Around the NFC West: Hurry up already?

Around the NFC West: Jan. 16, 2013

Sixteen days have passed since the Arizona Cardinals fired coach Ken Whisenhunt.

One of their declared candidates, Andy Reid, signed with Kansas City without visiting the Cardinals. Another candidate, Mike McCoy, signed with San Diego before conducting a second interview with the Cardinals.

The situation is naturally a little unnerving for Cardinals fans. Should the Cardinals have hired a coach by now?

The team's media relations director, Mark Dalton, notes via Twitter that the home teams in the upcoming championship round hired their coaches relatively late in the process: Mike Smith to Atlanta on Jan. 23 (2008) and Bill Belichick to New England on Jan. 27 (2000).

The NFL's Record & Fact Book lists hiring dates for all NFL head coaches.

The San Francisco 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh on Jan. 7, 2011. The Seattle Seahawks hired Pete Carroll on Jan. 11, 2010. The Cardinals hired their previous coach, Ken Whisenhunt, on Jan. 14, 2007. The St. Louis Rams hired Jeff Fisher on Jan. 17, 2012.

Those are official hiring dates. In some cases, the teams had singled in on a candidate or reached informal agreement with one in advance of those official dates.

Specific hiring dates provide context. Cardinals fans should be looking for signs Arizona has a clear plan for upgrading its coaching situation. From the outside, it's been tough to see whether such a plan exists. That makes the waiting tougher to take.