The NFL should delay the spinning of the coaching carousel until after the Super Bowl. Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the possibility has been considered and will be considered again.
It may be considered, but if it is that may be the extent of it.
It shouldn’t be. The season doesn’t end until the Super Bowl ends. At that point, the candidates will have a much more complete body of work. Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (pictured), based on the team’s performance on Sunday night, may have gotten a job. Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich may have gotten at least one interview. (He got zero.)
Patience when it comes to hiring coaches clearly would benefit the individual candidates. It would benefit the teams who are looking for coaches. It would benefit the playoff teams with assistant coaches who are candidates for head-coaching jobs, eliminating the clear conflict of interest that arises when an assistant coach is trying to do his current job while also pursuing his next one.
It also would benefit the league, allowing the news in January to focus on the playoffs and the news in February to focus on the search for coaches.
So will it happen? Consider this tweet from Judy Battista of NFL Media: “One team owner told me it would be unenforceable so maybe never happens.”
That’s code for, “We don’t want to do it.” It’s also code for, “We know teams won’t follow the rules and we’d rather not have to chase them around in an effort to provide further prove to the world that the league has cheaters in it.”
The rule would not be unenforceable. The NFL has the resources to enforce it. And the NFL has the power to issue the kind of discipline that would punish teams for violating the rule and that would deter others from doing so in the future.
Shrugging as unenforceable at a rule that would prevent interviews, offers, and hires until after the Super bowl suggests that the league (as conveyed by the owner who commented to Battista) isn’t inclined to change the procedures. The argument would go like this: It’s always been done this way, there’s no reason to change it, and changing it would lead to unintended consequences.
The response would go like this: Baloney. Delaying the interviews and hires until after the Super Bowl would be better for the teams who are looking for coaches, better for the coaches who are looking for jobs, and better for the teams who are pursuing a championship with assistant coaches who otherwise would not have their attention diluted by preparing for interviews, conducting interviews, and waiting to hear whether the interviews will bear fruit.