Five candidates for Cardinals' job can't interview again until after championship games

TEMPE, Ariz. -- If the coach the Arizona Cardinals want to hire to succeed Bruce Arians is still in the playoffs, the team must wait a week to meet with him a second time, whether they win or lose their respective championship games.

That means Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and linebackers coach Brian Flores, all of whom the Cardinals already have interviewed once, will not be available for a second interview until Jan. 22 at the earliest.

According to NFL rules, coaches still in the playoffs who have interviewed with a team once are not allowed to interview a second time until the week after the championship games. Those second interviews can be conducted from Jan. 22-28.

However, once a coach’s season is over, he is free to interview with a team again as soon as possible.

That is the case with two of the Cardinals candidates: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, whose teams were eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round over the weekend.

The Cardinals already were free to interview Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher or Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks a second time because the Cards didn’t make the playoffs and the Panthers were eliminated in the wild-card round.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Detroit Lions were closing in on Patricia as their head coach, which would reduce the Cardinals’ pool to eight candidates.

That would leave the Cardinals, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans as the teams still in need of a head coach.