NFL considers “Josh McDaniels rule” so coaches can take new jobs during playoffs

Getty Images

During this year’s playoffs, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels verbally agreed to become the next head coach of the Colts. But by rule, he couldn’t sign with the Colts until the Patriots’ postseason was over. And after the Super Bowl, McDaniels jilted the Colts and stayed in New England.

The NFL would like to make sure that doesn’t happen again. As a result, the league is considering a new rule that would permit coaches to sign contracts with new teams while still coaching for their old teams.

NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay said he’d like to see assistant coaches allowed to sign their contracts to become head coaches with new teams, and then turn their attention back to their current teams in the playoffs, rather than being constantly distracted by questions about their new teams.

“Every year it’s become harder as the media pays more focus to those coaches and who may be going where,” McKay said. “For too many years we’ve tried to hold that line on you can’t sign a contract but you can have an understanding. We just felt like we need to get over that hurdle and say you can sign a contract. It doesn’t mean you can work, but you can sign the contract.”

Although the league is officially denying that this is a “Josh McDaniels Rule,” the reality is that’s exactly what it is: A rule to ensure that in the future, teams like the Colts aren’t left holding the bag.

53 responses to “NFL considers “Josh McDaniels rule” so coaches can take new jobs during playoffs

  1. Why not just make everyone wait till at least the end of the Conference championships to interview? That would cover 30 teams.

  2. Maybe just disallow negotiations until the season is over? Why allow them to sign early?? Wouldn’t there be potential conflicts of interest that could arise?

  3. Just what we need. An assistant coach focused on contract negotiations during the playoffs. Hey competition Committee-what happens when that assistant coach signs a contract and proves to be a disaster during the conference championship with some idiotic decision making? Is there a money back guarantee?

    Whatever you do NFL , never consider implementing a rule that prohibits interviews or negotiations until after the playoffs. It makes too much sense.

  4. This is so dumb. The fix to this problem is going in the complete opposite direction.

    Ho hires, no interviews, until BOTH the season and the playoffs are done.

    The way we constantly have these Super Bowl contending coaches and coordinators spending their time during the weeks interviewing for jobs, lining up meetings, preparing their resumes etc is just a joke. FINISH THE FIRST JOB YOU WERE HIRED TO DO, THEN WORRY ABOUT YOUR NEXT ONE.

    Just like in college where coaches are hired away from programs right before a teams bowl game, leaving their program and the kids they recruited to play the biggest game of the year with some slap dash interim, give me a break. And the NFL wants to take a step in that direction instead of the other way?

    It just boggles my mind how the NFL can always think the exact opposite of the solution is the smart answer. There is NO REASON for coaches on a Super Bowl run to be occupying themselves with ANYTHING BUT THAT RUN.

  5. It’s amazing the length of things the NFL will do to take down the Pats. Underinflated balls, 4 game suspension, and loss of #1 pick. Other teams deflate balls, no problem. Could go on, but I am sure everyone knows this already.

  6. Exactly the opposite of what should be done. Coaching and players changed should not be allowed at all during the playoffs. There should be no discussing any new coaching positions until after the Superbowl. Allowing coaches to look at offers during the playoffs just keeps them from doing their job during the playoffs. Shurmur did a terrible job at the nfc championship game because he already had his new coaching job ready. He should have been forced to earn it by actually trying in that game!

  7. Terrible rule. Wait until the season is over…the potential “new hires” need to keep their focus completely on their current team, especially during playoffs, and/or the Superbowl, not the deal they just inked or hope to.Traveling time to interview alone can, in some cases, take days away from what they should be doing: preparation. As far as Josh McDaniels is concerned, the SIGNED contract is the deal, nothing else. Hurt feelings? Tough, go complain to someone who cares.

  8. They ought to disallow any negotiations or signings until the day after the SB. Period.

    They also ought to pass the real “Josh McDaniels” rule, which is don’t lie to a prospective employer about taking a job.

  9. Why? The reality is the Colts dodged a huge bullet by having him back out. Had they hired him, with him knowing that his heart wasn’t in it (not to mentioned he’s a awful coach), they’d be right back in this position two years from now

    You could require that any salary of any assistant coach he “hired” who was not retained by that team be paid from that coach’s salary to compensate him. There’s your deterrent.

  10. This change does not make sense at all. Coaches in the playoff should focus on the incoming game, not on finding the new jobs. Rule should be changed to prohibit any interviewing and job offer for all the coaches in the league before the season ends.

