Which open NFL head coaching job is the most desirable?

Create: 2021-01-05
Update: 2021-01-06
Score: 6
Safe: Yes

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
For those of you that know me well, you're probably aware of my burning passion for USA Hockey -- especially when it comes to the World Juniors. You're also probably aware that one of my secondary passions is chirping and mocking Hockey Canada, a very proud but also very annoying institution. 
As such, today is a MASSIVE day for yours truly. The United States and Canada will meet in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships tonight, and I implore you to tune in because 1) the WJC is action-packed and tons of fun, and 2) the USA-Canada hockey rivalry is one of the best spectacles in sports. Yes, Canada is stacked and favorited heading into tonight's finale (Team USA has looked a bit shaky at points in the tournament) but USA is 3-0 against Canada in their last three gold medal meetings at the WJC. Just saying. Also, none of our players drink milk out of bags. (And before any angry Canadians are compelled to flood my inbox ... yes, I am aware of your healthcare system.)
OK, now that I'm done plugging the WJC, it's time to get on with my day -- aka applying face paint and repeatedly screaming "AMERICA!!!" into a mirror for hours leading up to puck drop. But don't fret, I still brought you your news this morning. 

📰 What you need to know
1. Ranking the open NFL head coaching jobs 🏈
Not all jobs are created equal. For instance, I get to write you this newsletter every day and that's way cooler than the summer I spent selling women's athleticwear at the mall for minimum wage (honestly, I was overpaid.) With that in mind, it should be noted that not all the new NFL head coaching vacancies have the same level of appeal. 
As such, our NFL writer (and fellow proud Bostonian) Tyler Sullivan has ranked the available NFL jobs and given his take on which is the most desirable. Let's look at his top three:
  1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, anyone? The greatest luxury an NFL coach can have is a franchise quarterback and the Jags should secure one with the top overall pick in this year's draft. It also doesn't hurt that Jacksonville is rebuilding and essentially working with a blank slate. They have four picks inside the first two rounds (including two first rounders) and are projected to have the most cap space in the league this offseason
  2. Chargers: About that quarterback thing ... how about Justin Herbert? He's coming off an incredible rookie season and looks like a star in the making for LA. That makes the Chargers job appealing, as does their cap space and some established pillars on the roster. Plus, living in Los Angeles isn't the worst, either
  3. Jets: It's a big market job with a lot of pressure attached, but the Jets have the No. 2 overall pick (plus an additional first-rounder) and the second-most cap space in the league this offseason. Not a band landing spot if you can handle the heat
You can find the rest of the list right here. 
My top coaching gig? Personally, I'd love to land a cushy college job and then get fired about two years later so I can collect that sweet, sweet buyout and then spend the rest of my days doing absolutely nothing. That's the real American Dream, if you ask me. 
2. March Madness heads to Indiana 🏀
I'll always remember the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament as a sort of wake-up call for how serious the COVID-19 pandemic was/is; I never thought the NCAA would cancel the tournament given how much money it brings in every year, so when it actually happened, I was floored.
A year later, the pandemic is still surging, but the NCAA is taking steps to ensure that they'll be able to hold March Madness this time around. 
  • The NCAA announced yesterday that the greater Indianapolis area will host the entirety of the 2021 men's tournament
  • Six venues will be used to hold the 68-team tournament: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (IUPUI), Mackey Arena (Purdue), Assembly Hall (Indiana) and Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts)
  • The tournament is slated to be held over a condensed two-week timeline -- it will start in late March and conclude with with the national championship game on April 5
  • NCAA president Mark Emmert: "This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana. We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes."
Essentially, this will allow the NCAA to hold the tourney in a bubble of sorts, cutting down travel and potential exposure to the coronavirus. As part of the arrangement, the NCAA said it's "partnering with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials."
We'll have to wait for more details on exactly how this is going to work (and if fans will be allowed to attend games) but this should come as good news for those of us who enjoy doing nothing but sitting around and watching/betting on sports all day. The opening weekend of March Madness is as non-stop and chaotic as any event on the annual sporting event calendar, and this year the condensed schedule should make things even more nutty. Hope your vacation days and sick days from 2020 carried over!
