One half of the 2017 AFC title game is set. The New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans by a final score of 34-16. New England will face the winner of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Kansas City Chiefs Sunday divisional round matchup.
The win is notable for San Francisco 49ers fans because it means Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels remains unavailable to take over as 49ers head coach. The team cannot officially hire McDaniels until his team is finished with the playoffs. If the Patriots win next week and advance to the Super Bowl, the 49ers can interview him a second time during the bye week, but cannot formally hire him until after the Super Bowl.
That being said, teams do sometimes get deals done unofficially before the formal announcement. The most recent example is Dan Quinn. Leading up to the Super Bowl, it was the worst kept secret in the world that the then Seahawks defensive coordinator was going to take over as the Falcons head coach.
This is also notable because if a deal is unofficially done, the soon-to-be head coach and the new GM would be looking to get assistants figured out. A HC candidate presents options in his interview(s), but then it’s a matter of locking them down. Plenty more to be figured out as the process unwinds.
The 49ers are left with Tom Cable to interview on Sunday. The team could hire him if they so chose given Seattle is out of the playoffs. We are hoping that will not in fact be the case.