Art Rooney II on Rooney Rule: “We have to judge our progress on the results”

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The NFL doesn’t want to judge the success or failure of the Rooney Rule based on any particular year — perhaps because the least few years haven’t been good ones for minority coaches.

Now, the owner whose name is on the rule admits it’s time to take a look at how the NFL got to the place where only one job in each of the last two hiring cycles (a total of 15 openings) went to minority candidates.

We have to judge our progress on the results,” Steelers owner Art Rooney II told Tim Graham of The Athletic. “It’s like looking at your team. You are what your record says you are.

“I’m not going to sit here and accuse anyone of racism, but the facts are what they are. We have to look at the opportunities that were given to minorities this latest round and see what can be done about it.”

Because of the overwhelming trend for teams to hire from the offensive side of the ball (20 of the 32 head coaches have offensive backgrounds), the lack of minorities in those pipeline jobs has become a focus. There are only two minority offensive coordinators and five minority quarterbacks coaches in the league. While retiring Fritz Pollard Alliance director John Wooten said he wasn’t in favor of expanding Rooney Rule interviewing requirements to coordinator jobs, Rooney himself said the idea was worth exploring.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to looking at it,” Rooney said, “but I would say the real question in my mind is how do we make sure there are people coming into the pipeline that have the opportunity to move up into these positions.

“If you don’t have people coming up through the ranks, you can have all the rules about interviewing that you want, but this is not a program where you require teams to hire minorities.”

There are some steps being taken, including a Quarterback Summit at Morehouse College, designed to identify and promote minority coaches into the kind of pipeline jobs that have been fast-tracked in recent years. But there is still much more to be done, and it only takes a quick look at the scoreboard to realize that.

30 responses to “Art Rooney II on Rooney Rule: “We have to judge our progress on the results”

  1. How about we hire the best person for the job??
    I think I’m speaking for 95% of all fans that do not care one iota what color our coach is.

    And keep in mind that equality is a double-edged sword. Getting hired as a NFL coach also means getting fired someday. So when a coach fails to win, they get blamed for all sorts of things, fair and unfair. And eventually they get fired. So if a black coach faces terrible scrutiny and eventually gets fired….that’s not racism, that’s par for the course.

  2. It a good idea but they do have to be sensible at times. When the Lions needed a new HC and ex-49ers coach Steve Mariucci was available it was obvious at the time he was the best out there. However they still had to interview a minority coach due to the Rooney rule.

    Same for the Raiders, everyone on earth knew the Raiders wanted to sign Gruden yet they still had to go through the patronising interview with a minority coach.

    Everyone knows those interviews were a waste of time but they had to do it to comply. Lets have a bit of common sense at times.

    If Bellichik left the Pats tomorrow and the Arizona Cardinals wanted to give him the HC role in seconds they would still have to interview a minority. Those fake interviews are insulting and a complete waste of time.

  3. I run a business. My goal is to make money. There is no place on my application dorm to list race or gender. I hire the one who can first, do the job. Second, the one who can make me the most money. Period!
    NFL owners are the same, with winning included. If you think the owners do not hire the person based on the same criteria, you are nuts. No NFL owner is going to bypass the person they think can help them win because of race, you are extremely naive.

  4. The best way to end discrimination is to … END DISCRIMINATION.

    Judge people on abilities they can develop not on their race that they cannot change. Identity politics are inherently divisive and best left to the past. Move on with merit.

  5. The premise is flawed to assume minorities is underrepresented in the coaching ranks. What the media fails to look at is the entire cross-section of coaches and where they’re coming from.

    Kids of all races start playing football at the pop warner and high school level. Those that don’t have the physical talent to get into college scholarship but want to stay in the game will go into coaching. Look at Belichick or McVay – football benchwarmers all their college life.

    Just because the pros might have a disproportionate racial makeup, but that is because of pure talent and has nothing to do with coaching ability. In fact, those benchwarmers “failures” have an advantage – they start their coaching careers a lot earlier and develop the communication skills before the stars do.

  6. Results !….mean everything in the NFL regardless of ethnic background…you do not win and you are gone…period ..Look around the league… every year about 25 percent of the HC’s turn over because they did not win enough games. Win and stay…lose and you gone ! period , end of sentence !

  7. performance of tomlin and lewis haven’t helped the cause. good thing that belichick is producing quality candidates like flores to bail the league out, but great as he is, the greatest of all time, even he can’t offset the gross incompetence of goodell.

  8. Coming from the guy who cares more about 3 coaches in 40 years than I winning and stable team culture.

  9. psj3809 says: “Those fake interviews are insulting and a complete waste of time.”
    ———————–

    Actually, not really. Many coaches say those interviews are invaluable. They’re good practice to see what type of questions are being asked and the executive thinking process, to help prospective coaches have organized presentations, and even helps to just get their name out there.

  10. NFL owners would sell their own children for a SB win.

    To think that they wouldn’t hire a POC as a head coach if they gave them the best chance for that is just absurd.

  11. How about we hire the best person for the job??
    I think I’m speaking for 95% of all fans that do not care one iota what color our coach is.

    ————————

    The Rooney Rule doesn’t prevent this from happening. It only requires an interview. Not a hire.

