On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders interviewed Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss the day before Green Bay’s division-round loss to the Giants.
If accurate, the interview conflicts with the plain terms of the league’s Anti-Tampering Policy. From page 8 of the document, “For clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend, interviews of its coaches must be conducted prior to the conclusion of Wild Card games.”
The presence of the word “must” indicates that there’s no discretion or exceptions. Since the Packers had a bye, any interview of any of its assistant coaches could have occurred no later than the Sunday, January 8. According to Schefter, however, the Moss interview occurred six days later.
And for good reason, given that, as of January 8, the Raiders still had a head coach.
So how did the Raiders get around the Anti-Tampering Policy? “The scheduling structure for interviews is intended to minimize the conflicts for the employer club while still providing a meaningful interview opportunity for the candidate,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email on Sunday. “The rules impose a structure but don’t operate as a straitjacket.”
In other words, the league believes that teams like the Packers can choose to do a favor for a team like the Raiders (whose new G.M. had been employed by the Packers), notwithstanding rules that seem to prevent the Packers from allowing any team to interview any of its assistants after the conclusion of the wild-card round. That’s fine, but if the league is going to allow teams to do things that the rules seem to prohibit, the league should revise the rule to remove words that, if applied as written, would indeed operate as a straitjacket.