Tony Dungy fears “unintended consequences” of proposed Rooney Rule expansion

Getty Images

On Tuesday, the NFL and its owners will consider an expansion of the Rooney Rule that, among other things, would give teams that hire a minority coach or a minority G.M. a boost in the draft a year after the hire is made. Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy addressed the proposal during a Monday edition of the #PFTPM podcast.

Coach Dungy, who has been involved directly in efforts to enhance diversity in NFL coaching, does not support the proposal.

“In my mind, this is drastic,” Dungy said. “I don’t think personally it’s the right thing to do, but I think it should spur some, really, consideration and some communication and conversation and people say, ‘OK, this might not be it, but maybe we can do that [instead].'”

Dungy supports the portion of the proposal that would allow minority coaches to leave one team to accept a promotion with another team, explaining that this will address concerns regarding the supply of qualified minority coaches. However, he draws the line at giving teams a reward for hiring a minority coach or G.M.

“I just have never been in favor of rewarding people for doing the right thing,” Dungy said. “And so I think there’s going to be some unintended consequences. To me it’s almost like the pass interference rule. Yeah, we need to do something. I don’t know if this is exactly it. We need to keep working until we find out what that best thing is to do.”

Dungy isn’t speaking only for himself. He said that he has spoken to several African-American coaches in the NFL in order to understand their concerns regarding the proposal.

“There’s three things that they’re worried about,” Dungy said. “Number one, how does this put me in my relationship with the other coaches that I work with, and other white coaches? Are they thinking I’m getting an advantage now? Number two, when that General Manager or owner hires me, is he hiring me because he thinks I’m the best person, or is he hiring me to move his draft choice up a little bit? And then the third thing this is nobody feels like they want anything special . . . . Don’t hire me and then say I’m going to give you more draft choices later on because you need help. And I know that’s not the reason why the proposal is being put in, I know that’s not what they’re driving at, but that’s still the end result. And so there’s still some things the league needs to think about, about this proposal.”

Dungy sees the proposal the same way that many others do: As an effort to move away from imposing discipline on those who fail to adhere to the rules regarding interviewing minority candidates and to give a tangible benefit to those who actually hire minority candidates.

“I think the league is looking and saying, ‘Hey, punitive things haven’t worked. Let’s look at incentives.’ And maybe that’s the right way to go. But I don’t know if this is the right incentive,” Dungy said.

It remains to be seen whether the opposition to the proposal keeps at least 24 owners from voting for it. Of all the voices that have chimed in, however, Dungy’s should be regarded as the most influential.

“When I looked at it, I didn’t see how it would pass,” Dungy said. “A lot of people are telling me that it will. I think if it does pass, it’ll end up being like the pass interference review rule. We’ll see in a little while some unintended consequences that we’ll say, ‘Gosh, this may not be the best idea.'”

So maybe the best idea is to talk it through and table it, while searching for an alternative that doesn’t raise the concerns spelled out by Coach Dungy and others. The next hiring cycle doesn’t begin for months; there’s no reason to adopt a proposal like this now, in light of these concerns.

62 responses to “Tony Dungy fears “unintended consequences” of proposed Rooney Rule expansion

  1. Well, the need for this rule indicates the NFL willfully maintains owners/decision makers that they believe are racist. So, why doesn’t the NFL fix the problem by removing those racist owners/decision makers that they clearly believe exist.

  2. Dumbest rule Ive ever heard of. And FYI, I’m African American. It’s almost comical

  3. It’s not going to pass so I’m not worried about it.

    It’s amazing how dumb smart people can be at times.

  4. Im sorry, but this whole proposal is dead wrong….just like I always believed that the Rooney Rule was always wrong.

  5. The biggest consequence is that fans who are already sick of political correctness and favoritism for minorities are just going to quit watching the NFL out of pure disgust.

  6. Maybe the best idea is stop treating black coaches like children. Freaking clown world.

  7. Isnt this racial discrimination? If the minority hc/gm isnt good enough to be hired on his own merit, doesnt the team have the right to hire the best person for the job?

  8. The Rooney rule was a joke and now it’s just ridiculous. I’m pretty sure if an owner thought a green Martian would win them a championship they’d be hired on the spot…

  9. arwiv says:
    May 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Im sorry, but this whole proposal is dead wrong….just like I always believed that the Rooney Rule was always wrong.
    I don’t disagree with you, but in comparison the Rooney real seems downright smart. At least that rule just encouraged interviews, this new rule is akin to systemic racist bribery.

  10. The Rooney Rule is demeaning, degrading, and insulting. The new idea is even worse!

  11. Draft order should be decided with what happens on the field, not in the front office. This is a terrible idea.

  12. If teams are going to be hiring someone based on anything other than the hire being the best person available then they are going to need all the help they can get. And it still won’t helo. Same teams have high draft picks pretty much every year and they are still lousy. But,but,but it’s not fair is the whiniest excuse of all. Using the word fair should only apply in baseball. Waaaaah.

  13. There is and has been a lot of black HC’s now. So what if one didn’t get an opening this offseason, it’s not like there’s a ton of those jobs. What is the end game supposed to be? Not happy until every HC is a black guy? Stop the madness, this isn’t right.

  14. For the African-American coaches who get hired under this rule, expect the message boards and radio stations to light up with “he only got the job because …” comments. What a slap in the face.

  15. There are several other ways that’ll get better results:

    1) stop letting teams block other teams from interviewing their asst. coaches, every asst. should be available for any HC, OC, DC, ST, etc position and be allowed to interview for any team.

    2) barr every team from talking to any HC or asst. that worked for another team at any time during that season until after the SB is played. It’s bull that a coach in the Playoffs has to take time off from preparing their team for a big game to do interviews, make every team wait until after the SB = level playing field.

    3) some how get more moinorities into those entry level coaching positions, they’ll never make it to OC, DC or HC if they don’t get their foot in the door.

    But whatever you do remember this: reverse racism isn’t an answer to racism! Rewarding teams for hiring minorities only makes those minorities question “why” they got the jobs and believe me when I say it WILL alienate a big portion of the fan base!

    Bottom line is if the NFL wants to lose a bunch of fans overnight there sure isn’t any better way to do it than rewarding teams for racism which is exactly what this idea is!

  16. Here is an idea. Every NFL team is allowed to hire one assistant head coach that has a very specific set of duties that will allow them to get prepared to run their own team. If that assistant coach is of a different race than the teams head coach, then the NFL will pay this new assistant coach’s salary up to a specified amount. Every team is allowed to participate (no undue advantages), the race just has to be different then the current head coach (this can cover Hispanic, Asian, African American, or White coaches so it is non-discriminatory) and it helps to level the playing field of coaching experience across the board. Finally, if a team wants to hire this assistant coach to head coach in case of a vacancy then no additional interviews are required.

  17. How the Rooney interview goes 99% of the time:
    GM: Todd, great to talk to you. I’ve been a fan of your offenses for a long time.
    Candidate: It’s Ted and I’m a defensive coordinator.
    GM: Great talking to you Tim and if our new coach has any openings with special teams we’ll be sure to call you.

  18. I don’t know how to fix this. Hopefully they figure something out that works.

  19. arealisticpackerfan says:
    May 18, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    Well, the need for this rule indicates the NFL willfully maintains owners/decision makers that they believe are racist. So, why doesn’t the NFL fix the problem by removing those racist owners/decision makers that they clearly believe exist.
    There is no ‘need’ for this rule, it’s antithetical to the concept of liberty and freedom that this nation was founded upon.

  20. How many minority coaches are in the nfl? Not just head coaches, but all of them? Whaat is the percentage of those minorities to total coaches? Is it different than society as a whole or are we comparing it to minority players in the league?

  21. Dungy supports the portion of the proposal that would allow minority coaches to leave one team to accept a promotion with another team, explaining that this will address concerns regarding the supply of qualified minority coaches.
    No. That is not right either. It should be all candidates or no candidates, not minority candidates only. You cannot promote equality if you want to give someone an advantage based solely on race. That is preferential treatment and is the opposite of equality.

  22. I don’t think it goes far enough. Teams should lose draft choices if they fire minority coaches. And they should get double the picks if they fire a white coach to hire a minority.

    White people should never be allowed to coach again. Send them back to Europe where they belong.

  23. I don’t think Goodell is capable of getting anything right the first time, or even after that.

    If he can’t make things better, I’d rather he not make them worse.

  24. Why not up the odds? Hire a minority HC, 4 guaranteed wins. Three for a minority gm.

  25. The real social injustice is that Tony Dungy is in the HOF. There’s your problem!

  26. NONSENSE! Outside of the free & under paid labor by people of color this country was built by rewarding good or excellent performance. Sales commissions, company bonuses, stock dividends, etc, etc, etc. This is not any different. Why NOT, make it a positive instead of a negative???

  27. By the way, whoever “a realtic packer fan” is, i think that we are distant cousins. When you make comments either about your Packers or my Vikings, a part of me always agrees with you. I enjoy reading your comments before & now. Take care, here’s to a good rivalry season in the NFC North!

  28. The league is slowly moving in a direction where they will eventually force a team’s hand as to who they hire for GM and head coach.

  29. So the NFL is actually saying that coaches aren’t being hired strictly because of the color of their skin? So basically all the decision makers are racists? Trying to imagine what they think is going on. A gm interviews a guy, it goes well, he’s impressed but thinks “if only he wasn’t black”? Is that what it boils down to?

