TEMPE, Ariz. who was interviewed over two days.
It started about a year ago and initially had nothing to do with Gannon, who has been the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two seasons.
Ossenfort was still director of player personnel at the Tennessee Titans when he went through general manager interviews during last year’s hiring cycle. He recalled being asked who he would interview for a head coaching vacancy and Ossenfort listed a few names. But he didn’t know any of the coaches he mentioned — they were just good coaches. Last summer, Ossenfort decided to change that. He began reaching out to assistants around the league who he thought had head coaching ability to get to know them, talk some football and discuss their visions if they were ever to become a head coach.
“I had a lot of great conversations,” Ossenfort said Thursday.
One of them was with Gannon.
When Ossenfort was named general manager of the Cardinals on Jan. 16, his first task was to lead the search for a leadership coach to replace Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired the week before. Thanks to Ossenfort’s work last summer, Gannon was one of the names on the GM’s list — and this time he knew the men on it.
However, Ossenfort’s plan to interview Gannon was a big deal. The window to interview coaches in the playoffs had already closed by the time Ossenfort was hired, meaning the Cardinals would have to wait until Gannon’s Eagles were eliminated.
So, the Cardinals stayed. And stayed. The Eagles kept winning, advancing to Super Bowl LVII, which was to be played, coincidentally enough, on the Cardinals’ home field at State Farm Stadium, and Philadelphia was to use the Arizona facility all week.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals interviewed nine other candidates.
Gannon’s path to the Cardinals began, in earnest, before the Eagles lost in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman contacted Gannon the morning of the Super Bowl and asked if he knew the Cardinals were interested in interviewing him. Gannon was not. Roseman said they would talk more about it after the game.
After the game, Roseman approached Gannon again with some news: He wouldn’t be flying back with the team this morning because he had an interview the next day with the Cardinals. That night, Gannon said he retired to his hotel room and watched film of the game where his defense scored a season-high 38 points.
When he found out about the interview, Gannon had to change his approach urgently. He had to share the loss of the Super Bowl and move on to his interview.
“That’s when that mindset clicked in and I said, ‘Okay, well, let me stop. I have to pick up my shoes a little bit because I was down in the game obviously, and take a shower, work out, and come in and shoot your gun,” Gannon said. “So that’s what I did.”
Fortunately for Gannon, he had interview-appropriate clothing because of what he wore during the Eagles’ flight to Arizona.
With the Eagles buses leaving the team hotel at 10am on Monday and Ossenfort to swing by and pick Gannon up an hour or so later, Gannon had the morning to gather his thoughts and jot down some notes. write.
“Obviously I’ve been preparing for that opportunity for a long time,” Gannon said. “And basically I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have a piece of paper.
“I had one note card. I showed (Cardinals owner) Michael (Bidwill) my Super Bowl call sheet and said, ‘This is how I do things. I write it by hand.’ And finally we talked about what was in my brain and what was in my heart.”
Gannon was scheduled to fly back to Philadelphia at 6:30pm Monday night but was asked if he had enough clothes to stay the night again. He did, and that led to Bidwill and Ossenfort going to dinner on Monday before talking more on Tuesday.
“When I came in here and I was interviewed, I had a very open mind and I used the interview to explain my vision and I really wanted to know if my vision for a team run in line with Michael’s and Monti,” Gannon said. “And did.”
By the time he flew back to Philadelphia late Tuesday, he was the head coach of the Cardinals.
But his chaotic week wasn’t over yet.
He spent Tuesday night at home before flying back to Arizona on Wednesday with his wife, Gina; a daughter, Lola; and two sons, Rocco and Angelo.
“Back and forth,” Gannon said. “Back and forth.”
The result was the news conference on Thursday morning. He took a seat at a table in the Cardinals staff meeting room between Bidwill and Ossenfort and was introduced as the Cardinals’ 11th head coach since they moved to Arizona in 1988.
“The last four or five days have been very normal for me,” Gannon said. “You have to adapt as things come to your door and they were exciting. Of course, I have a lot of energy and emotions that went into the game and then to lose that game and then stay the night here, not knowing that I was going to stay the night and interview for a head coaching job .
“But you do everything to the best of your ability and do the best you can. And I will say that it was a fun 48 hours. I will say that, because I enjoyed it.”