And to help us celebrate this wonderful news, our Jerry Palm has gifted us his very first in-season bracketology projections. My Texas Longhorns as a projected No. 1 seed? Goodness, this day just keeps getting better and better.
3. Kevin Durant to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure 🏀
Things got off to an incredibly promising start for the Brooklyn Nets this season -- we all basically confirmed they were a championship contender after their first game of the year -- but the past few weeks have not been great. Not only have they slipped to 3-4 on the year, but they've also lost Spencer Dinwiddie to a torn ACL and now they'll have to go without Kevin Durant for at least their next four games. 
  • Durant will have to quarantine for a week after the league's contact tracing revealed he has been exposed to COVID-19
  • KD contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and tested negative following the latest exposure, but protocols say he still has to sit
  • The Nets are scheduled to play four games over the next seven days (facing the Jazz, 76ers, Grizzlies and Thunder)
Losing a guy for four games certainly doesn't sound like the end of the world (and it isn't), but it's a pretty rough blow for a Nets team that has been sputtering and is still trying to find its stride. Plus, with a condensed season this year, every game carries more importance. Being without Durant probably won't cripple the Nets, especially if Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert can pick up the slack, but they need to be extremely careful that they don't slide too far down the Eastern Conference standings this early in the season.
On the bright side, if things do start falling apart for the Nets, Durant will have plenty of free time to start setting up those burner Twitter accounts. 
4. The Eagles crossed a line with their blatant tanking 🏈
Given the sad nature of the NFC East this year, did you ever think we'd spend multiple days discussing a Week 17 game between Washington and Philadelphia? Probably not, yet here we are! 
Even as we head toward Wild Card weekend, people are still talking about the Eagles essentially throwing their contest against Washington in order to secure a better draft pick, handing the WFT a playoff spot in the process. Purposefully losing games to tank and build toward the future will always draw polarizing opinions, but our Jonathan Jones believes that Eagles coach Doug Pederson crossed a line with his approach this past weekend: 
  • Jones: "So long as teams are given higher draft slots for losing more games — or better odds to "earn" a higher draft pick — there will be an incentive to tank. And what we understand about tanking is that management gives coaches a paltry cupboard of players and says good luck. Everyone with a jersey or a headset is supposed to give it their all. That's what made Doug Pederson's tanking Sunday night so jarring. He broke the rules to which we had all agreed. And that's why it doesn't feel right."
Pederson is the guy that's getting most of the blame here, and rightfully so considering he kept a straight face when telling us that he was trying to win with Nate Sudfeld, a guy he claimed was deserving of NFL snaps. 
But here's a question for you: What if the directive came from above Pederson? After all, Pederson is seemingly on the hot seat and he's probably not crazy about losing more games than he has to. Plus, it stands to reason that management would be more concerned about draft position. If it was revealed that Pederson was just falling in line with his orders from above and getting creative in order to lose the game, would you view this whole ordeal any differently?
Luckily for Pederson, he has at least one guy in his corner: Washington coach Ron Rivera, who went to bat for the Eagles' coach yesterday. Funny how that works, huh?
📝 Odds & Ends
  • Our Kyle Porter has bold predictions for the 2021 golf season
  • Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was arrested on a DUI charge after a car accident near the Las Vegas airport
  • John Elway will hire a new GM and surrender final say over personnel starting in 2021
  • Lions kicker Matt Prater won free beer for the good people of Detroit
📺 What to watch today
🏀 Lakers vs. Grizzlies, 8 p.m. | MEM +9 | TV: NBATV
🏀 No. 15 Rutgers vs. No. 23 Michigan State, 9 p.m. | MSU -1.5 | TV: ESPN2 
🏒 WJC Gold Medal Game: USA vs. Canada, 9:30 p.m. | TV: NHL Network
📝 Top scores from last night
🏀 Warriors 137, Kings 106
One night after dropping 62, Steph Curry scored 30 and added nine rebounds and eight assists against Sacramento. 
💵 Winning wagers: GSW +103, Over (235)
🏀 No. 14 West Virginia 87, Oklahoma State 84
WVU trailed by as many as 19 before mounting a big second-half comeback against OK State.
💵 Winning wagers: WVU -1.5, Over (143.5)
 
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