Jerry Jones may seek Rooney Rule exemption

As we pointed out in the Week 10 Monday 10-pack, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be tiptoeing through a minefield if interim coach Jason Garrett continues to win football games.

Under the Rooney Rule, Jones won’t be able to hand the permanent job to Garrett before the season ends, since Jones will be required to interview at least one minority candidate for the position.

And Jones knows it.  As a result, he’s already talking about trying to get an “exemption” to the Rooney Rule.

“There are some extenuating circumstances that are involved here,” Jones said in his weekly appearance on KRLD radio, per Tim MacMahon of  “On my decision and how we make it, I’ll have the opportunity to present that to the league, so we’ll see how that goes.  But I really can’t give you any type of answer there because I’m not so sure I’m through working the process.”

Frankly, there are no extenuating circumstances.  Every team that fires a head coach during the season must hire an interim coach.  And after the season the team must comply with the Rooney Rule when hiring the next permanent coach, an assignment which rarely has much permanence.

Jones easily could have avoided the problem by:  (1) not firing former head coach Wade Phillips until the season ends; or (2) signing Garrett to a contract that promised to make him the head coach after Phillips’ tenure ends.

Either way, Jones should be saying nothing about “extenuating circumstances” or anything else to suggest that he plans to hire Garrett.  Jones must keep his cards pressed against his vest.  If minority candidates believe that Jones is merely dotting his i’s and crossing his t’s (like he did nearly eight years ago when conducting a perfunctory telephone interview of Dennis Green, which forced the league to thereafter require in-person interviews under the Rooney Rule), minority candidates won’t agree to interview for the job — and Jones will be unable to avoid violating the Rooney Rule.

Unless he gets an “exemption,” which is fancy talk for “the rules don’t apply to me.”

50 responses to “Jerry Jones may seek Rooney Rule exemption

  1. Translation = I dont actually hire coaches, .. I only employ puppets! Therefore, since I’m really the owner, coach, and GM …. the Rooney rule does not apply to me.

  2. If he violates the rooney rule is there a fine? what happens? do they not allow his team to play?
    I guess I dont care one way or the other but if an interim coach is doing well (im not saying he is) he should get first dibs right?
    Garret has alot to prove before people will consider him a good coach, but I think it should be taken into consideration. What if the cowboys win out?? jones should be able to hire him without interviewing anyone

  3. Does anybody care about this…?

    Everybody knows it’s a sham anyway, might as be an April Fools joke!

  4. The steelers don’t have to follow any rules, so why should anyone have to follow one named after the Rooneys? Its a joke anyway. If someone is interviewing for a job they are predisposed to know what they want and thus are wasting other peoples time.

  5. As you said, he could have fixed this when he signed Garrett to keep him away from other head coaching possibilities and frankly, I hope that the minorities stay away from Dallas because what he did to Green was terrible (Not 49er terrible but still terrible).

  6. Didn’t Jerry get an exemption to the farce known as the Rooney Rule when he hired Bill Parcells and again when he hired Wade Philips? What do a brother need to do to get an audience with the governor of the Death Star?

  7. Good ol’ Texas billionaires like Jerrah and good buddies of Roger Goodell (Goody Goodelle just LOVES billionaires – the make his legs tingle) don’t hafta have no damn yankees tellim’ him he needs to talk ta no nigra folks.

    Don’t mess with Texas.

  8. so basically jerry jones wont be able to hire garret without minority candidates complaining that they didnt have a fair chance….well i guess that is cool that the cowboys next coach will be a minority since anything else and jones will be in trouble with the league

  9. It’s plain and simple: Jerry Jones continues to be his own worst enemy. If he didn’t want to have to go through the Rooney Rule process, he shouldn’t have said that asking for an exemption is a possibility or that he might ask for one.

    Jerry, here’s the killer, when you’re asked a question by a reporter or someone, you don’t have to answer.

  10. The Rooney Rule is not good for anyone at this stage. If Jerruh already knows who he’s going to hire, it can’t be any kind of a positive for a minority coach to have to sit thru a bogus interview. In fact, it could be seen as a negative. Look at Les Frazier, for example. How many of these BS token interviews has he had to waste his time with? After a while, it starts to look like nobody wants to hire him — so there must be something wrong with him, right?

    What if no minority candidate consents to be interviewed for the position? Is there a provision in the rule to account for that? Does the team just have to prove that they extended the invitation to X amount of minority candidates, but none accepted? just idiotic.

