will remain in broadcasting. It’s likely Stephen Ross will offer Gruden a sweetheart deal that will make it difficult for Gruden to turn down. Rumors continue that the Dolphins also will hire Carl Peterson as team president."
Gruden's always a top name at the list of coaching candidates when a vacancy opens up, along with CBS Sports' own Bill Cowher. That's what happens when you've got a Super Bowl win on your resume and aren't currently employed by an NFL team.
But Gruden does make sense for the Dolphins. He's obviously been successful, he's still young (only 48), he's a huge name and he's an offensive guru -- Ross hasn't made any bones about the need to put up points in order to help sell tickets. And, um, win games, of course.
What makes this hypothetical marriage interesting is that Gruden's unlikely to leave ESPN before the end of the season, even if Ross threw a pile of money his way. That could mean Sparano would get a full season to try and make the playoffs.
If he doesn't (a very likely outcome at this point), Ross will have a shot at a second-straight public courting of a high-profile coach, and Gruden will have a legitimately difficult choice to make.
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