Paul Tagliabue unhappy with performance of Rooney Rule

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A full 13 years after the NFL fashioned the Rooney Rule, the Commissioner who presided over its development and adoption isn’t happy with its performance.

“I don’t think the Rooney Rule has done as much as anyone hoped it would,” Paul Tagliabue said at the 2016 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily.

Tagliabue later elaborated, in comments to Kaplan.

“What is it, five out of 32?” Tagliabue said regarding the number of minority head coaches currently in the NFL. “Everyone feels, I am sure, that it would be nice if there was more talent rising to the top.”

The current minority head coaches are Todd Bowles of the Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, Hue Jackson of the Browns, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, Jim Caldwell of the Lions, and Ron Rivera of the Panthers.

The Rooney Rule primarily requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for all coaching and G.M. jobs. The problem in most cases is that owners decide who they want to hire before firing their current coaches or General Managers, and the challenge comes from getting the owners to slow down and broaden the lens before making offers.

There’s also a question as to whether the Rooney Rule currently represents anything more than an effort to check boxes. Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, for example, said earlier this year that only two of his four interviews from the last hiring cycle were legitimate.

The league can only do so much to compel teams to consider minority candidates. The goal should be to embrace the manner in which owners make hiring decisions, and to ensure that, when formulating a wish list, minority candidates have a fair chance to show up on it.

Requiring at least one minority interview helps, because it gets the names of minority coaches into the media and creates a sense of inevitability that the coach will get an opportunity to run his own team. This dynamic would become even more significant if the NFL addressed the under representation of minority coaches at key positions like offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

NFL teams often gravitate toward coaches who know how to spot and groom quarterbacks; unless more minority assistant coaches are honing those skills, they won’t get into the conversation of potential head-coaching candidates.

With too few minority head coaches at the college level, another potential reservoir of talented candidates never becomes fully developed. But with the NFL chronically treading lightly when it comes to its relationship with the stewards of pro football’s free farm system, don’t count on the NFL to start twisting arms to get college football to do a better job when it comes to considering minority coaches.

So while the situation is better than it was 13 years ago, Tagliabue thinks it’s not nearly good enough. The NFL, which has a natural desire to not make the problem seem as bad as it is, tends to never make similar remarks, at least not publicly.

Hopefully, efforts are privately being considered to develop qualified minority candidates and to get their names in front of owners not after current coaches and General Managers are fired but before the moves are made, when the owners are quietly figuring out who they want to hire next.

60 responses to “Paul Tagliabue unhappy with performance of Rooney Rule

  1. Annnnddddd the combined record of those coaches this season is????? I get it, I do, I know why it’s there, but, it almost seems like it does more harm than good.

  2. Can anyone point to minority candidate coaches that are better qualified than whom was hired?

    Are there minority coaches at any level of the NFL coaching tree that are employed well below their ability?

    I’m thinking no. Because every time the question comes up – no one can give a name.

    Rooney rule is essentially racist – it’s telling minorities that they’re not good enough to get it on their own and it takes “the man” helping them get the gig to make things happen.

    In a 9 billion dollar business – guys will hire what’s best for the wallet, not the hate.

    Even the NBA guy hired for his wallet, not his hate when it came to the Clippers.

  3. The problem is is that there are 32 teams worth millions of dollars. The owners want the best person for the job when they hire a coach. They don’t care about skin color. If you are the person who they think gives them the best chance to win and make them more money then you will get the job. By no means am I saying that many minority candidates wouldn’t be great coaches. But at the end of the day the owners are going to hire the person they feel gives them the best chance to win, period. Forcing teams to interview someone when the team is looking at someone else hurts the chances of helping minorities move up in the coaching ranks. If someone keeps getting used as a “rule filler” candidate and getting passed over then other teams down the line wonder what is so wrong with them that no one has already hired them. Let the coaches stand on there own two feet and be selected for what they have to offer. My guess is that if they do away with the Rooney Rule (as well meaning as it is), you will actually see more minorities move up the ranks.

