Ozzie Newsome thinks Rooney Rule still works


Even though no minority candidates were added during the NFL’s latest coaching and GM-hiring cycle, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said he still has faith in the Rooney Rule.

In fact, the league’s first minority general manager said Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell would likely have had a chance at some jobs if they weren’t still playing.

To Newsome, that shows that people are still looking for qualified minority candidates, even if they’re not getting jobs.

“Is the opportunity there? Yes it is,” Newsome said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “You can look at the fact that I am the third of the GMs that have been there [Super Bowl]. [Cardinals general manager] Rod Graves had a chance to go with Arizona. [Giants general manager] Jerry Reese has been to two. We’ve had African-American coaches have the opportunity. I’ve had conversations among the diversity working group committee myself. Are we going work to get better?

“Yes, but all we can do is to put people in front of people. [Steelers coach] Mike Tomlin got in front of the Rooneys and got that job. I think that opportunity is there. I’d like for African Americans to get an opportunity, but John Harbaugh is a good football coach. Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach. And [Browns coach] Rob Chudzinski is a good football coach. So, they’re not making bad decisions. There’s just a good pool of candidates out there that people have to choose from.”

Newsome said he heard from several general managers at the Senior Bowl about Caldwell’s chances in the future.

“One of the nice things of being at the Senior Bowl is that I got the chance to be around a lot of the GMs,” Newsome said. “And I have had a couple of GMs tell me, ‘If it wasn’t for your guys’ success in the playoffs, that [Caldwell] would have been someone that we would have interviewed.’ Hopefully next year we’ll be in the same spot and it will be tough for him to get interviews again. But I can see him getting that opportunity a year from now.”

Setting aside the timing issue (if you’re interested enough in someone to think he might be your head coach, two weeks shouldn’t be a deterrent to a long-range plan), Caldwell’s late-season ascension to offensive coordinator in Baltimore helps the process.

The league went from no minority play-callers to two in the last two months (along with the Colts hiring Stanford’s Pep Hamilton as offensive coordinator), and at a time when the pendulum is swinging toward head coaches with offensive backgrounds, any addition to the pool is a benefit to future candidates.

22 responses to “Ozzie Newsome thinks Rooney Rule still works

  1. If Caldwell gets another chance, it would be a complete joke. The guy cannot “bring out the best” of a team. Sure if you give him an alltime great QB, he could succeed… But who wouldnt??

    Every aspect of that 2009 Colts Superbowl team stunk except for their passing game. Run offense: terrible, run defense: terrible, pass defense: terrible, special teams: terrible, coaching and clock management: terrible.

    Good luck to any team that ends up with him as a HC. You’re gonna need it.

  2. I wish we would stop holding people to different standards based on race. You can either do something or you cannot. Making it easier for one group is not going to help them. It will just dilute the pool with less qualified candidates from that pool and reduce the credit given to members of that group who would have made it without the assistance.

  3. The Rooney Rule has never gotten a single person hired for a coaching job ever. If a GM wants a guy he hires him, black or not. If he doesn’t he does not change his mind because he was forced to interview him by the Rooney rule. It’s 2013 and this is the NFL. Anyone that thinks any differently, get over yourself.

  4. One of the problems minority candidates face is the constant recycling of coaches. This has to do with a mindset about previous success. Tony Dungy is part of a minority group but he would have been snapped up quickly if he had (or later does) exit retirement.

    A downside of the Rooney rule (although I favor the rule) is that some teams will already know going in who they want. Andy Reid or Bruce Arians were prize hires this year, so the teams landing those guys may have just had pro forma interviews with minority candidates.

  5. Maybe the NFL should change its policy regarding the interview process for assistant coaches whose teams are still in the playoffs. I love the fact the Ozzie Newsome sees the situation for what it is, not as a race issue.

  6. I have tremendous respect for Ozzie Newsome. His comments were right on the money. Ozzie said that these teams like the Browns are hiring good people. Ozzie’s comments were a lot more refreshing than the comments that have been by the race card playing left wing fanatics at ESPN.