  11. So now the HC and owner are both going to be distracted during the playoffs, too, trying to convince the coordinator to stay, or going over options for a new coordinator. Wonderful.

  12. patswhatsup says:
    March 23, 2018 at 11:28 am
    Maybe just disallow negotiations until the season is over? Why allow them to sign early?? Wouldn’t there be potential conflicts of interest that could arise?

    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    I actually like this idea. Why not just make it a rule that teams cannot hire any new coaches until after the season concludes? So even if a team missed the playoffs and fired their coaching staff, they can’t start hiring anyone new until after the Super Bowl. It would solve the issues that we’ve seen, because the Colts would be required to wait to interview any and all candidates, and it wouldn’t serve as a distraction for teams in the playoffs because their coaches wouldn’t be permitted to negotiate with new teams anyway.

  13. Just what we need. An assistant coach focused on contract negotiations during the playoffs. Hey competition Committee-what happens when that assistant coach signs a contract and proves to be a disaster during the conference championship with some idiotic decision making? Is there a money back guarantee?

    Whatever you do NFL , never consider implementing a rule that prohibits interviews or negotiations until after the playoffs. It makes too much sense.

    Kudos to Philly but this is very likely what happened to Minnesota…

  14. I feel like the NFL year after year is out to top its self with awful rules like this. They always make an effort to the dumbest thing imaginable.

    Coaches can sign with other teams while still under contract? Is that really the idea that made its way to the top of the list?

    But if a team talks to a FA player in February they get fined and lose draft picks. Brilliant.

  15. Look, NFL free agents can’t sign until March 14. Why not prevent coaches from taking new jobs until the day after the Super Bowl? Puts everyone on an even playing field.

  16. How about all teams (yes even those sitting at home) wait until the current season is actually over before making moves for the next season?

  17. 1. Even if McDaniels had signed a contract it wouldn’t mean a thing if he later decided not to go there. All he would need to do is write on a napkin “I hereby resign as coach of the Colts.” This is a Belichick move. It’s the Patriots Way.

    2. McDaniels will never have an opportunity to use the so-called McDaniels rule. He has proven that he is a weasel. Nobody’s hiring known weasels with a prior history of being a bust as a head coach.

    3. The Colts lucked out.

  18. Yeah that DEAD period during the NFL season when the only thing the media has to cover is the SUPER BOWL.

  19. The Colts dodged a bullet here, for certain. The last person any business wants to hire is one who lacks the integrity to keep their word.
    As for the rule change, why not? No additional damage is done from the current rule than will be done by allowing the prospective coach to have his agent negotiate and sign a contract while he gets back to work. If the distraction is too great such as to interfere with the coach doing his job, then, he is not good coach material because he obviously cannot multi-task and keep his priorities in order anyhow.

  20. This is the wrong approach. It should be handled like free agency is for players. A set starting time (after the SB makes too much sense not to do) before which it is tampering to talk to anyone. Once the season opens all talks start at the same time for all guys previously fired or not. Currently there is also some unfairness where a guy fired after a playoff exit have a week or two disadvantage competeing for new positions that might already have been refilled. So it would not just solve what the Colts are all upset about (lets face it, this is all about one owner doing the crying) but would also solve all the other issues big and small that come from guys hitting the market and teams starting their searches all at different times.

  21. This isn’t the McDaniels Rule. If anything, it’s the Jim Schwartz/Duce Staley Rule. Many teams were very interested in both Eagles coaches but couldn’t sign them before the conclusion of the SB. By that point, the market had dried up and consequently neither coach was able to get a promotion (I realize Staley was given the RB coach/assistant HC title with the Eagles, but his name was being tossed around for OC).

    McDaniels was never going to sign with Indy.

  22. So theoretically under this new proposal, the Titans could have offered McDaniels or Patricia the HC job at the end of the regular season, one of them could have immediately accepted making them the new head coach of the Titans, and then had to play the team that they would officially be the next head coach of the following week in the playoffs.

    Another great idea from the NFL owner’s circle.

  23. usmutts says:
    March 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    1. Even if McDaniels had signed a contract it wouldn’t mean a thing if he later decided not to go there. All he would need to do is write on a napkin “I hereby resign as coach of the Colts.” This is a Belichick move. It’s the Patriots Way.

