The Cincinnati Bengals received some good news on Tuesday.
According to multiple reports, the Arizona Cardinals are hiring Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to replace Kliff Kingsbury as their head coach.
Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo was the other finalist for the job.
The Cardinals job was the last open head coaching job in the NFL which means Anarumo will be back in Cincinnati in 2023.
Arizona officially announced the move on Tuesday afternoon.
Welcome to the Valley, Coach!
We’ve agreed to terms with Jonathan Gannon to become our next head coach! pic.twitter.com/jDp9MezorO
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 14, 2023
It’s a bit of a surprise that Anarumo didn’t receive a head coaching job this offseason after the success he’s experienced with the Bengals.
But there’s a big reason why he didn’t get the Arizona job. And it really has nothing to do with Anarumo.
New Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has been building a relationship with Gannon over the last year.
While Ossenfort was with the Tennessee Titans (before he landed the Arizona GM job earlier this offseason), he started building a list of potential head coaches that he wanted to get to know in case he landed a GM job and needed to make a hire.
Gannon was on that list of coaches.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported on Tuesday that the relationship between Ossenfort and Gannon that was built over the last year is a big reason why Arizona went in this direction.
Jonathan Gannon was quietly a front-runner for the job from the minute Monti Ossenfort landed the GM spot. The two got to know each other over the last year, and Ossenfort sees Gannon as having the “it” factor necessary in a head coach. https://t.co/6Gy3iNasM0
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 14, 2023
It sounds like the Cardinals liked Anarumo a lot, but the relationship between Ossenfort and Gannon was the tiebreaker.
While it’s unfortunate for Anarumo, who is certainly deserving of being a head coach, it’s great news for the Bengals as they get their “mad scientist” back for another season.