TEMPE, Ariz. – The Atlanta Falcons. The Chicago Bears. The New York Jets. The Oakland Raiders. The San Francisco 49ers.
At the moment, those five NFL teams have head coaching vacancies, and all five teams reportedly would like the opportunity to speak to Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles about filling their said vacancy.
Reports say the five teams have reached out to the Cardinals, seeking their permission to speak to Bowles, architect of the league’s fifth stingiest defense, allowing just 18.7 points per game.
“You don’t have time to be flattered because you don’t think about it because you’ve got games to play,” he said Wednesday. “We said we’ll address it next week. You just put it on the back burner and you move on.”
While Bowles acknowledged hearing of teams’ interest in him, he added no interviews had been set up with any of the inquiring parties.
When head coach Bruce Arians hired Bowles in 2013, he said his goal was to get Bowles — as well as offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin — a head coaching job.
That position hasn’t changed two seasons later.
“We’ve talked about it,” Arians said, referring to conversations between him and Bowles about how to balance game prep and interview prep. “This week is hands off anyways. Next week, when you’re preparing for the game, set aside a time that you want to pick a team or which teams you want to talk to, and I’m all for it. He deserves it and he’s earned the right, but it’s not going to affect his focus on next week’s game.”
Recently, the Cardinals signed Bowles to an extension, adding two years to a contract that had one year remaining. The new deal, which included a pay raise, runs through 2017.
The contract doesn’t preclude Bowles from interviewing with teams — per NFL rules, the Cardinals (or any team) can’t decline permission for teams to interview assistants for a promotion for a head coaching position — but it does allow him to be more selective when looking at his next job.
A year ago, Bowles, 51, interviewed with both Cleveland and Minnesota, but later took his name out of consideration for the Browns’ opening.
“We’re trying to focus on the game and try to make sure our guys are ready to play right now,” he said. “That’s the number-one thing going on. If you don’t have your guys ready to play, lose and you go home, so we’re trying to win a playoff game. That’s my first and foremost of what we’re trying to do.”
Given the amount of interest and his success in Arizona, it would appear that it’s no longer a matter of if, but when Bowles is hired to be an NFL head coach. And when that does occur, Arians said he’s prepared.
“We have guys who are more than capable of filling (the defensive coordinator position),” he said.