    2. McDaniels will never have an opportunity to use the so-called McDaniels rule. He has proven that he is a weasel. Nobody’s hiring known weasels with a prior history of being a bust as a head coach.

    3. The Colts lucked out.

    ———————
    It will be interesting if Andrew Luck plays or not. Its true that info came out the week before the SB that suggested Lucks recovery was nowhere near where it was being represented. The Colts have said that is incorrect and honestly I dont know what to believe. But a lot of this could be the Colts lamenting that they wanted a guy to sign quickly before he got a chance to see under the hood, and their chagrin is he got that look under the hood during the delay. If a person realizes a position they were about to take was misrepresented to them the smart thing is always to step back, thats not a Josh M thing thats just good professional common sense. As far as what to believe, I prefer to just see what plays out in the end rather than speculation over conflicting reports.

  24. They should not allow coaches of playoff teams to be interviewed or negotiate a contract until after their team is either eliminated or has won the SB.

    Doing so disrupts competition and distracts the coaches from what they should be focused on. Look at Kyle Shanahan the year before. Took the Falcons game plan to media night, where there would be absolutely no chance to work on it, put his pack down and one of the media grabbed it. Luckily it was on cam and they figured out who had it and got it back quickly, but imagine if it had ended up on TMZ.

    These coaches need to focus on the team they’re employed by during the playoffs, not on their next employer. Period.

  25. Does any NFL fan want this? Just make everyone wait until the Super Bowl ends to start making job offers.

    It sours the experience of the postseason when you know coaches are halfway out the door. And, more significantly, it probably alters the competitive balance as well. There’s simply no possible way that having both coordinators getting ready to leave town didn’t impact the Patriots. Same goes for every other team who’s been in that position. It’s just human nature.

    I’m sure the perpetual non-playoff teams like the advantage of getting a head start and poaching the staffs of contenders. But I think they’d be fine if they had to wait. They’ll still have the highest-ranking and highest-paid positions available.

  26. As usual, you guys are not thinking it through by suggesting all teams wait until season’s end to hire coaches.

    Teams hiring new coaches have a ton of work to be done even while playoffs are still going on. The new hires have to evaluate the current roster by watching all 16 game films, decide which free agents to re-sign or who to release, build a coaching staff, work with scouts to re-examine draft prospects to fit the new coach’s style/scheme, etc.

    Basically, if your team is crappy and is in a hunt for a new coach, they’ll have to wait 6-7 weeks sitting on their butts and all football operations crashing to a halt because they can’t install their head coach (who might not be currently in the playoffs anymore). This gives existing head coaches a distinct advantage in terms of getting ready for the new season, which doesn’t make sense if your team sucked.

  27. I like the idea but does this apply to assistant coaches as well? I ask because new head coaches like to get their staff together. If you want to hire the WR coach of a playoff team to be your OC, does this rule change apply to him as well?

  28. patswhatsup says:
    March 23, 2018 at 11:28 am
    Maybe just disallow negotiations until the season is over? Why allow them to sign early?? Wouldn’t there be potential conflicts of interest that could arise?

    I get you but here’s a counterpoint. Teams that aren’t fortunate enough to make it to the postseason or deep into it want to get a head start on change when their season ends. If we’re ever going to get new teams competing that might not be such a bad idea. I don’t think it would cause a conflict because as a coach you want to be known for winning wherever you’re at. So in the off chance that the Patriots would have played Detroit in the SB, I am sure Matt P wanted to be known for a win against Detroit even if he was planning on coaching him the next year. Just a thought.

  29. Overwhelming consensus here for the obvious, common sense solution – wait until after the season. Period.

    Amazing how all these billionaires still can’t figure out the simplest of things. Greed blinds.

  30. akira554 says: “As usual, you guys are not thinking it through by suggesting all teams wait until season’s end to hire coaches.”
    —————————

    Too further my point, many players’ contracts has a bonus if the player is with the team at the start of the new NFL season. Having a new coach incoming at that time prevents them from having a proper evaluation and the team stuck paying a player that no longer fits the coach’s system.

    It would also hurt many other players if the coach has to wait to evaluate them. Instead of being cut immediately and being able to shop their services to other teams, a player could find himself out of a job with no prospects because the market dried up as he waited his fate with the old team.

  31. Teams should be able to hire coaches at any time during the season, after all; free enterprise!
    In fact, if the all knowing ‘market’ were truly free, coaches should be able to work for whoever they want up to and including during games.