  11. the rooney rule is stupid anyways…any requirement to interview a person of color will always be viewed as a token interview…if a crazy owner doesn’t want to hire the best man for the job simply because he is black or asian etc then his team will suffer and likely lose many ball games and more importantly lose money…the ones that hire based on merit will have greater success…the rule, to me, makes the interview process a dog and pony show

  12. What’s the big deal? The Rooney’s have been getting exceptions for decades-Rottintooth Burger-3 games from 6, Seattle in Superbowl, Steroids in the 70’s………………….

  13. So, what exactly happens if he violates the Rooney rule? Do they lose draft picks, hell with the GM they have, that might be a blessing. Do they get fined, if so all they have to do is sell some artifacts in the tomb that Skelator built.

  14. The Rooney Rule is a racist garbage rule. Whoever thought of it is a total idiot. It does not help minority coaches, and is a sign of 1960s era racism. Number 1 why do minority coaches deserve special treatment over white coaches? If they interviewed a black man and wanted to hire him would they still have to interview a white man? Maybe we should make them interview a woman, a black man, a chocolate lab, a golden lab, and a black lab before they can high the guy they think is most qualified to run their team. In this case if no minorities want to interview for the job, then screw the minorities… Why should this be a problem? Well Florio we are going to hire you but first we have to interview Rosenthal, don’t worry we aren’t considering him it’s just a law we have to interview 1 total moron before we hire who we actually want.

  15. So Jerry Jones can’t just hand the coaching job to someone already on his staff but Bill Polian can? How does this stop racism?

  16. I seriously don’t understand the BIG problem with the Rooney rule.

    I swear to God If I owned a team and even if I thought that the current interim coach was the best pick or thought that I could get a former Super Bowl winning coach I would STILL interview like 10 people – just obviously some would be minorities – just so I would be SURE that I did the very best that I could to hire the very best coach that I could.

    Jerry Jones should really do this before handing the job to Garrett. Does he really think that the Panthers or Vikings or whoever are going to snatch Garrett up before Jones has a chance to make well researched and thought out decision?

    The Rooney Rule DOES NOT tell you who to hire, it just asks that you do due diligence and bring minorities into the search instead of just slam dunking through only white coaches.

  17. citizenstrange: The BIG problem some people with the Rooney rule, as you can see by the comments is that they’re racist – which is more of a personal probably. Nobody said that that the team HAS to hire a minority, just that they have to give them an interview. But of course, bigoted morons will start crying any time that racism is acknowledged because it makes them nervous.

  18. #
    dcfl says: Nov 19, 2010 5:24 PM

    The steelers don’t have to follow any rules, so why should anyone have to follow one named after the Rooneys? Its a joke anyway. If someone is interviewing for a job they are predisposed to know what they want and thus are wasting other peoples time.
    Tell that to Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt. Most people believed that Tomlin’s interview was yet another perfunctory interview, and that they were going to give the job to Whisenhunt. Instead, the Steelers were so impressed with Tomlin during the interview, that they brought him back for further discussions and ended up giving him the job.

  19. Garrett didn’t win the Giants game. The Giants’ Coughlin’s stupidity lost it! Detroit will beat Cowboys on Sunday ending this irrelevant discussion.

  20. @ citizenstrange

    The issue here is that it could become obvious that Jason Garrett will get the job (if he continues to win). So based on the Rooney Rule, Jerry Jones will have to interview a black guy just to follow the rule even though the black guy has no chance of getting the job. The rule is a joke, and black people should be offended by it.

    Have you heard about the affirmative action bake sales? If you’re Asian, the cost of a muffin is $1.50, if you are white, the same muffin is $1.00 & if you are black the muffin only costs $0.50……Does this really make any sense? So why are we applying the same logic to coaching jobs?

  21. @realitypolice
    Like when Seattle already had a deal in place with Pete Carroll, but interviewed Leslie Frazier before announcing it?….Yeah, that’s what the Rooney rule was designed for…

  22. Let’s see, a good portion of all new coaching hires are minorities, America elects a black President…. isn’t it time to do away with this outdated, now racist (now that it has performed its desired affect but it is no longer relevant) rule.

    I’m all for the Rooney rule, but where’s the rule where white players have to be given shots to play offensive and defensive skill positions (other than QB)? Haven’t Hillis and Woodhead proven that the whities can run too and that perhaps all they need is a shot?

    Of course I’m kidding, but the Rooney Rule is equally absurd, and a sham. We get it, minorities can coach too and deserve a chance, everybody gets it… but if some old crusty white owner doesn’t want a minority to coach his team, forcing him to interview a minority is not going to change his mind (other than his belief that they all have horns or tails like a goat).

