This past week the New York Jets denied their offensive line coach Bill Callahan, an opportunity to interview for the Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator position under new Titans coach Mike Munchak. Callahan, who is the Jets' run game coordinator, also holds the title of assistant head coach.
Callahan started his NFL career as the offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995 to 1997 and then spent four seasons as the Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator before being named the franchise's 13th head coach prior to the 2002 season. He was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. In 2002 his first season as an NFL head coach, Callahan led the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVII making him just the fourth rookie head coach in NFL history to do so. The Raiders suffered a lopsided defeat, losing 48-21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coached by his former boss Jon Gruden. The Raiders finished with a 13-6 record in Callahan's first season, however in his second season they went 4-12 which lead to his firing.
After his firing, Callahan was immediately hired as the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and went 27-22 from 2003-07 before coming to the Jets in 2008.
This is the second time this offseason the Jets have blocked another team's request to interview an assistant for a coordinator position. The Raiders previously requested to interview secondary coach Dennis Thurman for their defensive coordinator job. Under the current rules (which were switched to allow coaches to leave if they were upgrades to coordinator positions or other such upgrades in status and then switched back to not allowing them to break a coaching contract for that type of upgrade) if an assistant is under contract, the team can deny the request, even if it is for a promotion to a coordinator position. The head coaching position is now the only position a coach can break a contract to take a position for without first obtaining consent from his current employer.
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I completely understand that the rule was being taken advantage of and teams were creating job titles that were upgrades so that they could get coaches they wanted on their staff, but there has to be some logic and reason to this process. The league should simply set the number of coaches per team so that all teams have the same amount and set the titles as well and rank the positions accordingly. This way any coach would be able to accept a promotion without the issue of teams massaging the rules to stockpile an All-Star staff.
The league has plenty of labor issues it needs to resolve however whenever they get around to agreeing to a new CBA, this issue should be addressed as the current way of doing things is simply un-American.
Adam Foster is a freelance sports writer contributing to various online and print publications for over 19 years. You may email Adam directly @ [email protected]
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