    Imagine the drama!

    Freedom!

  32. Seems like backwards thinking to me, this is only fair to teams that don’t make the playoffs while disruptive to teams trying to win in the playoffs. It should be tampering to mess with a team still playing the current season. The likely reason why this had to happen is the Patriots aren’t focused on retaining an OC, they are focused on winning while other teams are focused on poaching from playoff teams. This is so backwards and a clear tactic by the NFL to try and break up the Patriots coaching staff. Integrity…

  33. Yeah, as everyone else here knows, this is the wrong solution to the problem. I don’t understand why everyone else, except those who actually run the league, can see that they shouldn’t have any coaching negotiations/hirings until after the Super Bowl.

    The thing that gets me is that the NFL controls the dates of the combine, the draft, and the start of free agency, so the excuse of needing the coach in place as early as possible is nonsensical. If they feel they need to have the coach on board with more than a couple of months to address the combine, draft and free agency, they can just move everything back a couple of weeks. Preseason should be shortened anyhow, with at least one less exhibition game.

  34. Let’s face it. The Patriots is the catalyst for these NFL rule changing tendencies. Rules are fine till the Patriots finds way to use it to their advantage. Then the rules are no longer tenable.
    I think actual signings should be done after the SB for parity towards those who are still enmeshed trying to win in the playoffs.

  35. First, as we all know Liet Kynes served two masters. And second, this was one of the funniest things ever — Colts fans went from singing Josh’s praises and claiming the Pats were disintegrating to claiming he was awful and they didn’t need him in a mere 12 hour period. We should encourage this.

  36. akira554 says:
    March 23, 2018 at 12:31 pm
    As usual, you guys are not thinking it through by suggesting all teams wait until season’s end to hire coaches.

    Teams hiring new coaches have a ton of work to be done even while playoffs are still going on. The new hires have to evaluate the current roster by watching all 16 game films, decide which free agents to re-sign or who to release, build a coaching staff, work with scouts to re-examine draft prospects to fit the new coach’s style/scheme, etc.

    Basically, if your team is crappy and is in a hunt for a new coach, they’ll have to wait 6-7 weeks sitting on their butts and all football operations crashing to a halt because they can’t install their head coach (who might not be currently in the playoffs anymore). This gives existing head coaches a distinct advantage in terms of getting ready for the new season, which doesn’t make sense if your team sucked.

    ———-
    So using your logic these teams should be able to interview whomever they want whenever they want. So why not let this occur before the regular season has even concluded? You don’t seem to care that playoff teams are still playing so what is the difference during the regular season when all teams are still playing?

    I think the point is that until the SB is over the season has not concluded. All teams should wait until the current season has concluded before moving onto the next season.

  37. glad josh is still with the pats. he’s a good man and did exactly the right thing when he smelled a rat in that dome.

  38. NFL can’t get out of their own way. No coaching interviews until season is over, so no team has any advantage or disadvantage. Instead Goodell cooking up another sham rule.

  39. Thretosix says:
    March 23, 2018 at 1:21 pm
    Seems like backwards thinking to me, this is only fair to teams that don’t make the playoffs while disruptive to teams trying to win in the playoffs. It should be tampering to mess with a team still playing the current season. The likely reason why this had to happen is the Patriots aren’t focused on retaining an OC, they are focused on winning while other teams are focused on poaching from playoff teams. This is so backwards and a clear tactic by the NFL to try and break up the Patriots coaching staff. Integrity…

    —————-

    Look at more scenarios, a teams choice 2 is available now. Their choice 1 is still in the playoffs, doesnt want to talk. They are then faced with the decision do they take choice 2 now or wait for choice one. What if they wait for choice 1 and not land him, but by then choice 2 is off the table? and also maybe a guy is interested in a team but wants to wait through the playoffs to see what all options are going to be. All of the various problems get cleared up if all parts of the selection process for all teams and all candidates all start at the same time like FA season does with the players.

  40. How can anyone feel sorry for a NFL team in any way? Teams screw players and coaches all the time, not to mention fans. Firing coaches and players midseason, years short of contract lengths.

    Quit with the tears for teams bit. McDaniels did what is best for him, within the rules. Who can blame him? It’s what teams do dozens of times a year.

  41. Do the Colts ever quit whining? If you had the choice to work for the Patriots or the Colts, who would you pick?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.