  23. Amazing. I’m as white as white gets, and I find the undercurrent of racism in some of these comments to be absolutely disgusting. Almost as disgusting as the complete and total ignorance that many of those complaining about the rule seem to have about the requirements of the rule.

    Let’s make this real simple. The Rooney Rule doesn’t mandate that a team hire a minority coach. The rule simply requires that as part of the effort to fill the position, that a team interview at least one minority. How is that a major issue? If you can’t find one minority coach worth at least considering as part of your search, then you simply don’t want to find one. The rule came about because some in the league noticed that the hiring practices for coaches was pretty much a manifestation of the old boys network, and that qualified candidates weren’t even being considered.

    Prior to the implementation of the Rooney Rule there were a total of 7 minority head coaches in the history of the NFL. African-American coaches now hold 22% of the available positions, up from 6% before the rule was implemented. That’s not because the rule requires teams to hire African-American coaches, but because it requires them to at least take a look at them. What does it say about the hiring practices before the rule that the simple act of having to interview minority coaches would lead to that kind of jump? To me, it implies that qualified coaches simply weren’t getting a chance to show they could do the job.

    I could understand some of the “it’s an insult to minority coaches” comments if the rule set a quota on actual hiring. If that were the case, you could argue that they were lesser coaches who were only hired to fill a quota. That’s not the case, however. It also isn’t the case that minority coaches should view these interviews as a waste of time in most cases. The simple act of being interviewed for a head coaching position raises a coaches stock with front office executives, and could make them take another look at the coach when future coaching positions open up. The only time that it would be a waste of time is if the owner has already made it perfectly clear who he is going to hire.

    So, if Jones has a problem getting minority coaches to interview for the position, he will have only himself to blame in this case. The real issue here isn’t the Rooney Rule. The real issue is Jones, yet again, publicly throwing his weight around and acting as if the rules apply to everyone but him. He made the same mistake when he went around saying that the league was going to end revenue sharing, a move that would cripple many smaller market teams and threaten to reduce the fan base. The league had to rush out and explain that they were talking about ending a small fraction of the revenue sharing, and that the amount wouldn’t affect a team’s ability to hire quality players.

  24. Hey Florio I have a genius idea. Since you are so obsessed with the Rooney rule, which has been proven by the last 2 years I have been visiting this site, why don’t you objectively study what the rule is about… interviewing a minority canidate that you have no intenions on hiring just to satisfy some rule created by white people to feel better about themselves. This rule is the crap of the NFL. If I were a minority and the one minority candidate brought in to interview I would be insulted that I was being judged off the color of my skin and not my abilities and qualifications.

    The Rooney Rule and Colluision… two things that wouldn’t exist if libs like Florio didn’t have the media to blab about it. Keep sending our culture back by putting people into groups. Idiots.

  25. stadanko says:
    Nov 19, 2010 6:31 PM
    So Jerry Jones can’t just hand the coaching job to someone already on his staff but Bill Polian can? How does this stop racism?


    SMARTEST comment ever on this website. Racism only applies to white people.

  26. I think your being extremely nieve in thinking Jones or any other owner for the matter cant get 1 minority canidate to interview for the head coaching job.

    Jones could hold a press confrence right now and say Im going to give Jason Garrett the head coaching job and he would still be able to get someone to help him bypass the Rooney Rule. All he would have to do is call Michael Irvin and say I need help and he would be there in a minute to help Jerry and the Cowboys out.

    The guy doesnt have to be well known as a head coach canidate to pass the rooney rule all he has to be is black. And Im sure every owner has atleast 1 former black or minority player or friend willing to help out the team.

  27. Just because one is opposed to the rooney rule/affirmative action does not mean they are racist. The issue is simple. Preferential treatment on the basis of skin pigment has no business in the hiring process. The best person for the job should get that job, regardless of race. There was no outrage when nobody was ever interviewed for the colts job. Caldwell was told he was the successor to Dungy the year prior. Why is that OK but Jones can’t do the same thing with Garrett? How is it that no white assistant coach can be promoted to HC without interviewing anyone else, but ANY minority assistant coach can be promoted to HC without question? The rule is a farce and does absolutely nothing. Good coaches will get a shot based on merit…regardless of skin color.

  28. kd75 says:

    Did Indy interview any white candidates after Dungy left?


    Nice try but Indy named Caldwell as coach in waiting. Seems like their ownership was a lot smarter than Jones.

  29. chapnastier says:

    SMARTEST comment ever on this website. Racism only applies to white people.


    STUPIDEST comment ever on this website. Indy named Caldwell as coach in waiting and THUS didn’t have to comply with the Rooney Rule.

