Policy change would allow for coach hirings if team still in postseason

The NFL's competition committee has proposed a policy change that would allow teams to formalize head coaching hires when the coach's original team is playing in the postseason.

The change would relieve decision-makers from waiting weeks to formalize hires.

Set to be voted on next week during the NFL owners meeting, the proposal would help teams avoid the predicament faced by the Indianapolis Colts last month. The Colts had agreed to terms with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to replace Chuck Pagano in mid-January, but under current NFL rules, could not execute a signed contract until after the Patriots' season ended. The Patriots continued playing through Super Bowl LII. Two days later, McDaniels informed the Colts that he planned to remain with the Patriots, forcing the Colts to scramble to hire Frank Reich instead.

Under the proposed change, the Colts would have been able to give McDaniels a contract to sign at the same time they agreed to terms. Had McDaniels declined to sign, the Colts could have moved more quickly to make another hire.

The proposal was among a long list of potential rule changes the NFL will consider when the meetings open Sunday. Some were previously reported, including a significant change to the catch rule, a proposal from the New York Jets to make pass interference a 15-yard penalty unless it is "intentional and egregious" and the authority for the NFL's centralized officiating office to eject players for non-football acts during games.

NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent said Wednesday that the Jets' pass interference proposal had gained momentum during a week of competition committee meetings.

The full list of proposals, released publicly Thursday night, also includes:

  • Allowing coaches and players to view video on league-issued tablets on the sideline or the coaches' booth during games. Currently, only photographs are allowed to be viewed -- either printed or on tablets. Available video could significantly enhance the process of in-game adjustments and evaluations.

  • Eliminating the requirement that a winning touchdown at the end of regulation, or overtime, to kick an extra point.

  • Making permanent the change that places touchbacks after kickoffs on the 25-yard line.

  • Proposals, from the Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Redskins, to expand replay review to include personal fouls, including roughing the passer and hits to players in a defenseless posture. They are not endorsed by the competition committee and are unlikely to earn approval.