In today's NFL, if you're the architect of the league's best offense, you're likely going to get some head coaching attention. For Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, however, that attention has been with him since the day he was hired in Indianapolis. Now that he's actually running a top offense, however, his name is just getting hotter.
In fact, according to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, Hamilton is "the hottest head coaching candidate in all of football."
To say the NFL has Hamilton on its radar is an understatement. Based on what I'm hearing from a number of team officials, he is the hottest head coaching candidate in all of football. (Adam Gase, the Broncos' offensive coordinator, is considered a close second, though he is penalized-maybe unfairly-by some in the league for the perception that Peyton Manning is the Broncos' true offensive coordinator.)
Several league sources say Hamilton will be among the leading candidates, if not the leading candidate, with two different high-profile teams should they make coaching changes. Hamilton would be a strong consideration in San Francisco, several sources say, as an alternative to the hard-charging (and that's putting it nicely) Jim Harbaugh.
The other discussed scenario among some team executives is if the Giants fail to make the playoffs again, Hamilton would replace Tom Coughlin.
And get what a general manager told Freeman:
One general manager said this of Hamilton: "He is almost as good a head coaching prospect as Luck was a quarterback prospect coming out of Stanford."
This report only confirms what Colts fans have known for a while: that Pep Hamilton won't be around long. And really, why should he be? Just last offseason he was a candidate for Vanderbilt's head coaching position and Pep turned them down. He wants an NFL job, and despite what many fans may say, he deserves it. I've never wavered on the belief that one day he would be an NFL head coach, and I've thought that from the day he was hired. Talk with him for any length of time and you'll realize that he's a perfect choice to lead a team. He's respectful, humble, and incredibly smart. He's young (he's only 40 years old). He's had experience running an NFL offense after doing the same in college. He's shown the ability to adapt his system to best fit his players, which he has done this year. He has helped Andrew Luck develop as a passer. There are a lot of things to like about Pep Hamilton. In fact, the very first time I spoke with him (which came early in his first training camp with the Colts), I had heard a lot of people talk about how he'd make a great head coach. And I came away thinking he'd be one sooner rather than later.
And then last year happened, and many fans were upset with the offense he was running. They thought it didn't fit the talent the Colts had, and they were right. But even that, according to Freeman, isn't an issue for people within the league because they see that as Pep bringing Luck along and not rushing things. And with what we've seen him do with the offense this year, we see that he's able and willing to adjust.
And Freeman isn't the only one saying these things, either:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Have a feeling Adam Gase will be the only name hotter than Pep Hamilton and Todd Bowles when it comes to coordinators in line for HC gigs</p>— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) <a href="https://twitter.com/JasonLaCanfora/status/529481684501426176">November 4, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
For those Colts fans who truly have a grip on this team, they knew this was coming, and the talk will only intensify as the season goes on. Pep Hamilton has been a hot head coaching candidate since he was hired in Indianapolis, but now that's really beginning to show itself. And the fact that San Francisco might be interested in him? I think that makes a lot of sense, actually. Right now they have Jim Harbaugh, who was at Stanford for one year with Pep (who was receivers coach that year). Based on reports, it seems the 49ers haven't really tired of Harbaugh's system but rather the locker room and Harbaugh's antics. That's where Pep Hamilton would come in. He's had experience running a similar system, but also brings an adaptability to best fit the personnel. And perhaps most importantly, he's a calm guy who commands a lot of respect within the locker room. In the 49ers' situation, I could really see why Hamilton would be intriguing there.
Ultimately, losing Pep would mean three offensive coordinators in four years for Andrew Luck. That would suck, but I think we've known (as have the Colts) that Pep would likely get a head coaching job at some point down the road. And with the fact that he was a hot name within football even before this year, now added with the fact that he's the guy behind the league's number one offense, it seems more and more likely as the days go on that Pep Hamilton will get plenty of attention once the season is over.