    If people want more minority coaches, then we need more minorities. They’re called that because they make up a minority of the population. About 12% in the case of African Americans. And coincidentally about 12% of coaches are black. I’m sure if the population of America was 40% African American that would be reflected.

  30. It’s like the NFL is wearing white shoes and trying to get across a cow pasture when it comes to this issue. Everytime they try to take a step they just end up stepping in something more unpleasant no matter where they put their foot. Everyone knows the original Rooney rule is a big waste of time for at least one person, you shouldn’t have to pay somebody to hire someone who is not qualified as somebody else to push a SJW/PR agenda, and now you want to waste at least the time of two people to put up a facade that you really care about something, but we all know it’s a sham and is all about the money. Just stop, the more you talk, the more foolish you look.
    I understand that big business (the NFL) seems to be above the law, but why isn’t anyone other than fans saying something about this? Why isn’t there more minorities speaking up? If I was a minority I would be insulted and angry if a potential employer was paying people off to hire me. Basically saying, he sucks, but we got a quota to fill. I can understand current players staying mum, but why isn’t there more media speaking up? Where are all the former players? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but where the heck is Al Sharpton when you need him? As far as I know, all employers in the US have to follow the same EO hiring laws…right? If the NFL really puts these racist race quotas in to practice, they really need a visit from the EEOC because this crap is starting to travel off in to illegal territory. Wasting people’s time isn’t illegal, but paying off an owner to hire a unqualified coach to fulfill a race quota is. Discrimination is discrimination whichever way you want to look at it and this is some kind of twisted reverse racism employment garbage. People need to speak up or the NFL will continue to get away with this nonsense and not be held accountable.

  31. What bothers me a lot about this is that if they award certain teams with a draft pick, doesn’t that penalize all the other teams that would be drafting after them? If the NFL awards a team, say, the 33rd pick in the first round, then all the other teams move down one slot. Why should the rest of the teams get penalized?

  32. GM and Ford give rebates to help sell cars that no one wants. This kind of feels the same. What a slap in the face.

  33. I usually don’t agree with Dungy, but I agree with him on this. And my first thought on the whole thing was; the owners will not vote this in, as Dungy implied.

  34. A boost in the draft? So your basically saying teams that hire black people have a disavantage and deserve a higher draft pick? I sure hope im wrong because if im beeing black and white about this its the dumbest thing i ever heard. For one you are hating on black leaders in the NFL and second your allowing a new strategy of hiring Genious Black hires who will get an advantage. I might be taking this story the wrong way but that’s how I see it.

  35. I’ve always had great admiration and respect for Tony Dungy. Doesn’t surprise me that he’s talking sense here.

  36. floirosoldout says:
    May 18, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    There is no ‘need’ for this rule, it’s antithetical to the concept of liberty and freedom that this nation was founded upon.


    I don’t think using draft capital as an incentive for hiring decisions is a good one. I think there are other ways to get at what they’re going for that are a) more effective and b) less likely to draw the negative response that this inevitably would from a good chunk of the NFL fanbase.

    That said, even if incentivizing hiring decisions is a bad idea, it in no way impedes on any accepted concepts of liberty and freedom in the US. At the end of the day, a team can still hire whoever they want. I guess I can’t expect much from someone who can’t even spell Florio right. Maybe the funnier thing is that people actually upvoted the comment.

  37. Have Mel Kiper Jr. make a mock coach hiring chart it couldn’t be any worse than his mock draft.

  38. This is a terrible idea; hire a coach a year, fire them the next , hire another and get moved up. What could go wrong?

  39. Enough with creating protected classes of people. What the NFL is suggesting is that minorities are a few draft picks less in value than white people. Enough already. Stop with the social engineering and focus on how the game can be safer for its players.

  40. The dog and pony show on this whole thing is absurd. The owners make the calls on GMs and coaches. We all know this. So if they can’t simply hire the best candidate, and actual discrimination is a problem, the owners as a majority are racist. So just come out and say it if that’s the real issue. Enough with the dog and pony show. If the players believe the owners are racist, then refuse to play. Frtiz Pollard alliance, call them out. Quit acting like children!

  41. Serious questions….

    If Tony Dungy announced he was making an NFL comeback, would teams be lining up to try and hire him, yes or no? The answer is yes, every team with an opening that offseason wpuld be asking for an opportunity to pitch their team to him. In fact several teams would lilely bounce their current HC’s for a shot.

    If Mike Tomlin was fired… Same question amd same answer. He would be unemployed all of 5 minutes before someone brings him in.

    Okay, let’s throw in Ozzie Newsome. Say Ozzie announced he wanted one more go as an NFL GM and wants to build one more roster, yes or no to the question? The answer is still yes. Teams would be falling over themselves to hire him.

    A 4th truth: Marvin Lewis would likely be the Dallas Cowboys HC right now had he not openly hitched his wagon to Hue Jackson.

