Colts GM was opposed to tabled 'Josh McDaniels rule'

During Tuesday's session of the Annual League Meeting, NFL team owners tabled a proposal that would have allowed clubs to negotiate and sign a head coach whose current club remained in the playoffs. There was no vote on the proposition known colloquially as the "Josh McDaniels rule".

Contrary to outside perception, there wasn't a ton of support for the change that would have prevented the Indianapolis Colts from being left at the altar in the 21st hour.

The tabling of the issue must have left the Colts seething, right?


Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard, whose team got left in the cold by McDaniels, was not in favor of a rule change.

"When you're a playoff team, you're trying to eliminate all the distractions that you can. And we're going to be a playoff team and we're going to have these issues," Ballard said, via Stephen Holder of the Indy Star. "It becomes a slippery slope. We have rules in place for a reason. I think they're good rules. It gives you a chance to interview and then, after the season, whatever happens, happens. In our case, he changed his mind and we moved on."

If the Colts were not vociferously going after a rule change, it's easy to see why the rest of the ownership group would stick with the status quo.

Ballard said he believes McDaniels' situation is the outlier to the current rule, not a trend. The Colts GM preached that the distraction level for coaches in the playoffs is a legitimate issue, and making them decide on their future during that run isn't fair to either side.

"What if you hire a guy and he's halfway in?" Ballard said. "Even though it was painful, and everybody reacted, I kind of didn't see what the big deal was. You move to the next scenario. That's just what we do. People are so scared of the unknown. I say just keep moving forward. What if a guy signs a contract and then, two weeks later, has second thoughts? What are you going to do? What are the legal ramifications?

"And that playoff team who has worked their [butt] off, they're trying to win, man. The rules are in place to protect them. It's already a distraction, but now you're creating a whole other issue."

The Colts rebounded by hiring Frank Reich, and the situation could very well work out better for Indy in the long run.

By tabling the proposal until May's owners' meeting, the league might look at changing the rule again, but if it receives as little support as it did in Orlando, a change in the hiring process won't be happening anytime soon.

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