NFL: Teams Can No Longer Interview Employed Head Coaching Candidates Until After Wild Card Weekend

by Tyler Mansfield

The NFL has decided to make a much-needed change – one that should’ve happened a long time ago. While teams used to be able to conduct interviews with any head coaching candidate at anytime, that has changed.

As decided on at this week’s spring meetings, the NFL chose to modify its head coach hiring process. With that said, teams will no longer be able to interview candidates who are already employed by other NFL clubs until after Wild Card weekend. It’s a rule that makes complete sense and will allow candidates to fully focus on their current jobs.

According to ESPN, “the change is intended to give head-coaching candidates and teams extra time to prepare for interviews.” That’s certainly understandable. If teams and coaches are busy and focused on their current tasks, it’s better to wait until after Wild Card games to begin formal discussions about the future.

Discussing the subject further, Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II made a good point – saying that employed coaches felt rushed while trying to prepare for both interviews and games at the same time. Additionally, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank pointed out that the change “slows down the pace” for teams while they’re conducting interviews.

NFL Also Makes Addition to League’s Rooney Rule

The NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’ – which says that teams must interview at least one ethnic-minority candidate for their head coaching position – was also expanded at the spring meetings.

Adding onto what’s already been put in place, the Rooney Rule’s expansion now states that teams must also interview at least one minority candidate for the quarterbacks coach position. It’s surprising that the league chose that certain position over others, but it’s still a significant addition.

Speaking of minority coaches in the NFL, the league has also launched a diversity accelerator program that allowed 60 future general manager or head coach candidates to meet with current league representatives this week.