As the NFL tries to nudge the owners toward a more fair, thorough, and inclusive process for interviewing and hiring head coaches, the league has made a couple of important tweaks to the hiring process, aimed at giving all candidates more time to get ready for their interviews.
This week, the league issued a resolution that makes two important changes to the process.
First, teams cannot interview a head-coaching candidate who is employed by another NFL team until the third day after the conclusion of that team’s Week 18 game. This specifically applies to assistant coaches working for teams that did not qualify for the playoffs or that earned a first-round bye. For teams that play in the wild-card round, assistant coaches cannot be interviewed until the following Tuesday (for Saturday and Sunday games) or Wednesday (for the Monday game).
Second, no in-person interviews are permitted with candidates who are employed by other teams until after all wild-card games have ended. Before the end of the wild-card round, in-person interviews may occur only with candidates employed by the team hiring a head coach or candidates not currently employed by the NFL.
The resolution, which amends the language of the league’s Anti-Tampering Policy, applies through May 31, 2024.
It’s a far cry from the suggestion made on Super Bowl Sunday by Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, that the entire process be paused until the playoffs end. But it’s a step in that direction. Maybe more steps will be made in that direction, until the league’s standard approach becomes conducting no interviews until after the last piece of confetti falls in mid-February.