As we’ve learned over the past few days, the NFL employs a complicated set of rules regarding the interview and hiring procedures for front-office employees.
Through a series of communications with NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, we’ve been piecing together a basic understand of the procedures.
And now we have acquired an even more thorough understanding of the protocol.
We heard in October that the league was considering a new rule that would permit a front-office employee not holding a key position to interview for high-level jobs elsewhere, even if the applicant’s current team is still in the playoffs.
Earlier this week, we received information suggesting that the rule was not adopted.  We’ve now learned that, indeed, the new procedure has been approved. 
Here’s the current rule:
Postseason Procedure.  If a club wishes to discuss a vacant high-level non-player, non-coach position (defined as club president, general manager, or a position with equivalent responsibilities and authority) with an individual who is not a high-level employee, and whose employer club is participating in the playoffs, the following procedure shall apply:
“a) The owner or operating head of the inquiring club may contact the owner or operating head of the employer club to request written permission to discuss its high-level position with an individual who is not a high-level employee.
“b) If the employer club elects to grant permission to the inquiring club, any interview or interviews may be conducted at a time and place that is convenient for the employer club.  There is no limitation on the number of times that an individual may be interviewed by the same club, provided that, in each instance, permission has been received from the employer club.
“c) No contract shall be executed, and no agreement to execute a contract, or an announcement of a contract or of an agreement for employment, shall be permitted until after the conclusion of the employer club’s playing season, unless the employer club has specifically granted written permission for its employee to accept a position with the new club prior to the conclusion of its participation in the postseason.
“d)  If a club elects to grant permission for one of its employees to interview for a high-level position, or to accept employment, it must grant permission to all inquiring clubs that seek to interview him.  Permission cannot be granted selectively.
“e)  If a club elects to grant permission for one of its employees to interview with an inquiring club or clubs, or to accept employment, it may deny permission for another member of its organization, provided that the denial is applicable to all inquiring clubs.”
In English, this means that front-office employees not holding key positions (e.g., president or G.M.) with the twelve remaining playoff teams are available to be interviewed, and even hired, before their teams’ postseason runs end — but only if their current teams expressly permit it.
The teams are not required to grant permission.  And teams can choose to grant permission as to one non-high-level employee, but decline to do so as to another one.  However, once a team has given permission for one employee to be interviewed before the postseason ends, permission must be given as to any other team that seeks it.
For example, Ravens director of pro personnel George Kokinis and Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta have been identified as possible candidates for the G.M. job in Kansas City.  Even though the Ravens are still alive in the postseason, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt can request permission to interview either or both of them.
And Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti can give permission to either or both of them.  Or deny permission to both of them.  Or give permission to Kokinis and deny permission to DeCosta.  Or vice-versa.
But once one of them gets permission to interview with the Chiefs, that same employee must be given permission to talk with any other team that asks.
To our knowledge, the rule hasn’t been used as yet in the 2009 hiring cycle.  Then again, it’s possible that teams have requested permission for guys like Kokinis and DeCosta, and that permission has been denied.
None of this changes the fact that Falcons president Rich McKay is not in play to be interviewed by the Browns, because the new rule applies only to non-high-level employees.
OK, wake up now and read the next story.


  1. I have a question….
    How is it possible that the Pittsburgh Steelers are good damn near evry year and should be a model NFL franchise for the clueless around the league, yet NO ONE there ever gets mentioned for any of these fancy jobs???
    I mean, I know that PFT staffers think Mike Tomlin is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it takes a real idiot not to do well in that franchise (see Tom Donahoe) due to the support from ownership and the organization-wide committment to winning games. You mean to tell me that Kevin Colbert or anyone prominantly underneath of him couldn’t take their philosophy somewhere else and win games too?
    And no…I don’t work for the Steelers, but I just can’t fathom how teams don’t look there for future leaders as a simple matter of LOGIC.

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