Now that Indianapolis and Seattle have lost their divisional playoff games, the waiting games for head coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren kick off.
Each coach wants to take the next week to think, talk with his family, and reach a decision best for him.
For years, Dungy has privately thought he would not coach beyond the age of 50; he is 51. The feeling around the Colts, and around the league, is that Dungy is finished with football. However, the day after the Colts won the Super Bowl last season, many -- including Dungy himself -- thought the head coach was done.
But Dungy took a week, changed his mind, and opted to return to Indinapolis and the NFL. A similar thought process could occur again this year, but it sounds increasingly unlikely.
Dungy has addressed his need to spend more time with his family and get away from the office, as well as committing fully to one without having the tug of the other. His family is in Tampa, not exactly the easiest commute from Indianapolis.
Dungy expects to talk about, think about, and pray about the decision into and through the weekend, with an announcement coming Monday. It could be a sad day in the NFL, but a happy day for the Tampa community outside it.
As for Holmgren, the widespread feeling around the league for much of this season was that he would walk away from the game after this season. But interestingly, those who know Holmgren said Monday that the Seahawks coach could be waffling, and with good reason.
Unlike Gibbs and Dungy, whose families are in other states, Holmgren has his family nearby. He has a lucrative contract, and a team that is nearly as good as any in the NFC. At some point, Holmgren will take a year to recharge his battery, before perhaps attempting to return to the league in a front-office position.
Holmgren must decide if now is the time. Like Dungy, Holmgren is expected to take this week, discuss the decision with his wife on a weekend getaway, and make an announcement as early as next week.
Holmgren is scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday in Seattle, but those that know him say it is not to announce his future plans.
Heads of the class
Dallas' defeat was a boon to teams trying to fill coaching vacancies.
The Ravens became enamored with Garrett during his first interview. However, there might not be a consensus for his selection.
The one rumor that will not die is that the Ravens could turn to former Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who would bring along former Buffalo Bills head coach Mike Mularkey as his offensive coordinator. Schottenheimer has downplayed the chances he would return to coach again, yet for some reason, the league continues to buzz about the chances he could come back.
Even with the meetings, the Redskins insist they are determined to go through a lengthy and exhaustive process that will continue Tuesday with the interview of Indianapolis defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, who spent the 2000 season coaching in Washington. With Indianapolis eliminated, Meeks can return there.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo already has drawn interest from the Atlanta Falcons, who continue to search for a head coach. The Giants rejected the Falcons' request to interview Spagnuolo last week. But whenever the Giants' season ends, they will not be able to ward off the Falcons any longer.
Also, New York's offensive cordinator Kevin Gilbride was in line to get the head-coaching job at Hawaii that his close friend, June Jones, recently vacated. Hawaii would have liked to have hired Gilbride, but when the Giants won Sunday in Dallas, the school questioned whether it could wait any longer.