Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has emerged as one of the hotter names among teams seeking a head coach, and it has been commonly assumed by many Colts fans that he would be hired after the 2014 season to be an NFL head coach somewhere. And it's very clear that it's a matter of when, not if, for Hamilton - but it's beginning to become more and more possible that Hamilton will remain with the Colts next season.
First off, consider the fact that the Colts are still playing, which means that Hamilton is still coaching and that teams wanting to interview him are still waiting. We've heard Chuck Pagano talk a lot about how, if his Ravens hadn't lost in the playoffs when they did in 2011 he wouldn't be the Colts head coach right now. Teams won't wait forever, and so the more the Colts keep winning the smaller the chances become of Hamilton ending up somewhere.
But secondly, the teams that requested to interview Pep Hamilton might be going in different directions. We've heard of two teams that put in requests to speak with Hamilton - the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. The Bills have officially hired former Jets head coach Rex Ryan as their next coach, taking that job off the market before they even got the chance to interview Hamilton. As for the Raiders, they still have an opening at head coach, and they have talked with Hamilton for a little bit in Indianapolis after the Colts' win over the Bengals. But Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is heading for a second interview with the Raiders and he is very interested in the job.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Jack Del Rio hasn’t hid how badly he wants <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash">#Raiders</a> job. Grew up a Raiders fan, parents are season tix holders, brother works security there</p>— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/554746689811402754">January 12, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Of course, as long as the job is open anything can happen, but it sure sounds like Jack Del Rio is the clear favorite for that job. And if he is hired there, that would mean that the two teams to request interviews with Hamilton would have found their head coaches.
There's still the possibility that, once Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase is hired then teams previously wanting him would turn to another highly regarded offensive coordinator in Hamilton and request an interview, but that's very much uncertain. What is becoming more clear, however, is that there is a real possibility that Hamilton might return to the Colts next season, which would be big. It would mean that Andrew Luck and the offense would remain in the same system for the third year in a row, which is a huge plus - especially with younger players. And for as critical as fans (including myself) were of him last year, Pep Hamilton has had a very good season at the helm of the Colts' offense. Keeping him around for another year would most definitely be a huge positive. He'll almost certainly be a head coach pretty eventually, but it's beginning to seem more and more possible that it won't happen this year. But, of course, in the NFL anything can happen, so stay tuned.