  4. Let’s also make sure that the candidates being considered are actually qualified. That’s really the pertinent point.
    Isn’t it?

  5. So just because somebody is a minority they should get a job even if they are not any good? You people realize this is all about money and if a team wins alot or has a chance to win alot they will do it. The woman could be purple with orange polka dots and four arms, if it gets a team to a SB or playoffs they will do it.

  6. Black make up roughly 12% of the United States population. 5 of 32 is 15.625%. Seems like that is the appropriate number for coaches based upon population numbers.

    I mean when do you say you have an acceptably number of minority hires? When it reaches a level that it far exceeds white head coaches? Whites make up 63% of the United States. It’s the numbers game, not a race issue.

    White coaches make up the majority of the population and thus make up a large percentage of the coaching ranks, so of course they will always have a stronger representation in the NFL.

    I know Cromartie and Peterson are working hard to balance out the population numbers, but its going to take a few generations despite their best efforts.

  7. STUPID RULE. Coaching jobs at this level are a meritocracy. Race is not a factor, winning is the primary focus on hiring. There are nearly 9 times as many qualified candidates for these jobs that are white than not. It’s demographically a fact. If diversity is such a concern, why not mandate drafting more white players, even though the talent pool isn’t as deep there? STUPID and counter productive.

  8. Typical Liberal thinking, we at the top make the rules, everybody can see we are so smart so just get in line.

    I think the market will always take the best candidates no matter the skin color, the Rooney Rule just forces them to demean a couple of people in short interviews when they have no chance at the job.

    Still, the Liberal mindset is, See, we are doing something good when it fact they are just wasting people’s time.

  9. It’s a mockery of the rule.

    How about no rule at all and just assume the best candidate will be hired? We aren’t in the jim crow era anymore. Social justice warriors want this rule.

  10. I’ve played sports my whole life and no one has ever cared what color you were, what your background was or who you sleep with.

    Can you get the job done and not be a problem in the locker room are what people care about.

  11. Those that state only the best are hired. How do you know if a minority candidate is qualified if he’s not given a chance? Look at the Ryan brothers, nepotism and you really think Rob Ryan is qualified to be an NFL coach. He’s part of the good ol’ boy NFL program.

  12. Right now America is about 11% black and about 15% of head coaches are black. The ratio seems right on. If the country was 50/50 then maybe there is something to talk about but right now we are talking about giving people jobs not because they are more qualified, but because of the color of their skin. No one is overlooking good candidates because of what they look like. Forcing teams to interview a black candidate just because of the way he looks is demeaning to the coaches and the teams.

  13. As a latino who voted against Trump all I can say is the Rooney rule is utter nonsense and embarrassing. I think when it comes to coaching the best person for the job is the first to be considered regardless of race. It’s also disingenuous to suggest that if you force someone to interview a minority that it gives that person a better chance to be selected.

    I can’t imagine a more demeaning experience than being interviewed as a formality because a team “needs” to.

  14. Many of these listed above coaches are doing a crappy job.
    Pick the best candidate regardless of color.
    Just like affirmative action
    A lousy idea as well

  15. black people make up 13% of the population- there are 4 black coaches- which is 12.5%. Now tell me, at what point will it be enough?

    when compared to the general population, the league is already disproportionately made up of black players why is there no outreach to attracting more white players?

  16. The rule is a horrible rule and probably holds candidates back. Now teams fire coaches and immediately interview a minority candidate on staff, or they call a stand in minority “candidate” for years it was Art Shell, then they interview the candidates they’re really interested in. Even the media will point out how the team is now Rooney compliant. It’s a joke.

    I’m against the rule in general, but if they’re really serious about getting minority HCs into the league the Rooney rule shouldn’t be at the HC rule, it should be at lower levels on the coaching pyramid. Get more minority coaches who then become candidates for coordinator positions and through success with that become HC candidates. How many minority OCs are there? DCs? That’s the candidate pool for HCs, so getting more qualified minority candidates into those positions will then have the effect of getting more minority HCs.

  17. “Only 5 out of 32” 15% of NFL coaches are black, and 12% of the US population is black.