    For those of you idiots who believe that the Rooney Rule only applies to blacks, I turn your attention to the fact that Seattle named Mora as its coach in waiting and when Holmgren moved on, they slid him right into the job because he was already promised the job.

  30. For those of you who can’t read, well, I can’t help you but really, the Rooney Rule states that they have to INTERVIEW a minority and that hiring them isn’t mandatory. You might want to go look at the list of interviewed coaches for just the last 3 years to see that even with the requirement of having to interview minority candidates, well over 90% of those interviewed are white. Are you saying that you begrudge just ONE minority being interviewed for every 9 white men?

  31. stanklepoot says: Nov 19, 2010 7:53 PM

    The only time that it would be a waste of time is if the owner has already made it perfectly clear who he is going to hire.

    So, if Jones has a problem getting minority coaches to interview for the position, he will have only himself to blame in this case.
    This has nothing to do with racism.

    It may not be the best decision to hire Garrett, but it would seem natural for Jones to have already decided to, provided he can get the team to win a little. Therefore you say it would be a waste of time to interview anyone ( black or white) for the position.

    So, in order for Jones to avoid a problem, he should pretend he hasn’t decided on Garrett, and thereby be able to trick black coaches into agreeing to an interview which we can all agree is a sham, and a waste of time for the coach, but not for Jones, see? He would have circumvented the “spirit ” of the rule, even though the rule doesn’t tell anyone who to hire.
    And he would avoid THE PROBLEM.


    It has everything to do with political correctness.

  32. @slim charles
    please read the following as your average I.Q. might not be able to process logical thoughts very quickly:

    1. The Rooney rule was made by white liberals who consider it their duty to feel guilty about everything

    2. The Rooney rule has not positively affected black employment numbers among head coaches or coordinators

    3. The Rooney rule is an INSULT to black people, basically portraying them as people who are not talented enough to get a job without the noble efforts of white liberals, and using them as tokens to make those same guilty white liberals feel good about themselves.

  33. We all know what Jerruh is gonna do…have someone fake a geneology for Garrett that shows he had a black ancestor.
    What kind of dope pays an OC THEY not their HC selected a HC level salary and gives him “assistant HC” title yet fails to name him the successor HC in his contract if he wanted Garrett to be the next HC?

  34. So Jerry Jones is too important to be bothered by the Rooney rule? It’s understandable, he has such a keen eye for talent. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, the problem will be solved when the Cowboys return to their usual performance level.

  35. If you really want to make something of your life, throw away the crutches, focus and move on.

    You’ll never be able to run with crutches.

  36. patpatriotagain says:


    1. Wow, talk about stupid. BTW, the fans and media in Pittsburgh generally assumed that the Rooneys would hire one of two of their coaches, who were both white but once they got a chance to interview Tomlin, they felt that he was the right guy. Now, they had already satisfied the requirements of the Rooney Rule before so they didn’t have to interview Tomlin but they did. The only way that he or any other coach gets a job is that they get a face to face. If he hadn’t had that face to face, the Steelers would have probably hired a white head coach and you would have been happier.

    2. That’s a load of horse crap. The number of minority head coaches has soared since the introduction of the rule.

    3. Even more bull crap. Not only is it NOT an insult, most welcome the OPPORTUNITY to sit in the presence of the owner to show him that he’s intelligent enough to run a team (or not). That’s the big difference between talking to someone and not talking to them.

    The Rooney Rule ONLY says that they have to interview a minority and not that they have to hire them. There was a time when minorities didn’t even get a face to face and there’s no way that you can’t blow someone off without interviewing them. How would you like it if owners didn’t hire Irish coaches because they were afraid that they’d be drunk by noon and couldn’t do their job? Or coaches of French origin because they’re afraid that they’d have an affair with their wife? Or any other WHITE ethnic group because of some long standing stereotype that came from long standing European feuds?

    What IS an insult is refusing to meet face to face with minorities because you already have a preconceived notion about how they will act or what they’ll say or how they’ll talk. It’s an insult that Tony Dungy didn’t even get a face to face for many years while Dave Shula and Richie Kotite did and their resumes weren’t nearly as impressive when they got their jobs. The insult here is that you’d begrudge an INTERVIEW. How would you like it if you had a chance at a job but couldn’t get an interview because someone felt that you were too stupid because of your ethnic group?

  37. macjacmccoy says:

    I think your being extremely nieve in thinking Jones

    Tell that to the Detroit Lions, who were fined because the minority coaches around the league felt that it would be a sham interview so they refused to meet with the Lions.

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