In 2017, NFL twice tabled rule that would change timing of coaching hires

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The decision of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to remain in New England has given new attention to the potential adjustment of the rule that prevents teams from hiring as head coaches assistant coaches whose teams are still playing postseason games. Some think that, if the Colts had been allowed to formally offer the job to McDaniels before the Super Bowl, the Colts would have known much sooner that McDaniels wasn’t going to follow through on signing the deal.

The NFL tabled the proposed rule change twice in 2017, kicking the can while never providing an up-or-down answer to the question of whether assistant coaches can be hired before their current teams’ seasons have concluded. The NFL also never provided a clear explanation as to why no action was taken on the potential rule change.

The question for the looming league meeting in March or the subsequent ownership meeting in May becomes whether the rule change finally will be put to a vote. Although McDaniels’ incident of cold feet may be an isolated event, the situation has proven that teams can’t trust the wink-nod process that had previously delivered coach after coach to the teams that unofficially hired new coaches before they could be officially hired.

There previously was no need for a rule change because teams were discreetly hiring their next coaches without actually hiring them, and the deals weren’t falling through when it was time to finalize them. Now that McDaniels has exposed the weakness in the current approach, it arguably become more important for teams to be able to secure fully enforceable legal commitments (or not) weeks before the candidate otherwise puts pen to paper. Or doesn’t.

It’s the “doesn’t” that has created a mess for the Colts and, in turn, a problem for the league. If teams can’t rely on the word of assistant coaches who can’t officially be hired, teams need to be able to secure the kind of clear commitment that puts the issue to rest. Or doesn’t.

Regardless, the rule change will let teams know where they stand early enough to devise and implement a meaningful Plan B, if Plan A goes haywire.

19 responses to “In 2017, NFL twice tabled rule that would change timing of coaching hires

  1. The rule is fine as it is. Teams that are still in the playoffs deserve to have their coach that is still under contract focused on helping their team advance and not on who he is going to have on his staff at his next job. If teams that don’t have a head coach don’t want to risk having their target back out, then hire someone whose team is done.

  2. I for one believe that no interviews, or contacts should be made until the following week AFTER the Formal closure of the season, (AKA-The Super Bowl).
    It was exceedingly clear Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmers mind was NOT in the NFL Championship game with the Eagles. The first scripted drive for Minnesota resulted in a 75 yard drive and a TD. Minnesota’s Offense made it look easy, after that, NOTHING. Shurmer’s mind was in New York, and the Giants HC job.

  3. Some think that, if the Colts had been allowed to formally offer the job to McDaniels before the Super Bowl, the Colts would have known much sooner that McDaniels wasn’t going to follow through on signing the deal.
    ————–
    So just stop allowing interviews of guys still active in the postseason! And to make it fair on every team and person, bar all teams from hiring during the postseason and the 2 weeks after so that there’s time for all candidates to be interviewed without distraction. The McDaniels affair was more of a distraction for the busy postseason Pats than the already offseason Colts.

  4. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but the Colts are positive that Frank Reich is the right man for the job, they are kicking themselves for even considering McDaniels, and so there is no problem whatsoever.

  5. Utilize a similar mechanic to the trade deadline – no coaching hirings or firings after, say, the end of week 14 until the day after the Super Bowl. That way, teams in the playoffs get to coach their teams without distractions or disruption and teams get more time to evaluate their situation and identify the right candidates.

  6. The Colts did formally offer the job to McDaniels before the Super Bowl. He formally accepted it before the Super Bowl and selected or approved the hiring of assistant coaches. Afterwards, McDaniels got his true weasel on and breached his verbal contract. It would not have mattered if he had signed a paper before or after the Super Bowl because the weasel would have taken a pen and written on a napkin “ I resign as HC of the Colts.” See, for example, Belichick, B., head weasel.

  7. Stop interviewing guys who lack strong character, who would up end the lives of assistant coaches and leave them hanging out to dry.

    Colts dodged a major bullet with that clown. No need to change the rules because of their initial bad judgment.

  8. realtruthteller102 says:
    February 14, 2018 at 10:06 pm
    just get rid of contact’s for coaches and players. pay them on a game 2 game basis and its solves all ur problems.

    *******************

    Brilliant. So if I’m the Patriots, next week I need a big win over the Packers. So I’m going to offer Aaron Rodgers $10 million to come and sit on my bench for a game, and the entire coaching staff a free trip to the Bahamas in addition to doubling their checks.

    Well thought out plan, that.

  9. The Colts lucked out (no pun intended), I’d take Reich over McDaniels any day of the week.

    I was praying for the Giants to hire Shurmer and avoid McDaniels and Patricia. Especially McDaniels.

    I was laughing at the Colts. Now I’m not.

  10. kingthielenscourt says:

    February 14, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I for one believe that no interviews, or contacts should be made until the following week AFTER the Formal closure of the season, (AKA-The Super Bowl).
    It was exceedingly clear Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmers mind was NOT in the NFL Championship game with the Eagles. The first scripted drive for Minnesota resulted in a 75 yard drive and a TD. Minnesota’s Offense made it look easy, after that, NOTHING. Shurmer’s mind was in New York, and the Giants HC job.

    Whatever helps you sleep at night. I guess Shumer’s mind effected the players lack of defense. A dome team is now 0-12 in away games in the NFCC. Vikings were overmatched plane and simple.

    But I feel if coaches cant be hired because of games still to being played, then interviewing and hiring should not commence until everyone is allowed too.

  11. Let’s level the field and make it fair for everyone. No coaching hires or coaching interviews allowed by any team until the season is over for everyone.

  12. Ever wonder why every rule change seems to follow some shenanigans committed by the Patriots? I guess everything needs to be in writing or else the Patriots will cheat again.

  13. McDaniels found out the Colts were lying to him about Lucks progress. Its really that simple. They might be bummed they didnt get a signed contract before the news got revealed but thats the risk you take when lying to people you are trying to attract.

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