  12. It doesn’t help that those minority coaches who were given the opportunity didn’t make the most of those opportunities. If Hue Jackson, Marvin Lewis, Steve Wilks, Todd Bowles, Vance Joseph, Lovie Smith, Raheem Morris, Perry Fewell, and Tomlin (more of a what have you done for me lately in this case) were successful, it’d be a different story. But all their tenures have been disappointing. Would you hire any of them right now?

  13. The NFL fan base is totally color blind. They only want a coach who will win irrespective of race. And I imagine many of the owners feel the same way. But the owners operate in an old book network that tends to put white dudes front and center for coaching and general manager considerations under a formulaic and liminted hiring model. That is the problem. And let’s face it, some of the ensuing white dude choices are not particularly inspiring (e.g. Bruce Allen.) Teams need to break that mold and think outside the box. And when they do they will find more coaches of color and better talent.

  14. tinye67 says:
    February 22, 2019 at 9:25 am
    How about we hire the best person for the job??
    I think I’m speaking for 95% of all fans that do not care one iota what color our coach is.

    And keep in mind that equality is a double-edged sword. Getting hired as a NFL coach also means getting fired someday. So when a coach fails to win, they get blamed for all sorts of things, fair and unfair. And eventually they get fired. So if a black coach faces terrible scrutiny and eventually gets fired….that’s not racism, that’s par for the course.
    —————-

    I’ve been saying this for some time. I’l go further: The reason so many black coaches got fired is partly DUE to the Rooney Rule. It forces teams to consider factors other than skill. Granted, they can hire who they want. But they at least have to consider another factor, that being race. This inevitably dilutes the talent pool to some degree over time, because it increases the number of people who get interviews without the best qualifications (from which people get hired). The Rule also has a psychological impact in my opinion. I think teams clearly know the league and outside groups want more more minority coaches. I believe this has at least some impact on them actually hiring more.

    The bottom line is, recruiting more minority coaches to get into the field is a great idea. Forcing teams to consider factors other than skill is usually bad, and perhaps harmful (no matter what the other factors are).

  15. jurgyisgod says: “The NFL fan base is totally color blind. They only want a coach who will win irrespective of race.”
    ===================

    As I said earlier, while the whole Rooney Rule premise is flawed, I don’t believe for a second that the fan base is totally color blind.

    Just look at the crap Mike Tomlin gets every single year, despite what he has accomplished. His record 125-66-1 (.654) is better than Bill Cowher with as many SB wins & appearances. And it’s significantly better than Sean Payton, Andy Reid, or Pete Carroll, yet those guys never get the same level of criticism or calls for them to be fired.

  16. How about all the guys who got their opportunities because of their dad: Kyle Shanahan, Brian Schottenheimer, Brian Belichick, Rex and Rob Ryan, Wade Phillips, Mike Shula, Mike Nolan, etc.? It’s a league with a remarkable amount of nepotism.

  17. Remember when it was simply the “Best candidate for the job?” To me, I could care less.. Black, White, Asian, Martian etc. I am offering the job to the most QUALIFIED and not because they belong to a certain group……

  18. tinye67 says:
    February 22, 2019 at 9:25 am
    How about we hire the best person for the job??

    **************************************************************************

    For the 5 millionth time, the Rooney Rule doesn’t preclude teams from hiring the most qualified (“best person”) for a job. It’s intended to ensure that everyone, regardless of background, has access to the opportunity to compete for a job. Not sure why people keep getting this wrong or insist on getting worked up over this.

  19. Looking at OC & DC positions is important.
    Ultimately those positions go to successful position coaches. Anthony Lynn was a very good running backs coach in Buffalo. His backs led the league in rushing. He paid a lot of attention to detail, and was promoted to OC. He did a great job with the Oline and was promoted
    to Interm HC. When a head job opened in San Diego, he wasn’t just a minority candidate that met a requirement, he was qualified and the best man for the job.
    He coached the Chargers into a contender.
    That is the path to follow to be a successful HC.

  20. In other words – the rule has run its course. We’re hiring McCarthy the Monday after Week 17 next season, no questions asked.

  21. How about when team ownership is in transition, it does not automatically get passed to family. Bring in a minority and allow them to make fair purchase value. If you want more minority coaches, why not more minority owners?

  22. “The Rooney Rule doesn’t prevent this from happening. It only requires an interview. Not a hire.”

    Of course it doesn’t require a hire. Todd Bowles got a LONG time in NY. Don’t get me started on Vance Joseph, who was a joke. Marvin Lewis was average and lasted forever. Congrats to AZ for cutting the chord on Wilkes after his poor performance. I am white, but I don’t see any form of racism as it relates to hiring. I think it is a mistake for anyone to go into hiring mode with their mind already made up (Raiders). I would be insulted if someone was required to interview a balding, 48 year old hefty man for a job and that was the only reason I was in the room.

  23. akira1971 says:
    February 22, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Just look at the crap Mike Tomlin gets every single year, despite what he has accomplished. His record 125-66-1 (.654) is better than Bill Cowher with as many SB wins & appearances. And it’s significantly better than Sean Payton, Andy Reid, or Pete Carroll, yet those guys never get the same level of criticism or calls for them to be fired.
    ———————————–
    I would tell you straight up that he also has had a much level of talent on his roster year in and year out. Tomlin’s teams consistently underperform to expectations. Granted a lot of the lack of post season success comes about 600 miles due east, but not all of it.

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