While the NFL stopped short of improved draft position for minority hirings, it did expand the Rooney Rule on Tuesday.
Teams no longer can block assistants from interviewing for coordinator jobs or front office personnel from interviewing for assistant General Manager jobs. The NFL also now will require at least two external minority candidates for head coaching jobs, at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator positions and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or G.M. jobs.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, one of the few minority coordinators in the league, was asked Tuesday about the changes designed to increase opportunities for minority coaches.
“I think there are plenty of candidates who are more than qualified,” Bieniemy said on a conference call with the team’s beat reporters. “I think one thing that popped up was some assistant coaches are going to have an opportunity now to interview. I think that’s huge. I think that’s huge across the board regardless of skin color. It doesn’t make a difference. Now you get an opportunity to interview the best football coach for that particular position.
“I think one thing with all this discussion being brought to the table is it just opened up different doors for many different people. . . . Yes, I am happy that was passed so those guys can have an opportunity.”
Bieniemy interviewed for three head coaching jobs in January, and despite being integral in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl success and earning an endorsement from head coach Andy Reid, Bieniemy was not hired. Only one minority was hired as a head coach this hiring cycle.
It marked the third consecutive offseason that only one minority was hired as a head coach, three of 20 hirings.
“My overall reaction is going to remain the same: I am blessed and fortunate to be placed in this opportunity and be given this situation. OK?” Bieniemy said. “One thing as a coach, you always want to be judged based upon your own merit. At the end of the day, the best coach is going to be hired. That’s what I do. I coach football. But when it’s all said and done with, I can’t control all the controllables. The only thing I can control is where we are right now and what we’re doing.”