It looks like a slowly-gelling Panthers team, probably intent on keeping John Fox, may have done its best work to keep the coach, and will reap rewards regardless of what's necessary. Rumors and hopes of Bill Parcells or Bill Cowher have already been ferreted out by division rival Atlanta. Having already been told that Cowher "is committed to a two-year hiatus", a plan that may or may not be true, the Atlanta Falcons turned their thoughts (and, more importantly, money) on Parcells.
Parcells would head up the entire football operation as an executive, assumably running all personnel, hiring all staff, picking the next coach. Supposedly, last night left Parcells with a likely contract signing, having agreed in principle. This morning, when the team followed up to get it official, Parcells said he had reconsidered a previous offer from the Miami Dolphins.
Either way, this looks to leave two GMs out on their asses - Randy Mueller, certainly expected to be deposed in Miami, and Rich McKay in Atlanta. Atlanta may keep McKay now, so he can hire the next coach, although his handy-work left a successful-turned-weasely Jim Mora Jr pining for college coaching while still a head coach in the NFL, followed by Bobby Petrino leaving during a season. Not a stellar record, though Mora did work out for some wins.
To complicate things, Wayne Huizenga has put the Dolphins up for sale, and in the same week took the team off the table a day before landing Parcells.
Meanwhile, with the college situation being screwed up by Petrino and Nick Saban, veteran assistants Russ Grimm and Ron Rivera look to be two hot names. Both are a year removed from their greatest successes for teams, both moving on this year. Neither can really draw from their old or new staffs for planning their own staff. Grimm, held back by the Steelers being in the playoffs, won't have that problem in Arizona; Rivera's chargers will be in the playoffs (though not expected to stay long).
The Cowher situation won't stop hanging over Carolina's head, however; supposedly, Chris Mortenson believes that Cowher would come back for Carolina, this year or next; Cowher's availability continuing to be what it is, Fox would have to be better than his 2007 year to not be fired if Jerry Richardson could contact the former Steelers head coach early. This year, the Falcons seemed to have the chance to trump any moves the rest of the NFL looked to make, though the end result leaves the Atlanta Franchise no less lost than it was for months.