The consensus around the league is that the top two choices for the head coach position are current Stanford Jim Harbaugh and former Raiders/Bucs coach Jon Gruden. Here is the tale of the tape regarding both coaches.
||December 23, 1963
||August 17, 1963
||94-01 – Western Kentucky (offensive asst)
02-03 – Oakland Raiders (QB Coach)
04-06 – University San Diego (Head Coach)
07-Present – Stanford (Head Coach)
|86-87 – University Tennessee (grad asst)
88 – SE Missouri St (QB Coach)
89 – University of Pacific (WR Coach)
90 – San Francisco 49ers (Off QC Coach)
91 – University of Pittsburgh (WR Coach)
92 – Green Bay Packers (Off Assistant)
93-94 – Green Bay Packers (WR Coach)
95-97 – Philadelphia Eagles (Offensive Coordinator)
98-01 – Oakland Raiders (Head Coach)
02-08 – Tampa Bay Bucs (Head Coach)
- Prior to the 2004 season, Harbaugh was named head football coach at the University of San Diego. In his first year, he directed the Toreros to an overall mark of 7–4, including 5 straight wins to end the season. The following year, the team improved to 11–1 and won the 2005 Pioneer Football League Championship. In 2006, USD again went 11–1 winning their second consecutive Pioneer League title in the process.
- In 2009, the Cardinal had a comeback season, finishing the regular season at 8–4, finishing #21 in the polls, and receiving an invitation to play in the 2009 Sun Bowl, the Cardinal’s first bowl appearance since 2001. Running back Toby Gerhart was named a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing second to Mark Ingram in the closest margin of voting in Heisman history. On December 13, 2009, Harbaugh was rewarded with a three-year contract extension through the 2014 season.
- The 2010 season brought more success for Harbaugh and the Cardinal who went 11–1 in the regular season, with their only loss coming from Oregon, a team that ultimately remained undefeated and went to the National Championship Game. This marked the first 11 win season in program history, earning Stanford a #4 BCS ranking a BCS bowl invitation to the Orange Bowl, where they will play against Virginia Tech. Second year starting quarterback Andrew Luck was named a Heisman Trophy finalist, the second year in a row that a finalist was from Stanford. Harbaugh was named the winner of the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award.
- Under Gruden, the Raiders posted consecutive 8–8 seasons in 1998 and 1999, and leapt out of last place in the AFC West. After uniting with journeyman quarterback Rich Gannon, Gruden led the Raiders to the top of the AFC West and made the playoffs three straight seasons. Oakland finished 12–4 in the 2000 season, the team’s most successful in a decade, and its first division title since 1990, ultimately reaching the AFC Championship, where they lost 16–3 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
- After compiling a 40–28 win-loss record (including playoffs) in four seasons with the Raiders, Gruden replaced the fired Tony Dungy as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, via a high-stakes trade that included Tampa Bay’s 2002 and 2003 first-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash.
- Immediately after arriving in Tampa, Gruden significantly retooled the offense with the addition of numerous free agents. His determination to fix the under-performing offense so often maligned during Dungy’s tenure inspired the Bucs defense to another #1 ranking, which helped the team to a 12–4 season and a win over Gruden’s old team in Super Bowl XXXVII.
- In the two years following Gruden’s Super Bowl win, the Bucs went 7–9 and 5–11 respectively, implying to many Dungy supporters that Gruden had simply taken over a strong team and then driven it into the ground.
- 2005 marked a return to the playoffs, as the Bucs’ posted a surprising 11–5 record, despite the loss of starting quarterback Brian Griese and some controversial coaching decisions, including a two-point conversion in the final seconds to defeat the Washington Redskins, who would later return to Tampa and eliminate the Bucs from the wild-card round of the playoffs.
- In 2006, Gruden led the Buccaneers to a 4–12 season. It was his worst record as a head coach and the first time a Tampa Bay team had not won more than four games since 1991.
- In 2007, the team finally cleared itself of salary cap constraints and united Gruden with a mobile West Coast quarterback in former Pro Bowler and Grey Cup winner Jeff Garcia. The team posted a 9–7 record.
- In 2008, Gruden was rewarded with a contract extension through the 2011 season. On November 30, Gruden earned his 100th win, against the New Orleans Saints. Going into December the Buccaneers were on pace to make the playoffs, claim a bye week and have home field advantage. However the Buccaneers went winless in the month of December, and on December 28 the Buccaneers were eliminated from making the playoffs by the Oakland Raiders, the team Gruden left for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers ended the season with four losses in a row.
- Jon Gruden was fired by the Buccaneers on January 16, 2009, after seven seasons with the team.