In a diversion from prior norms, the NFL announced Tuesday night that, beginning Wednesday and continuing for the rest of the regular season, teams will be allowed to request interviews for a head coaching vacancy with candidates who are still currently employed by other clubs.
This announcement is of particular interest to the Atlanta Falcons, who are currently in the process of hiring a new head coach after parting ways with Dan Quinn midway through the 2020 season.
Of note in the league's announcement, the team for which the potential candidate is currently employed can deny the request for a virtual interview. Therefore, an interview can only be conducted with a coach if his current club allows for one to take place.
The interviews must be a maximum of two hours and held virtually. This policy is different from previous years, which barred any interviews with candidates under contract until after the season. Once the regular season is over, in-person interviews may begin for head coaches, coordinators, general managers and other high-level executive positions not currently employed or employed by teams not participating in the postseason. Requests for such interviews cannot be denied.
Additionally, virtual interviews for head coach or coordinator positions may begin with coaches whose teams have earned a first-round bye. Virtual interviews for general manager openings may begin once the playoffs start and in-person interviews can be conducted once a candidate's team is eliminated from the postseason. None of the above interview requests may be denied.
Virtual interviews for head coaching candidates whose team won a game in the Wild-Card round may take place in the lead up to the divisional round of the postseason, but no interviews are permitted in the lead up to the conference championship games. Starting Jan. 25, if an assistant coach has previously participated in an interview for a head coaching position, he is permitted a second virtual interview with that club, but those must take place by Jan. 31, the week before the Super Bowl.
2020 was full of changes, including how we compiled our team picture. Take a look back at the Falcons team pictures through the years.