    I don’t see anyone crying that whites only make up 28% of the NFL but 70% of the US population, no one cares because we accept that its based on performance not race quotas but yet the fact that whites, on average make better coaches is somehow raciest #doublestandard.

  18. What exactly is wrong here, what is the total makeup of the NFL that are Black, including players, coaches, assistant coaches, and refs.

  19. “iamedreed says:
    Dec 7, 2016 5:49 PM
    actually there are 5 black coaches which is 15.6% of the population, again, at what % will they be happy?”

    At least 70%. These people want the black coach percent to match the black player percent. I mean for them it is only “fair” if the minorities are the majority and have a breakdown that doesn’t match the actual breakdown of the population.

  20. Man,
    Rodney Rule just like Affirmative Action is a privilege. Along with welfare, food stamps and free healthcare, intended to help a certain group actually holds them down and generates votes for the left

    Enough already

  21. Instead of depending on a nation to continue to hold your head above water you should learn to swim like the rest of us.

  22. I wonder if coaches consider skin color when searching for dB’s or rb’s… Oh wait, no they just get the best person for the job.

  23. scmems07 says:
    Dec 7, 2016 6:17 PM
    I blame this all on coach Cowher for leaving the Steelers and coach Tomlin for accepting the job.

    0 0
    Report common
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    Didn’t they offer the job to Russ Grimm before the NFL shamed them into reconsidering?

  24. Stop judging people and promoting them based on race — IT IS A DISASTER!

    These type of policies create division and raise people to position for which they are unqualified.

    Judge coaches on intelligence and merit and, if you do, Jeff Fisher will be unemployed and the next black coach hired will be the best person available #MAGA

  25. “A full 13 years after the NFL fashioned the Rooney Rule, the Commissioner who presided over its development and adoption isn’t happy with its performance.”

    Coincidentally 10 years after that Commissioner retired NFL fans are a lot

  26. In a non-racist world, the best guy gets the job regardless of color. Because he’s the best guy for the job. Using race as a determining factor does no-one any favors.

  27. “A full 13 years after the NFL fashioned the Rooney Rule, the Commissioner who presided over its development and adoption isn’t happy with its performance.”

    Coincidentally, 10 years after that Commissioner retired NFL fans are a lot less than fully satisfied with his replacement

  28. How many head coaches have gotten a job because of the Rooney Rule? Zero.

    If these guys honestly think that there is one or more racist owner that wouldn’t hire someone who is the best fit for the job because they’re a minority, the league has bigger issues that this rule won’t solve.

    If the NFL doesn’t believe it has racist owners, than this rule doesn’t do anything except make a mockery of hard working coaching every year. The NFL should be ashamed by this rule.

  29. The current minority head coaches are Todd Bowles of the Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, Hue Jackson of the Browns, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, Jim Caldwell of the Lions, and Ron Rivera of the Panthers.

    Man Tagliabube is really going to be unhappy when the first three of these six are unemployed in January…….I mean really just look at their records.

    If I owned a Billion dollar sports team the color of my players, coaches or fans wouldn’t mean a thing as long as we were winning games and making money hand over fist because that is what a football team is supposed to be doing. Unless you like moving from city to city like a parasite because you have sucked the local taxpayers dry and they stop supporting you……unless you live in Cleveland then it is the status quo…..

  30. any rule that gives someone special treatment is racist. and calling it a “minority candidate…” is a joke, they mean Black coaches. Shouldn’t Ron Rivera count? he is hispanic – there are less hispanics than blacks.

    How about treat everybody equally and punish the racists?

  31. The Rooney rule is outdated for sure but when it was put in place minorities weren’t even given a shot. They stood zero chance to even get an interview. Are they all for show probably but it still gives that coach a chance to at least see what the process is. The rule needs changed for sure but when it was installed it was needed.

  32. This rule doesn’t make sense to me. But I would like to say something. Your job as an NFL head coach is to lead the team. You have to instill a winning culture with the team. If not, then you will be fired at the end of the season. That is the way it goes. Notice I didn’t mention the word race at all because race is irrelevant here. You have to produce something to do well, especially in the professional league.

