It’s silly season in the National Football League, which means the game of musical chairs is under way regarding head coach firings and hirings.
For Oklahoma fans, it was a little sooner than they wanted to have to deal with something like this after such a monumental victory over arguably the best team in college football. No sooner had the Oklahoma Sooners taken down the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in a BCS bowl game on Thursday night, that media reports started surfacing linking Bob Stoops’ name to an NFL head-coaching job.
As of Monday morning, there were six head-coach openings in the NFL, one of which is the Cleveland Browns, which seem to always be on the list at the end of every NFL season. The Browns have had four head coaches in the last six seasons. The most recent was Rob Chudzinski, who didn’t even last a full year.
One of the early names to surface on the candidate list for the Cleveland opening was Ohio-native Bob Stoops. Rumors began flying everywhere after Stoops’ Sooners defeated two-time defending national champions in the Allstate BCS Sugar Bowl Thursday night. Stoops has won 160 games in his 15 seasons at Oklahoma, the most of any OU football coach in history, and his teams have appeared in more BCS bowl games (9), including four BCS National Championships, than any college team during the BCS era (1996-2013).
Stoops name has come up a number of times on candidate lists for certaim college positions and several times for NFL posts, but he has always publicly dismissed them for what they were: unconfirmed reports.
After the huge win over Alabama, Stoops was asked the next morning about reports he was being considered for the Browns’ coaching vacancy. “I haven’t heard that,” the OU head coach said in response to an ESPN Radio inquiry. “But in the end, I don’t ever acknowledge or deny one way or another whenever anyone has any interest in me. That’s always a personal deal. I love where I’m at, I work with great people and hope to be here a long time.”
Later that same day, however, Stoops told reporters, “You never know,” further fueling speculation that the longtime Sooner head coach might be getting a little antsy for another challenge.
OU fans can rest easier today, however. A source close to the Cleveland Browns told ESPN on Monday that Stoops will not be interviewed for the vacant head coaching job in Cleveland and that he wasn’t ever on the consideration list for potential coaching candidates.
The Browns may not be interviewing Stoops, but they are reported to be interested in talking with another college coach, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, who the Washington Redskins have also expressed an interest in.