NFL head coaching search highlights two most desirable candidates emerging as favorites

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When the 2024 NFL offseason began, there were seven head coaching vacancies. While there are still a few more that could open up, (We’re looking at you Philadelphia Eagles), we know we’ll see at least five more teams hire new head coaches during this hiring cycle.

Some of the usual suspects dominate the airwaves, such as speculating on the future of Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh, along with finding Mike Vrabel a new home. These are some of the most proven head coaching candidates around. But what about the others, the coaches who are eyeing a chance to become a first-time NFL head coach? Just by looking at who’s interviewed where, we can already see a consensus forming for the most popular head coaching candidates available.

Related: Best 2024 NFL coaching candidates

Bobby Slowik and Ben Johnson are NFL’s most popular head coaching candidates

bobby slowik
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Sure, Bill Belichick is a hot candidate in Atlanta. And Jim Harbaugh is a popular candidate for the Chargers, plus the Falcons. But somehow those two coaches have had a much more limited range of interviews than anyone anticipated.

While the veteran coaches aren’t generating as much interest, there has been one common theme among all NFL teams with a current head coaching vacancy. They’ve all interviewed the same two candidates.

Those two names are Houston’s Bobby Slowik and Detroit’s Ben Johnson, who have emerged as the most popular coaching candidates in 2024.

Both offensive coordinators are viewed as rising stars within the industry and have never been a head coach at any level. Yet, their success as play-callers with the Texans and Lions leading top-15 scoring offenses while keeping their teams alive in the postseason have made them top candidates.

Johnson being hyped as a potential NFL head coach is nothing new. He interviewed with the Carolina Panthers a season ago before withdrawing his name from consideration, but this is the first time Slowik has generated real interest.

Yet, based on five spots needing to be filled in addition to their widespread interest, it’s hard to imagine both Slowik and Johnson not becoming first-time NFL head coaches later this offseason.

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