Seven NFL teams changed head coaches following the 2020 season, and all seven clubs have since filled those vacancies. The NFL produced a 61-page document analyzing the 2020-21 coaching market, and thanks to the AP's Rob Maaddi, we have a chart of all interview requests.
Teams requested 59 interviews for seven eventual hires, requesting 27 separate individuals.
While only the candidates and the committees know what truly went down in the interviews, everything surrounding the interviews -- who gets requests, who doesn't, who gets jobs, who doesn't -- tells you a lot about what the NFL values and where the league is or isn't going.
(Note: This data only catalogues official interview requests by NFL clubs, as required by league rules. No data on college coaches is included, since teams aren't required to request interviews with them. The only interview of a college or unemployed coach that an NFL team formally confirmed is the Jags' interview with Urban Meyer, because they hired him.)
Here's what we learned:
-- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. Four of the seven buyers were the only bidders on their chosen candidates. The Eagles were the only request for Nick Sirianni, their eventual hire. Same for the Texans for David Culley, the Lions for Dan Campbell, and the Jaguars for Urban. If those hires hit, those clubs will look like geniuses. If not...
-- The Eagles requested a league-leading 12 interviews, followed by Jets and Texans with 10 apiece.
-- The Jaguars were the choosiest buyers, requesting only five interviews.
-- Two candidates garnered requests from all seven teams: Eric Bieniemy and Arthur Smith. Smith is now the Falcons head coach, but the Chiefs offensive coordinator remains the Chiefs offensive coordinator.
-- Other candidates racking up frequent flier miles lots of Zoom time: Robert Saleh (six requests), Joe Brady (five), Brandon Staley (four), Todd Bowles (three), Matt Eberflus (three), and Marvin Lewis (three).
-- Among the 27 coaches requested by clubs, 15 were white and 12 minorities. Of the 59 total interviews, 31 went to white candidates and 28 to minorities. Of the seven hires, five went to white candidates and two to minorities. That means white coaches comprised 56 percent of the candidate pool and 53 percent of the total interviews, but got 71 percent of the jobs.
The interview process is a zero-sum game -- as a candidate, you either get the job or someone else does. To put it in terms we can all understand, white candidates converted 31 interviews into five jobs (16%), while minorities went 2-for-28 (7%).
Without further ado, the chart: