NFL makes coach conference calls with opposing reporters non-mandatory

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
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A mini-kerfuffle emerged on Tuesday, with various reporters who cover the Broncos openly complaining about the fact that the Jaguars won’t be making coach Urban Meyer available for a conference call in advance of Sunday’s game between the two teams.

In past years, it was mandatory. This year, the league made it optional.

The sessions traditionally have been valuable, with many relevant quotes coming when reporters who have no reason to tread lightly with a given coach willing to ask pointed questions. Often, the reporters that regularly cover a team don’t want to be the one to ask the question that they know won’t be appreciated — an in turn could impact access, relationships, etc.

The league, as we understand it, decided to stop making the sessions mandatory because they weren’t useful or properly utilized. They’re definitely useful. We’ve based many PFT items over the years on quotes given by a coach to the media covering the opposing team. Given the pragmatic limitations on the things that many reporters covering a given team will ask that team’s coach, it makes sense to make them available to reporters who may be less inclined to avoid third-rail topics.

Like, you know, the sudden coaching vacancy at USC.