The Oakland Raiders did not waste much time this season in unloading their head coach. The team fired Dennis Allen, making the news official after they returned from their London matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Earlier today, the team announced that Tony Sparano has been named interim head coach.
The San Francisco 49ers face the Raiders at the Coliseum in Week 14. I would have been modestly surprised if Allen was still head coach at that point, but I figured he would last a little bit longer. Of course, a 4-game losing streak to open the season, capped by an ugly beatdown at the hands of the Dolphins, and the news is not so surprising.
Where this gets interesting for the 49ers is not so much that Week 14 matchup, but the eventual head coach search. Sparano could very well put together a great season for the Raiders, but I'm a little bit skeptical. He might do enough to secure the job for next year, but my guess is if they struggle, we see this whole thing blown up at year's end. That would mean the team would need a new GM and coach.
We don't really know what the 49ers coaching staff future is given all the turmoil. I believe the entire staff is signed through the next two seasons. However, if the Raiders want to interview any of the coordinators or position coaches for a head coaching job, they can interview. The most prominent 49ers coaches in recent years for interviews have been OC Greg Roman, DC Vic Fangio, DL coach Jim Tomsula, and special teams coordinator Brad Seely.
None of them can be interviewed until after the regular season ends. If the 49ers reach the playoffs, those coaches can interview during the first week if the 49ers have a bye. If the 49ers do not earn a bye, it is my understanding they would not be able to interview until the 49ers were eliminated from the playoffs, or they reached the bye before the Super Bowl, whichever came first. If the 49ers do not reach the playoffs, the assistants can interview once the regular season comes to an end.
And of course, there is the wild card of what happens with Jim Harbaugh. He is under contract through 2015, so his only outs from San Francisco after this year would be if he were traded or fired. If he were traded, I really have no idea what happens with the coaching staff at that point. Preferably that is not an issue the 49ers need to deal with after the season.