NY Jets ‘doing research on’ Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets are reportedly “doing research on” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

The NY Jets are going to fire Adam Gase. It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” at this point. So much so that they’ve reportedly already begun looking into his future replacement.

Per a recent report from uStadium, the Jets are “doing research on” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald with the thought that he could be the one to take over for Gase come 2021.

Fitzgerald is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the FBS having served as Northwestern’s head coach since 2006. A former linebacker for the Wildcats, Fitzgerald has coached at his alma mater since 2001 when he took over as the program’s defensive backs coach.

He’s been at Northwestern for nearly two decades now, but he’s arguably in the midst of the best season of his coaching career. Fitzgerald has led the Wildcats to a 5-0 record and a No. 8 ranking in the national polls.

Suddenly, a Northwestern team that won just three games in 2019 is somehow in the middle of legitimate national title talks. And many have credited Fitzgerald for leading this team of overachievers.

The NY Jets are not the first team to show interest in Pat Fitzgerald

The 45-year-old has drawn interest from NFL teams in the past. Both the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers reached out to Fitzgerald last offseason requesting an interview, but he declined.

Meanwhile, his hometown Chicago Bears have long been linked to Fitzgerald, and the thought has always been that if he was to go to the NFL, it would be to coach the Bears.

After all, Fitzgerald is an Illinois native who has coached in the state for nearly 20 years. He’s a Northwestern guy at heart, but the Bears always seemed like a realistic landing spot.

It seems like a longshot that the Jets would be able to lure Fitzgerald away from his alma mater unless they fork over an obscene sum of money. But this is exactly the type of coach they should be looking into.

The old adage about college coaches failing in the NFL has been proven false time and time again in recent years. With the NFL essentially adapting to the college game, the coaching differences between the two levels grow slimmer by the year.

Fitzgerald is a highly-regarded leader, a program-builder, and someone who would make for a great coach in the NFL. It’s unclear whether or not the Jets will be able to sway him away from Northwestern.

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But if they could, it would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction.