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Hiring a minority interim coach doesn’t open the door to hiring a permanent coach before end of season

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Three NFL coaches have been fired in the last two weeks.  For each of the three teams (Jaguars, Chiefs, and Dolphins), the interim head coach is African-American.

That has prompted some to speculate that the choice of a minority interim coach by one or more of the teams was aimed at opening the door for the hiring of a permanent, non-minority coach before the end of the current season.

But that’s not how it works.

“Once the season is concluded, the head coaching position must be considered open and the club must fill the position in accordance with the interviewing guidelines,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email on Tuesday morning.  “No club may make a commitment to a coach retained during the season that extends beyond the end of the club’s playing season.”

In other words, hiring a minority coach to serve as the interim head coach doesn’t operate as a blank check to hire a permanent head coach whenever the team chooses to do so.

These machinations flow from the Rooney Rule, a nearly 10-year-old provision that requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for every head-coaching vacancy.  Regardless of whether we’ve reached a point where the Rooney Rule no longer is needed (and with each passing year we arguably are), it remains on the books.

For teams hiring interim coaches who are members of a minority group, compliance with the Rooney Rule necessarily becomes easier, since the interim head coach can promptly be interviewed for the permanent position as soon as the season ends, which then opens the door for the team to hire whomever it wants to hire.

Still, hiring an interim coach who is a member of a minority group does not allow the team to accelerate the process of hiring the permanent head coach.

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39 Responses to “Hiring a minority interim coach doesn’t open the door to hiring a permanent coach before end of season”
  1. FinFan68 says: Dec 13, 2011 9:52 AM

    Here we go again with the stupid Rooney rule. In a league full of stupid or unnecessary rules, this one is the worst of the bunch.

  2. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Dec 13, 2011 9:55 AM

    The NFL needs to worry less about this (good coaches will get jobs) and more about head injuries.

  3. joetoronto says: Dec 13, 2011 9:56 AM

    There’s obviously absolutely no need at all for this stupid rule.

    Get rid of it.

  4. mike106 says: Dec 13, 2011 10:00 AM

    As a owner of a team it should be up to me who I wanted to hire…. Why do I HAVE to interview a black guy… Why can’t I interview who I want as long as they are the best man for the job… This ‘rooney rule’ is bullsh!t… If I was a black coach I would be pissed off about this rule…Interview me because the job i’ve done not the color of my skin…..

  5. chiefsnfl says: Dec 13, 2011 10:02 AM

    There is the possibility that all three interim head coaches were the best available for each respective team.

  6. southpaw2k says: Dec 13, 2011 10:15 AM

    I wonder what’s next after the Rooney Rule. Will teams have to interview a woman for a head coach vacancy eventually too?

  7. jcusa514 says: Dec 13, 2011 10:20 AM

    and here is the first of about 37 articles we’ll get about the rooney rule until the second week of january.

  8. mackie66 says: Dec 13, 2011 10:21 AM

    Are you saying the entittlement program the NFL has established is not working, or is working but owners have this funny idea about running their own company? Or is it that PFT has decided to be the “rule” police of the NFL? I havent talked with one NFL fan who dislikes his/her team because of a black head coach. And I think Todd Bowles would do a great job in Miami if given the oppertunity.

  9. finsmakemecry says: Dec 13, 2011 10:24 AM

    Not saying being a minority didn’t help the decision process for Bowles as interim HC in Miami, but his title was assistant HC. It would seem Ross would have more ‘splaining to do if he didn’t promote the assistant HC who is a minority, although a case could be made for Mike Nolan since he has been an HC and would presumably be able to jump right in and handle the day to day logistics.

    What has always bothered me about the Rooney rule is that the coaching candidate pool mostly (and should) comes from Coordinator and position coaches. Wouldn’t it make more sense to apply Rooney rule to hiring of Coordinators so that there is a coaching candidate list of qualified and experienced coaches with Coordinator experience? IMO, it adds more credibility to the interviewing and hiring of a coach who happens to be a minority vs interviewing a position coach who is a minority and who may get the HC job over a Coordinator being interviewed. Not that a position coach can’t go on to be a great coach, but it would just make more sense to me if the focus was on Coordinator hirings with the Rooney rule so that minority coaches can get the experience that will help prepare them more for being a HC someday.

  10. 12strikes says: Dec 13, 2011 10:24 AM

    Rules (Laws) like the Rooney Rule are what makes race relations in this county impossible to overcome. Government and organization can NOT make people ignore race, if they are making rules that are race based.

    Make it mandatory to interview 5 people for the job. If the team goes through 3 or so coaches in 10 years and none of the interviewees are minorities then maybe something can be done.

  11. gbpackman says: Dec 13, 2011 10:26 AM

    It may not satisfy the Rooney rule because they are interims, but all three of them will be willing to interview after the season because of the position they are in. Everybody knows the rule is a sham and a lot of teams were having a hard time even bringing minorities in. This helps greatly. Get rid of that stupid rule anyways.

