With one of the most popular coaching candidates off the market after Adam Gase accepted the Miami Dolphins job on Saturday, the Eagles' search now includes the most accomplished coach on the market: Tom Coughlin.
The Eagles received permission from the New York Giants to interview Coughlin, according to a league source.
Coughlin, 69, resigned Monday after 12 seasons and two Super Bowl championships with the Giants. Because he resigned with one year remaining on his contract, he needs permission to interview with other teams. The interview is expected to be on Monday, according to multiple reports.
Coughlin told reporters Tuesday he has "not necessarily" extinguished his coaching flame.
"I said I'm not necessarily done with coaching," he reiterated after a follow-up question. No one asked whether that applied to a division rival just 96 miles south on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Coughlin's desire to continue coaching would be a big part of his candidacy. He is 32 years older than Gase. The Eagles also interviewed Coughlin's offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, on Thursday. McAdoo is 38.
Gase and McAdoo were the Eagles' only known interviews from outside the organization. They have also spoken to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and running backs coach Duce Staley. They are planning to interview Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on Sunday, according to multiple reports. Pederson is a former Eagles assistant coach and quarterback.
Of that group, only Shurmur has head-coaching experience. They have far different profiles than Coughlin, who has spent 20 seasons as an NFL head coach. He went 170-150 with the Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars, and he's 12-7 in the postseason. The Giants did not make the playoffs the last four seasons, and they had two consecutive 6-10 finishes. Coughlin's Giants lost four straight to Chip Kelly's Eagles the last two seasons.
Coughlin's first NFL coaching job came with the Eagles. He was the wide receivers coach under Marion Campbell from 1984 to 1985. He was also an assistant for the Green Bay Packers and the Giants before coaching Boston College from 1991 to 1993. Then Coughlin returned to the NFL with the expansion Jaguars.
During the last two decades, he's earned respect as one of the NFL's great coaches. Coughlin's disciplined and demanding coaching style combined with a human side of his personality in recent years that endeared him to his players. The two Lombardi Trophies helped, too. He has the 12th-most wins in NFL history.
"Everyone knows you for your dedication to your team and how intense you are on the football field," defensive lineman Justin Tuck wrote on Instagram last week. "But I will remember you for helping me become a man and challenging all of us to be better husbands and fathers and men. You did it the right way Coach."
The level of interest from either side is unclear at this point, but Coughlin is the most fascinating name to emerge on the interview docket since Kelly's dismissal.
Gase appeared like one of the front-runners for the job. There was a belief that the Eagles wanted a second interview with Gase, but the Dolphins ramped up their pursuit after initially meeting with him on Thursday. They brought him back on Saturday, when they reached a five-year deal. Gase will call plays and have control over the 53-man roster.
Gase was the first coach hired to fill the seven vacancies in the NFL. The Eagles are one of the six remaining, and their search became more intriguing with Gase no longer an option and Coughlin now in consideration.