Report: NFL Approves 1-Year Trial for HC Interviews During Last 2 Weeks of Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 12: New York Giants head coach Joe Judge looks on during the NFL game between the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Chargers on December 12, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL's owners reportedly have approved a new rule that would allow teams to begin interviewing potential head-coaching candidates in the final two weeks of the regular season, according to the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero

The new resolution, which will be tested on a one-year trial period, only applies to teams where the head coach "who began the season is no longer employed or has been given notice he won’t return. So in order to take the head start, teams must fire their current coach two weeks early."

Additionally, teams seeking a new head coach during this period cannot request to interview a current NFL head coach from a different team, though they can seek to interview an interim head coach and presumably coordinators and other coaches on opposing staffs

NFL teams can reject those requests to interview coaches on their staff, though if they approve an interview with one team, they must approve any other interview requests for that particular coach to teams with open head-coaching positions. 

At the moment the rule would only apply for the Las Vegas Raiders, who fired Jon Gruden this season after emails he sent with sexist, anti-gay and racist comments leaked publicly. 

But more teams could be eligible for this new two-week period to hire potential head-coaching candidates. 

It wouldn't come as a huge surprise if the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars fired Urban Meyer after just one season that has been rife with controversy. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy (32-29 at the helm) and New York Giants head coach Joe Judge (10-19) may find themselves on the hot seat amid woeful 4-9 campaigns. 

Carolina's Matt Rhule is just 10-19 in his two seasons with the Panthers, though injuries to Christian McCaffrey and the front office's decision to give him players like Sam Darnold and Cam Newton at quarterback may buy him some leeway. 

Other struggling teams may be hesitant to replace first-year head coaches, even amid disappointing campaigns. The New York Jets' Robert Saleh, the Houston Texans' David Culley and the Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell fall into this camp. 

But change comes fast in the NFL. It wouldn't be a surprise if quite a few teams decide to exercise this early interview window and let their current coaches go midseason.