  12. billinva says: Dec 13, 2011 10:35 AM

    If they can’t or won’t get rid of the Rooney Rule, I think a team should be allowed to promote from within without having to interview a minority coach.

    Seems unfair that a team can promote a minority coach from within but not a non-minority coach.

  13. explosionsauce says: Dec 13, 2011 10:38 AM

    I just heard Mike Singletary landed all three jobs at once.

  14. docredskin says: Dec 13, 2011 10:43 AM

    How about a Rooney Rule for cornerbacks? It’s fine for one race to monopolize any position in football so long as it is a specific race, I suppose.

  15. webb1081 says: Dec 13, 2011 10:48 AM

    So they give a minority interim coach a token interview and it makes it ok? What happened to hiring the best man for the job? Shouldn’t we be past the point of skin color being a factor for employment?

  16. yevrag3535 says: Dec 13, 2011 11:03 AM

    Hire the best guy. Some of these teams stink so bad, we don’t care if the coach is from Mars but he can turn things around. Give it a break, color an race doesn’t matter to me, ability does. I thought this was 2o11-2012 season oming up. You arent going to please all the people ni matter what you do! They are jusy knuckleheads who still must live in caves or something.

  17. nogoodell says: Dec 13, 2011 11:12 AM

    I’m about as left wing as it gets and I think this rule has run it’s course

  18. mdpickles says: Dec 13, 2011 11:12 AM

    Does Juan Castillo count as a minority interview?? How bout Rob Ryan? You would think albatrosses are a minority in the NFL.

  19. laramsfan003 says: Dec 13, 2011 11:19 AM

    I’d like to see a rule instituted for the hiring of the NFL Commissioner. Call it the “BOZO rule.” Stipulating that clowns like Goodell are automatically disqualified for the position due to their inability to not eff things up. They must interview at least 3 competent candidates instead of promoting from the priviledged underlings within.

  20. bigd9484 says: Dec 13, 2011 11:20 AM

    I think one/some of these teams may be promoting the minority coach to ‘ensure’ they get the minority coaching interview. I remember reading a few articles last year, that some of the gentleman were P.O.’d that they were ‘token’ interviews, and that a few of the final teams to hire coaches were having a hard time finding a minority coach to interview.

  21. nesuperfan says: Dec 13, 2011 11:23 AM

    If I were black, I would become a professional coaching candidate. They could hire me for $25,000 to come be their faux minority candidate interview.

    This would be good because right now, they often just waste some poor sucker’s time.

  22. godofwine330 says: Dec 13, 2011 11:41 AM

    Those that think it stupid and unnessary are probably not a minority. They rarely face discrimiation. Being a minority and a veteran, I have seen things, heard things that people say do not go on anymore in today’s society, and this is on the middle class level of life. I have seen Whites hired who do not know their tail end from a hole in the wall over a minority who is and has been doing the job for years. Have seen within a government agency veterans discrimated against simply because the interviewer doesn’t think that veterans can do the job. On the upper class side of the table there is a much stricter code of “people around me that look like me” attitude, that exists on the middle class level but not to this extent.

    You must understand that unless you are unbelievably naive, prejudice and racial prejudices are still out there. It is impossible to meat them out, we can only hope that people have matured to the point where they are able to realize that race has little or nothing to do with whether or not a person can do the job. This has to do more with the person than the race of the individual.

    Race is a lie. A challenge by God himself to see if we are smart enough to see past something so irrelevant…and most of us fail miserably

  23. trevorthej says: Dec 13, 2011 11:43 AM

    The problem that really comes is when a team wants to hire an established coach (Gruden, Cowher, etc..) but they ‘interview’ a minority candidate with ZERO intention of hire him. Leslie Frazier was that guy time & again. Perry Fewell was given a ‘courtesy’ interview with the Bills, to appease the Rooney Rule. Before being hired by the Raiders, how many ‘courtesy’ interviews did Hue Jackson go on?

    For guys like Tomlin, Raheem Morris, & (eventually) Frazier, the Rooney Rule has worked out well. But for all the others being trotted out for fake interviews I feel bad for those guys. They have to know they are just being used.

  24. AlanSaysYo says: Dec 13, 2011 12:10 PM

    I’ve never though the Rooney Rule was necessary or even beneficial, but it this case it seems to have served its purpose. If all three of the clubs with vacancies promoted minority interim coaches to secure interviews with them at the end of the season, they’ve already given those interim coaches the best possible interview platform – a multi-game tryout. I don’t see how anyone could ask for more.

  25. fancyleague says: Dec 13, 2011 12:37 PM

    Can we hire a minority commissioner? Maybe Samuel L. Jackson or somebody who isn’t a delicate flower.

  26. earthtopft says: Dec 13, 2011 12:39 PM

    It’s gotten to the point that black assistant coaches around the league are referred to as Interim-Americans.

  27. johnnyuminus says: Dec 13, 2011 12:41 PM

    The clarity provided about the Rooney Rule leads to an even deeper analysis as to why minority interim head coaches are hired.

    If teams hire a non-minority as interim head coach who becomes a preferred candidate and ultimate choice, it would “look” pre-meditated — even after a thoroughly conscientious and proper interview process.

