Coaching carousel shouldn’t spin until after the Super Bowl

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As the NFL’s annual game of multi-million-dollar musical chairs continues to unfold, teams trying to navigate the postseason face inevitable disruptions and distractions to their preparations as assistant coaches have been interviewed and will continue to be interviewed.

Eventually (and maybe soon), dominoes will begin to fall. Some candidates whose teams keep winning may find themselves on the outside looking in because: (1) they’re not eligible to be hired because their teams are still playing; and (2) other candidates are free and clear.

In the past, we’ve suggested that teams should be able to hire assistant coaches whose current teams are still playing postseason games, in order to prevent an unfair outcome for those who shouldn’t be punished for being employed by a successful team. The better option could be to simply slam the brakes on the coaching carousel until after the Super Bowl.

That approach would give all teams that may be making a change more time to make their decision as to whether to make a change, since they won’t have to immediately fire a coach (or not fire a coach) for fear of missing out on a preferred replacement. It also would give teams that make it to the postseason a full and fair chance to pursue their prospects to the conclusion, with minimal disruption to their coaching staffs.

Although every candidate for a head-coaching job who interviews while also working for his current team would insist that the situation does not undermine preparations for the next playoff game, the truth is that it does. It just does. Beyond the time consumed by preparing for interviews with owners of other NFL teams and the time spent conducting the interviews, the assistant coach whose current employer has a playoff game must balance the possibility that his ship has finally come in, or that it hasn’t.

As one league source recently explained it to PFT, the assistant coach who comes home from work on a Tuesday night during the playoff push isn’t met with questions from his spouse or significant other regarding the nuances of game planning. The spouse instead asks for full and complete updates about the potential for getting a head-coaching job.

It’s an effort in compartmentalization that can be avoided. The league has declined to change the rule because this is the way it’s always been. Revising the rule would lead to, as those who oppose change would say, unintended consequences.

But what would the unintended consequences be if the clear rule was enacted (and enforced) preventing teams from interviewing anyone until after the Super Bowl? While the possibility of what will come next easily could become a focal point for families who could end up with a bigger title and a bigger salary, the best and only way to handle the situation will be to realize that what will come next will reveal itself after the Super Bowl ends and the window for hiring coaches opens.

And while a delay would result in teams not having coaches in place for events like the Senior Bowl, so be it. Teams often haven’t hired new coaches before Senior Bowl week, which is more of an exercise in scouting than coaching, anyway.

Change needs to happen. Maybe someday it will. The sooner it does, the better.

29 responses to “Coaching carousel shouldn’t spin until after the Super Bowl

  1. Agree here. The Super Bowl ends the season, losing teams, and teams who make in-season coaching changes should get no benefit – coaching Free Agency is made for TV stuff

  2. if the senior bowl is an issue move that too. those players are auditioning for the nfl. let the league determine when that “job interview” takes place

  3. I disagree. Having been in corporate America for 25 years sorry…my ability to do my current job was never compromised because someone else wanted to give me a new one. I think there’s too many rules about everything in the NFL as it is, and it serves no purpose. For once maybe let’s assume people are professional enough to manage interest. SMH.

  4. Here we go again with the everyone gets a trophy mentality. Life isn’t fair so find a way to deal with it

  5. If a team owner can’t find patience to wait for a candidate because they’re coaching in the Super Bowl, then the owner is probably doing the candidate a favor moving on..

  6. Imagine making it to the playoffs, or superbowl, and a team settles for someone other than who they really want… If that’s the case, said team’s Management is the problem. If you have a target, and you can get who you want, why wouldn’t you get it? Why is waiting a problem? Because your job isn’t as enticing as others? That’s your problem, welcome to intro to sales, GM’s running billion dollar companies “might” be experienced enough to handle this. If not, the coaching position should be second to your GM position… The free market is not for the weak.

  7. First thing you have said in months that I agree with. Imagine how much preparation one of those job interviews entails. All that time should be spent game planning for the playoff run.

