So many intriguing possibilities exist for the Philadelphia Eagles' first head coaching change of this millennium.
At the end of this season, barring a miracle run by a young team that doesn't look like it will ever win until being taught how by someone from the outside, that's what will be happening. Furthermore, frustrated owner Jeffrey Lurie ironically may well end up in a competition against his former right-hand man, Joe Banner, for the perceived perfect choice.
Banner, now running the Cleveland Browns, almost certainly will be looking for a new head coach as well.
More irony: Banner almost certainly will have a discussion with current Eagles coach Andy Reid about that.
But for now, the focus is on what Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman, presumably locked in for the next half decade or so, have to do to land the person and personality best equipped to deliver this franchise its first Super Bowl championship.
The action will have to be swift, decisive and even covert, given that the most intense and important competition in the NFL occurs in the offseason.
Despite the fact that no coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two teams, the best choice for Lurie would be disgraced Saints coach Sean Payton, should his contract be voided and he be allowed to leave New Orleans.
Not only would the Eagles be getting a difference-making, cocksure coach who has established himself as the finest offensive play-caller of his generation and perhaps all time, but also, the Dallas Cowboys wouldn't be getting him (not to mention the Browns).
If Payton does become available, he will need to hire a personal assistant just to handle all the phone calls.
Payton, not Drew Brees, was the single largest reason the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV. Brees had never won a playoff game until joining forces with Payton. Since then, he's gone 5-3 in the postseason and helped put a minimum of 32 points on the board in two of the three losses.
Unlike Reid's and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's Eagles, Payton's defensively challenged teams can win by just outslugging opposing offenses and capitalizing on a couple well-timed turnovers or coaching maneuvers — such as an onside kick that actually works.
Payton also would come in with an extremely large chip on his shoulder after being forced to sit out the season for overseeing a bounty system that would have been completely brushed off by the league if it weren't in such a politically incorrect situation of being sued by thousands — 3,870, to be precise, according to nflconcussionlitigation.com — of former concussed players.
This season's Eagles offense, despite all the problems with the offensive line, would be averaging a minimum of 30 points per game with Payton in charge and would have a minimum of six wins instead of six losses by now. Maybe even nine.
But if Payton is not available, then what's Plan B?
Gruden might actually be the best choice for a quick fix. He took over Tony Dungy's Tampa Bay Bucs and won right away in 2002, a year after outcoaching Bill Belichick's Patriots in the playoffs but losing anyway due to such a disgraceful interpretation of the tuck rule that a congressional investigation should have followed.
But two things stick out about "Chucky."
First: He's an offensive mind who won with a dominating defense that he did not create.
Second: He was not able to maintain the quality of the team in ensuing seasons, especially after winning a power struggle with then general manager Rich McKay.
Billick, another supposed offensive guru, won with the most dominating defense since the Steel Curtain. His Baltimore Ravens went four straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown in that championship season.