NFL considering expanding Rooney Rule to coordinators


After an offseason which saw every team comply with the letter of the Rooney Rule, but none implement its spirit, the NFL is considering broadening the scope of the rule.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, one possibility which has been discussed is an expansion of the Rooney Rule which would require teams to interview minority candidates for coordinator jobs. The namesake of the rule hinted at such changes in another interview. As currently written, teams have to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager jobs.

The idea is a good one, so long as the same two or three coaches aren’t going on multiple interviews to check off a box. Its application would be most interesting on offense, where the number of minority play-callers doubled last week when Pep Hamilton was named offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, joining Baltimore’s Jim Caldwell.

The bigger problem remains developing candidates for those interviews, or else the proposed new rule might create the appearance of action rather than any substantive change.

Whether it’s a minor league the likes of which the league has lacked since NFL Europe was disbanded, or an affiliation with an existing league such as the CFL, a long-term answer will rely on creating opportunities for new candidates to get experience calling plays, rather than just going on interviews.

44 responses to “NFL considering expanding Rooney Rule to coordinators

  1. They need to change the rule to allow position coaches to interview for Coord. spots without team permission or this rule mean zero.

  2. I love the “spirit” of the rule which gives an equal opportunity to all races to secure a top notch job in our society, however, these billionare owners basically do what they want, and with this rule in place, all you ever see is that they hire who they want to hire no matter what, but they bring in a minority, usually first to get it out of the way, and to satisify the rule only. None of this is going to get any better untill newer progressive thinking owners are brought into the leauge, which is going to be awhile.

  3. Does that mean the league will change the restrictions on teams having the ability to block interview requests for assistants? I’m not saying that’s the reason there aren’t more minority coordinators, but it might be a factor. Assistants should have the option to explore any possibilities for promotions, but teams currently have the ability to prevent their assistants from talking to other teams.

  4. I’d have to agree the only guy i thought got jobbed was Horton and maybe it was because they wanted to start with a clean slate,I can certainly see that angle in the desert and he got a job within hours..

  5. Racism isn’t going anywhere as long as these kinds of discriminatory type practices are still around. Even if the rule is intended for something good… Affirmative action, selective hiring bonuses, etc all need to go.

  6. How about we expand it to Quarterbacks, deep snappers, punters, and kickers? Oh and centers, I think that’s a position where Caucasians make up the majority as well which is a problem.

  7. Sorry, but I find it damn near impossible to have a sport: That for decades has 80% of the players be minorities. Yet, have less than 10% of those in positions of power not be minorities. It speaks to the notion that minorities, namely black, are good enough to play the game. But not smart enough to scheme and plan and organize and lead a team. That is complete and utter bullcrap.

  8. Caldwell failed terribly with no Peyton so I hesitate hiring him as a HC, after all it’s about winning and he did it with Dungy’s team. Sumlin, Charlie Strong, David Shaw, I’d hire them anytime and the NFL will be going hard after them if they continue to succeed like this past year. Extensions with more money kept NFL from going after them but they keep it up, here they come and won’t let up until they snag them.

  9. If they were good coordinators they would be coordinators in the NFL, NCAA, or CFL. Period. No owner is going to choose a less qualified candidate over a better minority candidate because of race… Unless they like losing in business.

    Bring back Tony Dungy… Team builder, UNCOMMON and honorable.

  10. If it was a normal job I would see it as a place hiring and all the resumes doesn’t contain one from a minority. Now it can all be just by chance but from the outside looking in, it just looks bad. It’s nothing wrong with looking in a place that you’ve never looked before. That’s what I think the whole idea is. Just my opinion tho

  11. Lt me start off by saying I’m white. I have no problem with the Rooney rule. Too often we make judgements on people based on what we read in the paper or see on TV. when one team does well we assume it must be the result of the Head coach, OC, or DC. sometimes the players make the coordinators look good and some times the coordinators get the best out of the players.

    To me it’s like a player claiming “my coach is the best in the league” if you have only played for that one coach, then how do you know when you have only played for one coach?

    The best way to know a mans philosophy about the game is to sit down and interview him, and not base your opinions on how his current team is playing, or on what TV talking heads say.

    Now if the Rooney rule stated you MUST hire a minority, then I would have a problem. I remember when Tomlin was hired in Pgh ESPN claimed Wisenhunt or Grimm would get hired, yet according to PFT Tomlin nailed the interview and got the job over them both.

    So go ahead and interview a minority, your point of view might be changed. No ones saying they HAVE to hire a minority.

  12. I think nepotism is a bigger factor in minorities not getting opportunities than racism. There are not many NFL jobs compared to the amount of people that want them and candidates with connections will always get jobs first

  13. There’s a difference in equality of opportunity & equality of outcome. It’s an unpopular opinion but if there’s less black candidates for jobs and are guaranteed an interview, doesn’t that give a distinct advantage to minorities? In other words 1/10 is a better shot than 1/100

  14. It’s not about choosing , it’s about LOOKING. I believe it’s equivalent to not looking at a player based upon the round he was drafted. Yeah that 1st round QB is good but how will you find that next Brady unless you look in places you’ve never looked. Jus my opinion.

  15. Maybe there should be a Whitey rule for white people that want to be in the NAACP?

    How about a rule that says whites must make up 50% of the NBA?

    See how asinine this is?

  16. Since whites are in the minority now, why aren’t they classified as minorities. I want to make sure the Rooney Rule guarantee’s a white person gets to interview for all openings.

