NFL rules do not allow for active assistant coaches to interview for open head coaching positions unless they are on a playoff bye week. Even in that case, an offer cannot be officially made, nor can a job be officially accepted until the candidate’s current team has been knocked out of the playoffs. The result is that assistant coaches on the best teams are at a disadvantage, as are the teams interested in hiring them for their head coaching position.
It is annoying that every three or four days “breaking news” announce what most of us new was imminent, that Josh McDaniels will be the next Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts or that Matt Patricia will be named the next Head Coach of the Detroit Lions. Although the two Patriots assistants were allowed to interview for head coaching jobs during their playoff bye week, NFL rules prohibit them from actually being offered or accepting jobs. This means that both parties have to act in good faith that there is a mutual agreement about the position, but neither party is in any way bound to the other. Meanwhile, other potential head coaches are being courted by other teams in need, so if things don’t work out in the end, both parties could be in a pickle.
Do not allow any coach to interview for head coaching positions until after the Super Bowl. This levels the playing field. True, teams like the Giants who hired former Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur after his team was defeated in the NFC Championship would be a couple of weeks behind, but they would still be allowed to make hires within the front office during this time. That would allow them to prepare for the draft and free agency having everything in place for the new hire when he arrived.
Not allowing NFL teams to interview potential head coaches until after the season would put every team and coach in equal competition for open jobs. It would also make for an extremely interesting week following the Super Bowl, as the race would be on with teams rapidly scheduling interviews and all of the available head coaching positions being filled within a matter of days. Sports networks would make a big show out of it and it would hold the interest of fans. This would make the process fair to everyone involved and eliminate the wink-and-a-nod deals like we see currently.