New interview procedure could spark a late-season rash of coach firings
Through 13 weeks, no NFL head coach has been fired due to poor performance. That could change soon, with other teams joining the Raiders in the market for new coaches.
As teams fall out of contention, teams may implement plans to terminate their coaches. Especially since the owners decided in October to allow coaching interviews to begin as of Week 17 of the regular season.
Permission must be given the the current employer of the candidate to interview for such vacancies. The interviews can happen virtually.
Here’s the key. The interviews can be conducted only if the team’s coach has been fired or informed that he won’t be back after the season.
It raises the stakes for teams thinking about firing coaches. Waiting until the season ends puts the team at a disadvantage, since other teams will have started the process. It could potentially become a game of dominoes, with one team going first and others following in order to get a chance to interview a hot candidate before someone else falls in love with him, and vice versa. (The Raiders already are the first domino, thanks to the departure of Jon Gruden.)
Currently, only four teams are truly out of it: Lions, Jaguars, Texans, and Jets. Each of those teams has a first-year coach. Some still believe Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer could be brought down by the Ohio misadventures from earlier this year. Texans coach David Culley also could be in danger, grave or otherwise.
As more teams exit the playoff chase, mathematically or practically, the list of hot seat candidates will grow. Teams to watch most closely in the coming weeks include the Bears, Vikings, Panthers, Broncos, and Seahawks. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the Cowboys; if they fall apart, the seemingly inevitable ascension of Kellen Moore could come sooner than expected.