New York Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett resigned under pressure yesterday. The team wasted no time getting a replacement, announcing later in the day that it had hired Mike Heimerdinger, the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans for the past five seasons who interviewed last week for the San Francisco 49ers' head coaching job.
It had seemed virtually certain since late in the regular season that Hackett would be dismissed, and Coach Herman Edwards and General Manager Terry Bradway declined to clarify his status in recent days. The club reportedly had begun to make quiet inquiries around the league about possible replacements before Hackett departed, and hired Heimerdinger within hours of Hackett's exit.
____ The Road to Jacksonville ____ • Bill Belichick learned football from his father, longtime Navy assistant.
• The Eagles still think Terrell Owens has a chance to play.
• A trip to the Super Bowl fits perfectly into Eagles Coach Andy Reid's master plan.
• Tony Kornheiser: The pagentry, the tradition, the smell? A Jacksonville Super Bowl.
• Flexibilty builds success for the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick.
_____ What's Next? _____ Super Bowl XXXIX
• When: 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 6
• Where: Alltell Stad., Jacksonville
• TV: Fox
• Latest Line: Patriots by 7
_____ Conference Results _____ NFC Championship
• Eagles 27, Falcons 10 | Box
• Patriots 41, Steelers 27 | Box
_____ Audio _____ • Jerome Bettis cites key turnovers that doomed the Steelers.
• Brady says the Patriots have taken nothing for granted.
• Brian Dawkins talks about the goals of the defensive unit.
• Vick credits the Eagles' defense.
_____ On Our Site _____ • Photos
• Talk about the playoffs.
• Graphic: The Patriots can beat teams on both sides of the ball.
_____ Divisional Results _____ Saturday
• Steelers 20, Jets 17 (OT) | Box
• Falcons 47, Rams 17 | Box
• Eagles 27, Vikings 14 | Box
• Patriots 20, Colts 3 | Box
_____ First-Round Results _____ NFC
• Vikings 31, Packers 17 | Box
• Rams 27, Seahawks 20 | Box
• Colts 49, Broncos 24 | Box
• Jets 20, Chargers 17 (OT) | Box
The Jets ranked 17th in the NFL in scoring during the regular season, and their offense managed only three points in Saturday's 20-17 playoff loss at Pittsburgh. "Coach Edwards and I agreed that the time was right to move in another direction,'' Hackett said in a written statement released by the Jets.
Heimerdinger was one of five head coaching candidates interviewed by the 49ers but was passed over in favor of Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
The Miami Dolphins, meantime, hired Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. Linehan's contract as Minnesota's offensive coordinator was to expire at the end of the month, and the Vikings granted requests by the Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars to interview him.
Bresnahan Gets Promotion
Cincinnati promoted Chuck Bresnahan to defensive coordinator. The move had been expected since Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis dismissed Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator after the regular season. Bresnahan, formerly the Oakland Raiders' defensive coordinator, served as a defensive assistant for the Bengals this season. . . .
The Jaguars appear close to hiring former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo, the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator the past two seasons, as an assistant head coach. . . .
The Ravens hired Clarence Brooks as defensive line coach to replace Rex Ryan, who was promoted to defensive coordinator when Nolan left. Brooks was the Dolphins' defensive line coach the last five seasons but was not retained by new coach Nick Saban.
Moss on Trading Block?
There is speculation that the Vikings might consider trading wide receiver Randy Moss. Such a deal would be feasible from a salary cap perspective. The Vikings would save $500,000 on next season's cap by trading Moss, who has four seasons remaining on an eight-year, $75 million contract. People around the league regard the Ravens and Arizona Cardinals as the top contenders if the Vikings opt to trade Moss. . . .
The Denver Broncos gave agent Drew Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade for running back Reuben Droughns. Droughns inherited the Broncos' featured-runner job from Quentin Griffin during the season but could lose it next season to Tatum Bell. . . .
Miami, Arizona, Tampa Bay and Carolina are among the teams lining up to pursue tailback Travis Henry, who has been granted permission by the Buffalo Bills to seek a trade. Trades cannot be completed until March. . . .
Right tackle Jon Runyan sat out the Philadelphia Eagles' practice yesterday because of the knee injury he suffered during Sunday's win over the Vikings. Eagles Coach Andy Reid said Monday that Runyan had a sprained medial collateral ligament but should be able to play in Sunday's NFC title game against the Atlanta Falcons. Linebacker Mark Simoneau, who missed the Minnesota game because of an ankle injury, practiced yesterday.