NFL tweaks the rules for interviewing head-coaching candidates

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
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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.

21 responses to “NFL tweaks the rules for interviewing head-coaching candidates

  1. I’m with Dungy, everyone should have to wait until playoffs are over or at least after the NFC/AFC Championship game.

  2. How about no coaching hires until after the SB? Then its fair to the coaches on all teams, no matter of color and the “inclusive” requirement. Merit/talent based.

  3. It should be a fair playing field for coaches/coordinators whether they are on a winning or losing team.

  4. Truth be told, it’s a great process that generates a lot of fan interest and publicity.

  5. Why isn’t the NFL smart enough to make hiring new coaches a EVENT? They make the pro bowl a event ,they make free agency an event ,they make the draft a event ,they make releasing the schedule a event, they make everything a event . The week after the Super Bowl hiring interviews can start, by 2 weeks after the Super Bowl ALL open HC need to be hired.

  6. I stand with Dungy. Or, perhaps more accurately, Dungy stands with me. I have been arguing for no coaching interviews until after the SB for decades now. It’s always been ridiculous that the worse you are at owning and running an NFL operation, the more opportunity you are granted to disrupt all the other teams that have their acts together and are competing in the playoffs.

  7. “More fair” and “inclusive.”

    No one can ever define what exactly that means or how we know we’ve gotten there. Forever subjective.

  8. The NFL loves their draft so much, lets draft coaches as well.

    I’m only half joking.

  9. A more “fair” process? What exactly is fair about trying to force a private company to hire a person you want instead of who they want?

  10. Eliminating the Rooney rule is the only way to make it fair. Best candidate gets the job.

  11. I’m no fan of affirmative action, but Dungy’s idea makes the most sense to me. It would allow the most candidates access to interviews at the same time and not force assistants in the middle of a playoff run to choose between career progression and focusing on preparation for the next game.

  12. momi says:
    May 28, 2022 at 11:51 am
    Truth be told, it’s a great process that generates a lot of fan interest and publicity.

    This has got to be the stupidest comment I read in a long time. hopefully im missing the sarcasm.

  13. Why are people making comments about affirmative action? There are plenty of stories in the news that include direct reference to your dog whistle issues. This one does not. Settle down

  14. This is very wrong on many levels. Hire the best person for the job its not that hard really. The owners shouldn’t ever be forced to hire somebody because of skin color right? Doesnt that sound silly.

  15. Turn it into a reality show
    All interviews are filmed and season ticket holders are given a vote.

  16. Under the Dungy Plan a team that fires its coach and GM the day after Week 18, will not be allowed to fill those positions until around six weeks later – *even if the people they want to hire are unemployed at the time*.

    The Senior Bowl, the second biggest college scouting event, happens the week *before* the Super Bowl. So the successful teams will be able to send their regular staff to evaluate players for the upcoming draft while 6 to 8 teams every year will have no one of importance there, only people who have a good chance of being fired when the new regime takes over a week or two later. In all draft related matters the teams with open positions will lose about two months out of the draft preparation process.

    Is this an intended or unintended consequence of this popular proposed scheme?

  17. None of this is about the Rooney rule. None of this is about interviewing non-white coaches.
    None of this is about the Rooney rule.
    It is about the schedule for interviewing coaches that are coaching in the playoffs.

    It is about timing not about the race of the candidates.
    Stop being stupid

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