    Seriously, do away with this rule. It did its job. We have black coaches in football. Its not a white good ol boys network anymore and serves no purpose.
    Everyone needs to earn their keep now. That’s what I call diversity

  17. For the NFL to do this, they need to remove the rule that classifies all assistant coaches as the same. If there is a coordinator Rooney Rule, all assistant coaches without the “coordinator” title should be fair game for other teams to interview with or without permission from their franchise. Pittsburgh’s Keith Butler would likely already be a Head Coach if another team could attempt to pry him away as their DC. Too many teams “trap” their highly qualified assistant coaches from receiving promotions that would give them the chance to move into the HCing candidate pipeline. It makes no sense for the NFL to impose stricter standards without giving teams more liberty I who they can throw money at.

  18. If things are going to change in the NFL with minority coaches it first has to happen in college football, specifically Div-1. College needs some sort of Rooney Rule more so than the NFL.

  19. maybe there just aren’t enough minorities that are good enough to be considered for coordinator and head coach positions…the Rooney rule is a joke…

  20. While I agree with just about all of the above comments, I would add that everyone (NFL/NFLPA/ESPN/PFT/etc.)they are making way too much of a big deal about this one year. David Shaw, Kevin Sumlin, and Barry Alvarez are all on their way to the NFL sooner rather than later. Hue Jackson, Lovie Smith, and Romeo Crennel will also have new jobs before we know it; and “order” will be restored.

    Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see guys like Troy Brown, Tony Gonzalez, London Fletcher, and Champ Bailey enter the coaching ranks in short order and ascend fairly quickly. If Ray Lewis finds his ESPN job a little tame for his tastes, he could easily be back in the NFL as well.

  21. How would you know if a coach is close to becoming something good/great, if you don’t even try. Like a player with raw ability and just needing a little bit of coaching to get to that next level. The same could be said with the coaches.

  22. This is a prime example of the hegelian principle:
    1. Create a problem – not enough minority coaches in a sport dominated by minorities.
    2. Publicize the problem – make people think you are championing a righteous cause, doing something FOR them when in reality you are doing something TO them, enforcing bogus rules which will lead to penalties, mandates, transfer or power.
    3. Propose a solution – create the cure for the disease you created. The rooney rule was a compromise, now the original debate is being resurrected in hopes of another compromise pushing closer to one sides agenda, compromise will be reached and then the debate will be brought back again asking for more compromise until there is a mandate of which color people hold which positions and even which color people can own teams.

    This is not freedom.

  23. The rule is an embarassment to our society. People are given token interviews just to abide by this idiotic rule, and it’s a slap in the face. Owners know who they want to hire. Why waste the time of someone when you KNOW they have no chance of getting the job? Sad that in 2013, the madness continues to live.

  24. What about a Rooney Rule for evaluating white defensive backs?

    Would that be fair? If unnecessary, is that a racist position?

  25. How about Rooney Rule for fans in attendance at games. How about on post game show on the NFL channel, how about the rule for equal color of players on each play. Is everything have to be a racist action if it does not accomadate the man of color.

  26. Here’s a better idea … screen prospective owners, general managers, and head coaches to eliminate racists.

  27. NO! Please just eliminate this stupid rule completely. It’s a completely racist rule with roots in white liberal guilt. The best candidate should always get the job. If an owner won’t hire a minority candidate that is the best candidate for the job because he is a racist, a token minority interview will have a 0% chance of changing his way of thinking. I love Dan Rooney but this rule is asinine.

  28. Will the NFLPA push for more white WRs and RBs as well? Clearly they aren’t getting that same chances as other players. Could we call it the Nelson Kuhn rule? Sick of this whinning, do your job and EARN the oppertunity to be a head coach.

  29. This rule should be gone. If a team wants a certain guy for head coach, they shouldn’t be forced to interview a minority just to satisfy a rule. If the minority isn’t the top guy for the job then he isn’t the top guy for the job.

  30. All this rule creates is the embarrassment of sham interviews – which in itself is discriminatory to minorities. How many times have you read the phrase ‘satisfied the Rooney rule’ regarding an interview – that’s all it is in most cases. The guy doesn’t have a real shot at the job and knows it going into the interview. I believe the recipient of a sham interview feels singled out/treated differently because of his race (the very thing this rule supposedly is attempting to eliminate) and likely shamed by the fact he participated in such a farce.

    Does anyone actually think this culture of fake/sham interviews under the guise of ensuring equality improves anything? Get rid of the rule.

  31. Hell, let’s just extend it to the person who puts ice in the training tub too. Why not perpetuate the idea that a minority can’t make advancement based on his own merits. Don’t people understand that the long term result of ANY quota rule is the exact opposite of that which is intended? Minorities should be offended by this entire process.

  32. Is the “spirit” of the Rooney Rule actually hiring an unqualified minority? If I’m a billionaire owner that wants to win I’m not feeling that spirit either!

  33. What the rule does is ensure that a qualified minority candidate gets in front of a decision-maker and is afforded an opportunity to make an impression. If that individual is not hired at least his name might be mentioned along with those in the “grapevine”, and not just the usual suspects & retreads, once the next opportunity arises. It also affords the candidate the opportunity to experience the interview process; even if they are not hired they may be better prepared when/if the next opportunity arises.

    The fact is that interview opportunities were limited prior to institution of this rule. Expanding this rule to assistants/coordinators may help produce a more diverse group of qualified candidates.

    And yes, owners/GMs will (and should) hire the candidates that they deem most qualified. And no, this rule does not implement or constitute a “quota”.

  34. Hate to break it to you but racism doesn’t exist in coaching! No owner would turn down the best coach no matter what! This league is about winning and nothing else. Dungy and Tomlin are good coaches and race had nothing to do with it! Rooney rule is stupid and is a typical appeasement attempt for whiners!

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