Paul Tagliabue: Minority candidates need more exposure to decision-makers

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Paul Tagliabue was there when the work began.

He understands there is much more to be done when it comes to minority hiring in the NFL.

Commissioner when the Rooney Rule was written in 2003, Tagliabue saw the number of minority coaches rise to seven by the time he left office in 2006. It has since regressed to four, and that’s an obvious concern.

“I think there are two fundamental things needed,” Tagliabue told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “There must be a pipeline of good candidates, and that pipeline must have first-hand, hands-on exposure to those who make the decisions to hire coaches.”

The league took a step in that direction last week by expanding the Rooney Rule to require that teams interview 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 General Manager jobs. The league also expanded the rule to other executive position outside of the football operation, and removed team’s ability to block assistants from interviewing for coordinator jobs.

All of those steps were designed to provide more access to the process, which Tagliabue has seen to be beneficial.

When he took office in 1989, there were no minority coaches. Now, 18 of the 32 teams have hired at least one. He recalled a coaches panel at a 2000 owners meeting, which included a young Tony Dungy assistant named Herm Edwards. The following year, Edwards was hired by the Jets, and believed that his access to owners the year before was essential.

Tagliabue thinks more of that kind of exposure is critical, and suggested that each year, teams bring up-and-coming assistant coaches (not just minorities) in groups to meet and discuss topics with owners and G.M.s to increase familiarity.

“Another way to do that in the age of Zoom,” Tagliabue said, “would be to set up 20 top candidates on Zoom with GMs/presidents in the decision-making process.” Not all at once necessarily, but at different times of the year.”

While it seems a simple networking opportunity, it’s one that many candidates lack, at a time when the league is trying to figure out a process which they allowed to be broken.

6 responses to “Paul Tagliabue: Minority candidates need more exposure to decision-makers

  1. You should get the job on your ability to do the job not because of your color and the owner should be able to hire whoever they want period. If minoritys aren’t getting the jods they need to get better at what they do. No one should be forced to hire anybody they don’t want

  2. This rule is total nonsense. All businesses, even those non-related to football, should never be dictated to as to who they hire. Most business owners are sensible enough to hire the person they think is the best qualified candidate for the job. Unfortunately this perceived sense of inequality will continue because they continue to cave in to the constant whining…

  3. You can’t fix the mindset of a large part of this society just with rules.

  4. That’s great. Did he also lie about and slow down concussion treatment and …yes. How about letting NFL players act like criminals off the field while the NFL turned a blind eye…ditto. Let’s slow down with the Paul Tagliabue accolades.

  5. Commissioner when the Rooney Rule was written in 2003, Tagliabue saw the number of minority coaches rise to seven by the time he left office in 2006. It has since regressed to four, and that’s an obvious concern.
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    Why you signaling out this year? As recent as 2017 there were 6 black GMs and 7 black and 1 latino HCs so in truth the numbers go up and down depending on the year, they just happen to bring up the issue this year because it’s a down year after what 5 black HCs lost their jobs in 2019, why didn’t they bring it up in 2017? OH that right because with 14 black minoritiy GMs and HCs it would have never gained any traction. And why does “minority” now days just seem to mean blacks, if anyone has a legitimate gripe its the latinos which there is only 1 of total at the GM and HC positions combined!

  6. I think the Rooney rule is working. I think we’re just in a lull because black coaches are mostly defensive. People forget that Dave Caldwell and Lovie Smith have each had two NFL HC Jobs. I do believe that minority position coaches and coordinators need champions. Eric Bienemy was penalized by being in the Superbowl. The guy who should have gotten a shot was Ted Cottrell. I don’t know what happened with Steve Wilks

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