Whenever the Cleveland Browns unveil the team's next head coach, assuming it's actually ever going to happen, it should make for some unintentional comedy.
The front office of the Browns is going to have to attempt to spin the hire as being the team's preferred choice to a fan base that is seemingly losing hope more and more with each day that passes. Anybody who has been following the matter knows, of course, that we're all about to be told a fairy tale about what occurred in Berea over the past three weeks.
Depending on which stories you believe to be accurate, Cleveland missed out on no fewer than three of the team's desired candidates. Who turned the Browns down and who wasn't a real candidate may never be known. Below is the list of coaches who have, since the end of December, reportedly been considered.
Coaches linked with the Browns: Never happening
Bill O'Brien: The former Penn State head coach who spoke with the Browns a year ago was apparently never a real option this time around. There are some knowledgeable football people who are convinced that O'Brien had quietly accepted the Houston Texans gig before the conclusion of the 2013 NFL regular season.
James Franklin: Franklin replaced O'Brien at Penn State. He wasn't ever a real option for Cleveland.
Bob Stoops: The launching point for this rumor may never be found, but the Browns confirmed earlier this month that Stoops was not coming in for even a chat.
Coaches linked with the Browns: Thanks, but no thanks
Adam Gase: The offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos who emerged as the coaching flavor of the month twice snubbed the Browns; once at the start of the playoffs, and then earlier this week when he called the team to say that he was staying put.
Todd Bowles: The Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator pulled his name from contention in the middle of January. In all fairness to the Browns, it's been speculated that Bowles realized he wasn't Cleveland's first choice and thus his response was to remove himself from consideration.
Ben McAdoo: McAdoo is perhaps the most interesting one of the whole bunch. The Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach interviewed with the Browns, but some have suggested that he was brought in as a potential future offensive coordinator. That's the job he landed, but with the New York Giants and not with Cleveland.
Ken Whisenhunt: Whisenhunt signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Mike Munchak: In a “the rich get richer” result, the former head coach of the Titans has agreed to be the offensive line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coaches linked with the Browns: Shall we dance?
Josh McDaniels: I'll be honest. I don't think anybody other than McDaniels himself is sure of what to think of the New England Patriots offensive coordinator. McDaniels has spoken with the Browns since turning the job down earlier this month, and there are rumors that he could still be a “secret candidate.” That tells me that somebody is looking to cash in on a big deal if he is to take over what is perceived by many to be a mess of a team.
Coaches linked with the Browns: ?
Dirk Koetter: The offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons came from nowhere to earn himself an interview this week. He is believed to be a fallback to the team's current fallback.
Rich Bisaccia: Bisaccia is the special teams coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. The only way he will be Cleveland's head coach is if literally every other candidate turns the team down.
Hey, it could happen.
Coaches linked with the Browns: The favorites
Dan Quinn: The popular opinion as of last Friday is that the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks is Cleveland's preferred choice. Quinn is prepping for the upcoming Super Bowl, though, and owner Jimmy Haslam may not want to wait until the first Monday in February to name a new head coach.
Mike Pettine: Pettine is, as I'm typing this sentence, reportedly on his way to Cleveland to meet with the club for a third time and to also possibly sign a deal. The defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills may not be atop the team's list, but he is, unlike Quinn, available today.