  33. The Rooney rule is outdated for sure but when it was put in place minorities weren’t even given a shot. They stood zero chance to even get an interview. Are they all for show probably but it still gives that coach a chance to at least see what the process is. The rule needs changed for sure but when it was installed it was needed.

    ————————————————————–

    The rooney rule was implemented in 2003, there were plenty of black coaches before its implementation- Tony Dungy was hired in 2002

  34. The bigger problem that never gets addressed is that these coaches fill up their staffs with their sons and the sons of former coaches. Every Sunday I hear all of the same last names as assistants. How are minorities supposed to make their way through the coaching ranks when all of the assistant jobs go to white coaches’ family members?

  35. The rooney rule was implemented in 2003, there were plenty of black coaches before its implementation- Tony Dungy was hired in 2002

    ________________
    Few and far between though. You pretty much had him and Denny Green. I find it funny you backed up your stance of they were given a far shot by naming one coach. Think of all the different minority head coaches that have been in the league since then compared to before.

  36. iamedreed says:
    Dec 7, 2016 5:49 PM
    actually there are 5 black coaches which is 15.6% of the population, again, at what % will they be happy?

    Who are they? It’s clowns like you the rule had to be made, like some one in comment section said NFL is made up over 80% blacks almost all players grew up playing pee wee ,middle school, high school, college so you mean to tell only 5 black coaches out of 32 can coach????

  37. And Dr. King’s dream remains just that – as the government forces us to judge people by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character. Dream on, Dr. King. Dream on!

  38. It should be called the “Davis” rule after Al. He hired with only 1 thing in mind: Just Win Baby. Hired the 1st minority head coach (who should be in the HOF – Tom Flores) – and then Art Shell twice before most other teams even sniffed minority hiring. He also hired the 1st female executive in Amy Trask (one of the best NFL books ever was recently written by her). You can’t legislate against something like racism, you can only punish it when you see it. Football is a meritocracy.

  39. It’s a stupid rule that is more insulting than corrective. Every season one or two black assistants gets dragged from interview to interview in the interest of being blatant tokens for jobs they know they have no chance to get. It’s a ridiculous band aid on an axe wound in the interest of trying to eliminate racism be it real or perceived. Bottom line is you can’t tell a private entity or corporation whom they must hire or how they must go about hiring them.

  40. The rule only states that you must interview – not necessarily hire, and that is not bad. The problem is that most owners have somebody usually in mind and at least by interviewing some other bodies it gives these guys practice in the process. What is the matter with that? I have a bigger problem with an owner who has selected a minority just to cater to that group or blindly hiring a guy from a successful organizational tree. We can easily see the mistake of hiring for head coaches those from the Patriot organization – how many of them are still in place – not many and Obrien probably wont be around long.

  41. If the Rooney rule is good for management, then we should impose limits on black players in the NFL -they are OVER REPRESENTED as a proportion of their general population and are taking positions that non-blacks should have.

    If you want skin color based standards, don’t pick the ones you love and ignore the rampant disproportionality in the player ranks.

  42. until the hearts and minds of people who make the ultimate decisions change, or the people themselves change, this rule has no chance of realizing its’ intent.

    Jeff Fisher STILL has a job, and just received an extension…his GM too. not to mention the perpetual hiring/firing/resigning/hired-by-another-teaming/deck-shuffling each year. find me a minority coach with that kind of leeway….now show me 15 EVERY YEAR…

    and if you choose to respond, please refrain from name calling. be articulate and intelligent in your response. this isnt about who i voted for or didnt, what color my skin is or isnt, not about whose lives matter and whose dont. its about the basic human fairness test. the process if flawed, and to claim that it is not is just not accurate. the rule obviously is necessary, but it’s not enforceable, which necessarily makes it unnecessary. Anyone with children knows that you’re better off not making rules you either cannot or will not enforce, particularly when your target audience is willing to call your bluff.

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