No, Kirk Ferentz is Not Going to the NFL

By RossWB on December 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm
This again?

© Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


I kind of assumed we were done writing articles like this. The Ferentz-NFL chatter has mostly died down over the last few years, but apparently it's not completely dead, thanks to this ESPN article: 21 NFL head-coaching candidates you need to know.

The article features a lot of the usual suspects, like Jim Harbaugh and Jon Gruden (DID YOU KNOW: by law, you're not allowed to publish a list of coaching candidates and not include Gruden, it's true, look it up). It also features a lot of predictable names, like the offense and defensive coordinators on the best teams this year (New England, Philadelphia, Minnesota, etc.). And then down there in the "Other names to watch" section: 

ESPN coaching candidates

Just... no. There are a few likely explanations at work here: one, they just looked at a few old lists of coaching candidates and copied the names over. Two, Kirk Ferentz's agent is doing his job and keeping his client's name out there to provide added leverage in some capacity. (I'd bet on the latter option, personally.)

But the realistic chances of Kirk Ferentz taking an NFL job at this point are... what's even smaller than miniscule? He's 62 years old, which would make him one of the five oldest coaches in the league if he made the move. On one hand, age is just a number -- arguably the league's two best coaches, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, are also its oldest (65). On the other hand, the trend in general has been for younger head coaches. 

Ferentz is also deeply entrenched in Iowa City; next year will be his 20th season (!) as Iowa's head coach and that, coupled with his nine years as an assistant to Hayden in the 80s, means that he's spent almost 30 years in Iowa City. He and his family have deep ties to the community and the university. And those ties have only gotten stronger (or at least more intertwined) in recent years, with Brian Ferentz joining the staff and then becoming offensive coordinator this year. The widely held presumption is that the elder Ferentz is setting things up to transition to the younger Ferentz in a few years; bouncing to the NFL would make that much more difficult, if not impossible. (Of course, there's also a counter-argument there -- that a sudden departure might make Iowa more likely to promote Brian as a replacement, especially with the coaching carousel having largely done its thing this year -- but that still seems far-fetched to me.) 

Ferentz is two wins away from becoming the all-time wins leader at Iowa and while he'd probably never publicly state that he was motivated to get that record, I suspect that privately he would enjoy that distinction. I also suspect Ferentz wants one more notable season at Iowa before he hangs up his headset; several of this year's best players were young and next year's schedule is pretty friendly, which is probably rather enticing. And, of course, Ferentz is under no real pressure at Iowa; there's obviously some grumbling and discontent after another 7-5 season, particularly one with some head-scratching losses and several miserable offensive performances. But there's no real sense that his job is in any danger right now, or likely to be in the immediate future. 

He's going to trade all that for a spin in the NFL meat grinder that takes coaches and spits them out as fast as it can? Ben McAdoo took the Giants to the playoffs last year; this year he didn't even make it to Christmas before getting pink slipped. If Ferentz was going to leave Iowa for an NFL gig, he's had several (better) opportunities in the past. He didn't leave then and the reasons for him leaving now are... less than compelling. (Money? Boredom? Scratching an old itch?) Listing him in this article is dumb. Let's all move on with our lives. 

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