Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

No traction to change rule regarding the hiring of assistant coaches

The Packers appeared to be headed towards a high draft pick before their six-game winning streak, so what changed in Green Bay? Kevin Gilbride breaks down their turnaround.

Every year, promising assistant coaches become head-coaching candidates. Every year, one or more of them end up not getting a head-coaching job because their current teams do too well in the postseason.

Earlier this week, former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride explained on PFT Live that, while his team was celebrating a Super Bowl berth following an NFC title-game win over the 49ers five years ago, Gilbride got a call from a team with a vacancy that decided it could no longer wait for him. (The team apparently was the Buccaneers, who hired Greg Schiano instead.)

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the possibility of changing the “thou shalt wait” rule comes up virtually every year. Every time, it’s quickly shot down without ever getting any traction.

But why shouldn’t a team be permitted to hire as its head coach an assistant coach with another team, with the understanding that no work will begin until the assistant coach’s current team ends its season? Two years ago, it was an open secret that the Falcons would hire Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn after Super Bowl XLIX, and no one said anything about it. Last year, it was reported that the Eagles would be hiring Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson once the Chiefs’ playoff run ended.

Maybe the message is that teams can do it, if they’re discreet about it. (And, apparently, they don’t have to be all that discreet.) The only problem is that the team may want to announce the hire for fan and media purposes, ending the speculation and uncertainty about who the next coach will be.

Some teams wouldn’t take advantage of a rule change even if it were to happen. Some teams want their new coaching staff in place quickly, and no later than the launch of the Senior Bowl week, which begins the day after the completion of the conference title games. Given the offseason calendar, which unfolds rapidly, time is of the essence when it comes to hiring a coach.

Still, other teams would be inclined to make a hire even with the understanding that they have to wait a little while to have the coach show up for his first day of work. It’s a no-brainer tweak that prevents assistant coaches from being punished for the success of their teams, and no one would be hurt if the change were made.