    Point being: There isn’t a racism problem and rewarding racism isn’t the solution to the nonexistent racism being espoused.

    I like Dungy’s thoughts about having each owner create a wish list of what they are looking for then the NFL providing them with a list of candidates that fit their needs. Provided race isn’t the determining factor it would then provide a team with specific candidates to look into and would give minority candidates better exposure.

    I can promise you, if you handed an Owner a list and let’s say Eric Bienemy ranks 99% of the traits you are looking for and the next candidate ranks 95%? Bienemy is walking into the interview as the leading candidate, period.

  42. >>> No. That is not right either. It should be all candidates or no candidates, not minority candidates only. You cannot promote equality if you want to give someone an advantage based solely on race. That is preferential treatment and is the opposite of equality.

    What you say has some truth, but is wrong in some ways. Lets say you have a society of green haired people and blue haired people. What if, through rules of society a couple of generations back, the green haired people accumulated 95% of the wealth and the blue haired 5%. Then the green haired folks changed over time and declared previous practices horrible and vowed everyone should be treated equally. But the green haired still own 90% of everything. Is it fair for green haired folks to demand everyone be treated equally and there should be no special considerations to help blue haired folks build their own wealth? Is it a fair demand when the Green Haired folk still own 90% of everything?

    While I am not a fan of race-advantaged policies, I do think we need to recognize where we came from and try to find ways to make sure we build a balance in society. Perhaps the answer should be that when the percentage of minority coaches at least comes within a reasonable margin of approximating the percentage of our population which is a minority, then we truly can say that you are correct and race shouldn’t be a factor. Until then, what is your plan to make sure everyone, regardless of race, has an equal opportunity to jobs? Given the current level of minority coaching, clearly the opportunity to become a coach is much smaller for certain segments of our population.

  43. The fact that they’re voting on the implementation of this ridiculous proposal shows that the NFL has devolved into a full blown PC circus.

  44. 2022 – If you hire a woman for any coaching job whatsoever you automatically start with the ball and since women make 70 cents to a man’s dollar all your TDs are worth 10 points.

    You also get to pick one person from the other team that can’t play, because…reasons that’s why!

  45. “I just have never been in favor of rewarding people for doing the right thing,” Dungy said.

    THIS type of statement that I have highlighted, is what REALLY drives me crazy about these discussions. Whether intentional, or unintentional, it reveals true feelings. He is saying that hiring someone who is black is the right thing to do. Which clearly means that hiring someone white, hispanic, asian, etc, is the wrong thing to do. When black America stops seeing everything through the lens of skin color, we can start making things better. But if you live your life expecting every white person to be racist, and expecting every cop to be racist, and expecting every decision to be racist, it is a self fulfilling prophecy when you dont get what you want.

  46. Fast forward to the league meetings in 2026 for the proposal that firing a minority coach/GM will cause you to lose your 4th round draft pick

  47. Ritchie Incognito is so thankful for the all the efforts made by Tony Dungy to get him reinstated!

  48. original rooney rule is great how it is and should not be altered/expanded.

  49. With the continual problem of bad calls costing teams critical games with playoff implications and the ongoing problem of referees, fans and analysts having no understanding of what constitutes a catch in the modern NFL, this is the most pressing issue to report on?

    Seriously, between the problems mentioned above, expanding a flawed playoff model, political grandstanding, and now these bizarre claims of racial inequality with NFL hiring practices, it is getting easier and easier to care less and less about this league. If Goodell and the league brass want to retain and build on the NFL’s fanbase, they should be focusing on fixing the most obvious issues that are alienating fans and stop looking for problems where they don’t exist.

  50. Weirdest thing about these rules is looking at who is in favor of them. John Mara of the Giants is big-time behind these and he could have hired himself a minority GM or coaches at any time he wanted yet he rarely went that route. These guys are looking for rules to protect them from themselves.

  51. If a minority is the best prospect then that coach should improve the teams standing simply because he/she was the best candidate for the job. Somebody thinks that a team should not only get the best candidate to improve their team but they should also get improved draft position. The other three teams in that division should be thrilled by that.

  52. The NFL is more concerned about the optics around minority hiring than they are about the actual ‘problem’. For the vast majority of teams and coaches, color has little or nothing to do with this. Some NFL owners think there’s more of a problem than there actually is.

  53. mlhigh77 says:
    May 18, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Why not up the odds? Hire a minority HC, 4 guaranteed wins. Three for a minority gm.

    Well, considering the Dolphins got 5 last year with both…and now they have a black QB…eight, maybe? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahah!

  54. As long as folks are going to measure against quotas, isn’t it also a racist problem that 70% of the players are people of color. I guess it depends on which group you want to advantage and which to disadvantage.

  55. Has anyone ever considered that the Rooney Rule was named after a white guy? This thing was doomed from the start. Let’s review it, revise it and then rename it the Dungy Rule.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.