  7. Two weeks is a lot of time to lose if unless you are 100% SURE that you want that candidate.

    Otherwise, it is likely that the other candidates you are looking at have accepted other positions. The timing is not a minority coach issue… it’s a coach on teams that are going to the Super Bowl issue regardless of skin color issue.

    If the Seahawks won, Gus Bradley isn’t the coach of Jags right now and may not have gotten the opportunity to be. It’s very likey Roman would have interviewed in that spot and based upon his previous ties to the GM, could very well have been named coach.

    The only way to ensure that everyone gets a fair opportunity, including minority candidates is to not allow coaches to be interviewed until the Super Bowl week at the earliest. Although that would probably cause an issue for attracting college coaches.

  8. “I think that opportunity is there. I’d like for African Americans to get an opportunity, but John Harbaugh is a good football coach. Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach. And [Browns coach] Rob Chudzinski is a good football coach. So, they’re not making bad decisions. There’s just a good pool of candidates out there that people have to choose from.”

    And there you have it.

  9. Until there is a minority owner, AAs will likely be slow to move up the ladder. It will happen, but it might take a generation for old white guys to die off.

    How long until we get an active NFL player to admit he’s gay? The U.S. military has adapted, but the NFL still is a very traditional employer.

  10. I hate this rule. No team drafting players look at skin color, coaches shouldn’t be different. Get rid of the Rooney Rule and judge coaches like they do players. Forget race, choose the best person available.

  11. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”


    The Rooney rule only works to accomplish the exact opposite of this quote.

    If I was a coach, I would want to be both interviewed and hired on the merit of my skills and not the color of my skin.

    Horrible rule.

  12. I don’t like any rule that dictates such action much be taken. But if it has no other effect outside of reminding people that for every 100 people, there are 65 White men and women, 18 Latinos, 3-4 Asians, a Native American and 11 or 12 Blacks. Simple math shows that in the NFL alone where those numbers are more like 89 White, 3 Latino, and about 8 Black, the deck is stacked with 10 times as many White male candidates as there are of any other ethnicity. Of course those who fall into that majority category are going to scoff at the need for some sort of enactment, because it is similar for them when looking for regular work.

    But to suggest that simply hiring the “best candidate for the job” is enough is ludicrous; as it fuels the Good Ol’ Boy system to continue doing what it does (not that they don’t have the legal right to do so; but if you are going to argue that the best person should/does get the job, then this flawed mindset actually exacerbates the fact that better qualified candidates are often left out, not so much due to race as much as the numbers game itself — being outnumbered 10:1).

    That’s how I see it. I wouldn’t want to ever be a token hire for anything, but I also don’t want to be overlooked simply because someone feels less threatened around White men and women, and because they outnumber me and other Blacks/Latinos at least 5:1 when applying for jobs.

  13. Of course it works. Minority coaches have been lights out. Of the 3 minority coaches left in the NFL, only Tomblin didn’t take his team to the playoffs. Minority coaches can be great (unless your name is Mike Singeltary). This was just a year in which no minority coaches stood out. Next year I’m sure there will be multiple minority hires as there will be openings in Det, Jets, Oak, Ten,Dal,Atl, and Car.

    You heard it hear first.

  14. It irritates me that people imply the Rooney Rule is purely reverse racism, with no recognition of the ruthless historical nature of free enterprise. In fact, with the rather large number of African-American players in the league, ambitious coaches would be competitively remiss not to leverage their ethnicity to gain equal exposure of their abilities. It seems many people self righteously want the door slammed shut now that “their people” squeaked through.

  15. The 3 people with the most reasonable thoughts on the rule were Jerry Reese, Ozzie Newsome, and Mike Francesa.

    Also keep in mind that 10 out 32 teams still have a minority in a coach/GM/owner power position. And 1 other team’s CFO is Asian

  16. The Rooney rule just ensures that minority candidates get interviewed. The fact that the rules exist was a double edge sword. Teams were interviewing black members of their staff just to satisfy the rule. Certain teams did hire guys whether they wanted to or if it was experimental but the rule makes it worse. The NCAA is the same way with no Rooney rule with minimal scrutiny compared to the NFL.

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