When the Houston Texans relieved Gary Kubiak of the head coaching duties on December 6th, the organization effectively began not only a search for a new head man, but a new chapter in the team's history.
Next week that same cycle of events will continue in other NFL cities, as 'Black Monday' usually sees a plethora of personnel decisions made with the regular season coming to an end. Last year alone eight new head coaches were hired in the NFL, 25 percent of the league's squads choosing to part ways with their leadership.
While significant attention is paid to the coaching decisions made by teams, very rarely do you see how an organization is perceived from the outside when these jobs are available. In a recent article by ESPN's Mike Sando, he ranked the potential openings following the season, using a combination of opinions to analyze nine different organizations.
While there is uncertainty today about eight of those "possible" openings, there is no doubt that the Houston Texans are in the market for a new head coach. That said, among those polled, the Texans job was the premiere place to be.
To determine his rankings, Sando spoke with a current head coach along with other front office personnel. He also included opinions from a longtime agent and a quarterback in ranking nine potential openings from a candidate's perspective.
Why did the Texans rank so highly? It started with the man making the final decision, Founder and CEO Bob McNair. According to those that Sando spoke with, McNair's commitment to the team and 'first class' approach to running the organization make it a great place to work as a head coach.
"With the Texans, you have a great owner in Bob McNair," an executive from another team said in Sando's piece. " They do things the right way. They have all the resources."
This sentiment has been repeated several times in media circles as well, with this year's Texans squad often being compared to the turnaround in Kansas City this season. The Chiefs ended with a 2-14 record in 2012, and now find themselves 11-4 a year later. McNair's comments during his press conference indicate he believes the pieces are in place to compete immediately.
"We expect to be in contention next year," McNair said, "We don't consider this a long-term rebuilding process."
Despite being in the midst of a then 12-game losing streak (the article was written on Dec. 21), the Texans ranked first or second on every ballot Sando issued.
"It starts from the top of the organization, which is solid and sound," the GM relayed to Sando. "Rick (Texans general manager Rick Smith) is a good GM to work with. They do have talent there. They get a high pick and will have a chance to get a franchise quarterback."
The article also highlighted the franchise's current roster, pointing out several key pieces already in place.
"They have skill players offensively," the personnel director commented to Sando. "Andre Johnson is a heckuva player. The young kid out of Clemson [DeAndre Hopkins] has done a nice job. They have two tight ends who can play, and a great defensive player in J.J. Watt."
That combination, along with the Texans soon to be future assets (they are assured of a top two pick in next year's draft at this time) make it a prime destination during this year's coaching carousel.