    But better yet, the teams’ hiring of minorities as interim head coaches advances the Rooney Rule by giving minorities “real” head coaching experience (even if temporary) for future consideration.

  28. dolphins4 says: Dec 13, 2011 12:44 PM

    The Rooneys are a bunch of stooges.

  29. 12strikes says: Dec 13, 2011 12:45 PM

    @godofwine330 – you seemed to leave off the minorities that have lesser SAT scores that get into universities before non-minorities or minorities that have lesser test scores for state/local jobs that get the jobs over non-minority applicants.
    “You must understand that unless you are unbelievably naive, prejudice and racial prejudices are still out there.”
    I believe they are , but their not going to stop by legislation that favor’s one race over another.

  30. theharshestreality says: Dec 13, 2011 12:55 PM

    Why is that guys like McDaniel and Pioli have such a hard time adjusting to life (and people) after leaving New England? You can include Weiss and Mangini in that mix as well…

  31. 305fan says: Dec 13, 2011 1:06 PM

    Why is it that everyone associates the Rooney rule with the hiring of a black coach? This is total BS. Why is there no love for midget Head Coaches?

  32. dryzzt23 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:10 PM

    I work at a major university where most of the personnel in my department are black females, all of whom I get along with really well. I was recently promoted to a management position where I can hire people. As the lone male, and lone Native American, amongst an otherwise entirely black department, I feel very compelled to hire someone who fits the job requirements but who is not black.
    Why? One word that has been crammed down my throat for years by the left: DIVERSITY

    If the dept were all/mostly white then I’d be FORCED to hire a black person but in this case it is reversed so I will hire a non-black person.

    In fact, I’d like to know if the Rooney Rule specifies that the minority HAS to be black. Why can the person not be Native American, Asian, or Hispanic? Those 3 races are more under-represented than blacks are yet they get no outcry for “diversity” solely b/c “diversity” is for ONE race alone: blacks

    Yet it is blacks who scream that they want diversity but when it goes against them then it is a racist situation

  33. qinct says: Dec 13, 2011 1:34 PM

    I just want to know why people are so threatened by a rule that states a team only has to INTERVIEW at least one minority candidate? The NFL has been a good ol’ boy network for a long time, and while there have been a few African-american, and a couple of Latin-American HC. They still keep recycling these guys that don’t win. (Watch Josh McDaniels get an opp before Perry Fewell).

    People that refer to the rule as “stupid” or so-called “reverse discrimination (which is, again, ridiculous because the requirement is only to interview)” ought to live to try living in the shoes of someone who has the education, training and motivation, but NO ACCESS to the same opportunities as a select few. Then you propably won’t see it as stupid.

  34. phinfan says: Dec 13, 2011 1:41 PM

    I do have to admit the dolphins making todd bowles over Nolan and Daboll was shocking to me.

  35. geauxjay says: Dec 13, 2011 1:44 PM

    Do you really think an NFL team wouldn’t hire a coach that they thought could win a Super Bowl because he was black?

    What you should be offended about is that teams are going through the motions with has-beens like Ray Rhodes instead of really advancing the cause that you are so worried about.

  36. geauxjay says: Dec 13, 2011 1:47 PM

    And the problem isn’t with white people. The problem is with NEPOTISM. If you’re white and your last name isn’t Ryan, Schottenheimer, Shurmur, Phillips, Nolan, and so on, you have about as much chance of getting a job as a minority candidate.

  37. whatswiththehate says: Dec 13, 2011 2:50 PM

    What was the point of bringing this to the public attention PFT. So what three blacks were promoted to position of head coaching recently. The fact that this site even brought to our attention says exactly why we need the Rooney rule to begin with. It’s obvious there are those who are still looking at life through black and white glasses but is trying to brainwash our society to believe that laws like the Rooney rule isn’t needed. The real concern should be, that this rule is only ten years old. That means the NFL was still in the mindset that minorities weren’t good enough for head coaching jobs within this decade.

    What’s evenmore disturbing are the folks who still believe giving a black person a head position in the NFL automatically means racism is over. This psychology needs to stop.

  38. FinFan68 says: Dec 13, 2011 3:38 PM

    dryzzt23:
    Congrats. You are exhibiting the very attitude that should be eradicated. I understand your point, however, “so I will hire a non-black person” is the same thing. How about just hiring the best person for the job?

    Folks, there is no such thing as reverse discrimination. When you exclude someone based on their race it is discrimination regardless of which race they happen to be.

    Discrimination is wrong, but so is giving preferential treatment on the basis of race/skin color.

  39. blancodiablo says: Dec 13, 2011 5:22 PM

    For the Jags, Mel Tucker really was the best option available.

    And GodofWhine, your screen name accurately fits you.

    Stop being a victim. The job market is tough for everyone. The military have the belief they can beat out everyone for job. Not so in this market when you are competing against 90 other people for each position. 90 people with direct experience. Stick with govt jobs where you are rewarded for your service. Or become a contractor.

    But lay off the poor military black man routine.

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