Seven teams, nearly a full fourth of the league, changed coaches during or after the 2020 season. Those seven teams requested a total of 58 interviews.
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press has obtained the internal NFL football operations list of 2021 head coach interview requests. The interviews requested by (but not necessarily conducted by) each team appear below.
Falcons: Eric Bieniemy, Todd Bowles, Joe Brady, Nathaniel Hackett, Raheem Morris, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith.
Lions: Darrell Bevell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Bowles, Dan Campbell, Marvin Lewis, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith.
Texans: Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady, Jim Caldwell, David Culley, Matt Eberflus, Leslie Frazier, Tim Kelly, Marvin Lewis, Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley.
Jaguars: Eric Bieniemy, Urban Meyer, Raheem Morris, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith.
Chargers: Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady, Brian Daboll, Matt Eberflus, Jason Garrett, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley.
Jets: Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady, Brian Daboll, Matt Eberflus, Aaron Glenn, Patrick Graham, Marvin Lewis, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley.
Eagles: Dennis Allen, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Bowles, Joe Brady, Jerod Mayo, Josh McDaniels, Kellen Moore, Robert Saleh, Nick Sirianni, Arthur Smith, Brandon Staley, Duce Staley.
The list reveals that, of the seven coaches hired, four of them (Campbell, Culley, Meyer, and Sirianni) had only one interview during the entire cycle.
Bieniemy ultimately was requested by all seven teams; however, the Eagles reportedly did not actually interview him. All teams except the Texans requested an interview with Saleh — who was one of the candidates recommended to ownership by quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Here’s the total interview requests by candidate: Eric Bieniemy (seven); Arthur Smith (seven); Robert Saleh (six); Joe Brady (five); Brandon Staley (four); Todd Bowles (three); Matt Eberflus (three); Marvin Lewis (three); Raheem Morris (two); Brian Daboll (two); Nathaniel Hackett (one); Darell Bevell (one); Jim Caldwell (one); Leslie Frazier (one); Tim Kelly (one); Jason Garrett (one); Aaron Glenn (one); Patrick Graham (one); Dennis Allen (one); Jerod Mayo (one); Josh McDaniels (one); Kellen Moore (one); Duce Staley (one); David Culley (one); Dan Campbell (one); Urban Meyer (one); Nick Sirianni (one).
That’s a total of 27 candidates for seven jobs. Of the 27, more than half of them, 17, had only one interview request. Ten had two or more.
The fact that more than half of the jobs went to candidates who had only one interview underscores the unique nature of each team’s decision-making process. When four of seven jobs go to candidates to whom none of the other six teams even wanted to talk, it shows that NFL owners are still going to do whatever they want to do.
For those four one-interview-only candidates, it will be very interesting to see whether the team that hired them made the mistake, or whether the other six who decided not to even ask to interview them did.