  8. Agree

    In the alternative, hire the coach ASAP and let them continue to coach through the playoffs. Worked for Alabama OC Sarkisian last night

  9. The other thing that is a MAJOR time sink for assistant coaches who are interviewing for HC jobs is that they have to work their network to line up staff they’d hire if they landed a HC gig.

    This is more time that is pulled away from game-planning for the next playoff game.

    So I really like the idea of holding off on coach interviews until after the SB.

  10. This KC dude better the be second coming the way the media is hyping him up.. if he fails I’m sure it wont be his fault

  11. So teams shouldn’t be able to hire coaches until after the super bowl so assistant coaches in the playoffs don’t have to face questions from their wives? Lol I’ve heard it all.

  12. Steve Sarkisian did a great job as OC for Alabama last night. He is also leaving to become the Head Coach at Texas. Why can’t Assistant Coaches interview while their teams are still playing ? Obviously Sarkisian did. Back when I was working, I was in a situation where I wasn’t available for an interview when the company was conducting interviews due to committments with the company I was working for at the time. The gate keeper setting up the interviews said that it was unfortunate but I wouldn’t be able to interview. I asked to speak with the person doing the interviews ( highly irregular, etc) We set up an interview at his hotel at 5:00 AM, and I got the job. Teams need to be more flexible.

  13. Employees should be allowed to interview when they want. If they can’t multiple task maybe they should not be a head coach. Why does there have to be a million rules on who you have to interview and when? Everything does not always need to be so over thought and regulated.

  14. I hope Doug Pederson gets a great head coaching job for a great team and owner who has a really good GM.

  15. I’d be concerned with the impact to college football coaches. Signing day is in early February and if college coaches effectively can’t interview until after that and then leave, that is rough.

  16. If you postpone the overall hiring circle you would also have to postpone the start of the new league year.

    Teams looking for new GMs and Hcs are typically bad and have a lot of question marks regarding players currently on their rosters and free agency. Since player bonuses are tied up against the beginning of the new league year (or 2 to 3 days into it), this woudl leave a bad team with a new coach less time to evaluate, thus putting the team in an even worse position.

  17. Hiring should be conducted after the Super Bowl in a perfect world. It waters down the candidates because do you think an OC or DC has a lot of time to prep for an interview when they are working on the game plan for a championship? Considering the hours coaches put in, if your in the middle of current success/work, not some Mike McCarthy who can interview in November, you might not interview as well. This doesn’t serve the team or the candidate well. I recall Vic Fangio stating he didn’t prepare at all for the Broncos interview because he was too busy.

    But at the end of the day, if you got your guy you got your guy.

  18. There is nothing wrong with letting the really bad teams get a leg up in hiring a new coach. If they are so impatient that they can’t wait for a top assistant on a playoff team, well, then that’s on them and the NFL can’t save owners from themselves. As far as the candidates, life sure is tough, their wives want them to be successful.

  19. The NFL has specific windows in which teams can sign free agent players to deals. So, if they did the same for coaches (after the SB), it would essentially be the same. Plus, maybe they could build some more hype around coach signings as they do for player signings. Maybe they could have a coaches combine to test them all out. Okay, that last one was a bit too far, but otherwise, it may make sense to wait.

    But, if they do not want to wait, then assistants should be able to interview while their team is still playing. Most of those who would get an interview have likely be prepping what they would say in an interview for a while anyway, so it isn’t as if this would be catching them completely off guard, or tie up too much of their time.

  20. If the coordinator is that great of a candidate teams will wait…what gets hard is for the new HC to fill his staff with “his guys” and the team that lost him to backfill his position.

  21. Totally agree. I’ve always thought this was an unnecessary distraction for teams whose sole focus is getting to and winning the Super Bowl. Make the loser teams wait until the playoffs have finished.

  22. Who seriously even wants that Eagles job? The owner wants Wentz out there and the coach wanted Hurts out there who was obviously the better player. Who wants to try and deal with that MASSIVE cap eating Wentz contract? That will haunt that team for years.

  23. It is a free market. Allow players, assistant coaches and coaches to sell their services at any time of the year. Professional Football should be no different than any other business.

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