Much has been made of the Bears’ precedent of never firing a coach midseason. There have been really bad teams, and really embarrassing losses (see: Marc Trestman era), but still, the McCaskey family has opted to let coaches ride out the remaining string of games in a season, rather than cutting bait early.
But one rule change could alter that this year.
According to Tom Pelissero, the NFL will now allow teams to hold interviews with head coaching candidates over the final two weeks of the regular season. Previously, teams had to wait to interview a coach still employed by another team until he had finished his final game of the season.
Because teams can now get a head start on their hiring process, it behooves teams to act decisively if they’re considering a midseason coaching change. That edge alone could push the McCaskeys to fire Matt Nagy before the season is done.
Per Pelissero’s report the hiring practice change came about last October amid discussions about expanding the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview ethnic minority candidates for head coaching and other high-profile front office jobs. As part of this year’s Rooney Rule expansion, all teams must now interview at least two ethnic minority candidates for all general manager/EVP of football operations roles. In addition, they must interview at least two ethnic minority candidates for all coordinator roles.