Art Rooney II: NFL needs to do even more to improve Rooney Rule

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars
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Almost exactly a year ago, Steelers team president Art Rooney II conceded the Rooney Rule didn’t work as intended in the 2020 hiring cycle and needed tweaking. Rinse. Repeat.

Rooney has similar thoughts on the hiring process in 2021 despite expansion of the rule.

“There’s still work to be done in this area, no question about it,” Rooney said this week, via the Associated Press.

The seven NFL teams with openings this cycle interviewed 11 minorities and 16 whites and only two of the jobs were filled by minorities. The Jets hired Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, and the Texans hired David Culley, who is Black.

Notably, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy again did not get a head coaching job.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera are the only other minority head coaches.

“We didn’t make as much progress on the head-coaching side as we would have liked,” Rooney said. “But I would say we did make some progress on the General Manager side, which is encouraging. And then we’ll have to look on the coordinator side to see how much progress we make on that front.

“There are a lot of pieces to it that we’re going to have to sit down when it’s all said and done and really analyze what happened, and are there things we can do to strengthen the opportunities for minority coaches. I think last year we did take a number of steps that I think over time are going to pay dividends, but that’s not to say we can’t do more, and we’ll take another strong look at it this offseason.”

Minorities filled two of the seven General Manager vacancies, with Terry Fontenot going to Atlanta and Brad Holmes to Detroit. Cleveland’s Andrew Berry and Miami’s Chris Grier are the other Black General Managers in the league.

16 responses to “Art Rooney II: NFL needs to do even more to improve Rooney Rule

  1. Somebody explain to me why the Ravens got 2 compensatory Picks for a 65 year old coach who wasn’t even ‘groomed’ by the Ravens. Ridiculous.

  2. What they need to do is just be fair, and give the best man the job. Duce Staley not being the Eagles head coach right now is a disgrace! He was given a “Rooney Rule” interview for Head coach when the team hired Pederson, which I can understand, given that he was a RB coach at the time. However, he was given the title assistant head coach/RB coach when Reich left, when he should have been pegged offensive coordinator. He has always had the Eagles RB room prepared and regardless of players, they always have one of the best run attacks in football.

    He was given an interview after the firing of Pederson, but after the team hired Reich’s OC as their New HC,(clearly a move to make Carson Wentz more comfortable, as Reich/Wentz are great friends). Staley asked the team to let him out of his deal, and has since taken the same role with DET. I believe Staley is a true leader,similar to Mike Tomlin & Andy Reid and as a HC, would hire a great DC and create a winning culture, regardless of who the team had at QB.He is smart enough be to use a running attack that runs the ball closer to 45/50%, while the rest of the league “zigs” by passing 70% of the time,(even with bad QBs) he would “zag” and create an environment more capable of winning consistently, year in and out.

  3. Let teams hire coaches who they want to hire & who feel comfortable that these coaches are the right fit for their organization. It’s their right, these owners are the ones investing their time & money.

  4. If anything the team hiring them should get draft picks. Unfortunately everything is about race. Maybe have an off-season training program teaching and training to be a head coach.

  5. The rule isn’t about forcing anyone to hire anyone, just about getting teams to give interviews to minority candidates. The NFL is run primarily by old white men. Remember, this is the group that until very recently felt that black players couldn’t play QB.

    The league has made improvements, but it’s still an issue that needs to be addressed. Open your eyes.

  6. The best way to improve the Rooney rule is to get rid of it! Teams are going to hire the coaches that they want weather they are forced by rule to have a “token” candidate interview or not. This rule does nothing but cause more divide and by rewarding teams who hire or “groom” minority coaches is racist itself. Weather or not the person hired is the best person for the job, a team should be able to hire them without having to satisfy a racist rule.

  7. I like the Rooney Rule but unfortunately it assumes teams are actually trying to hire the most qualified people for jobs which in most cases they are not. Cleveland over the last two seasons is an example of why the Rooney Rule doesn’t work one year and how it should work the following year.

    2019 Browns John Dorsey interviews coaches just to make it look like he’s doing a search when he knows he’s going to hire his friend Freddie Kitchens even though Freddie was the least qualified for the job regardless of the race of the other applicants. This is why the Rooney Rule doesn’t work as this is most of the league. Under qualified people getting GM positions because they know people, then firing coaches because they want to hire under qualified coaches that were team mates, school mates or related to them. (It’s ok though a different friend of Freddie’s got the head coaching gig with the Giants and hired him to show again how unqualified he was for promotions when he got to call plays a few games).

    2020 after Dorsey bounces the Browns hire a GM with actual top level qualifications who happens to be black. The team is turned around in one season. Browns didn’t just hire some random black dude to fill the rule. Berry is a Harvard graduate who they actually developed for the job but left when Dorsey came along and didn’t want analytics people on staff.

    If the NFL actually put as many restrictions for teams to hire head coaches and GM’s that they do for who can own a team half the coaches and GM’s in the league would be jobless because they barely qualify for scouting or position coaches but got the big job due to nepotism. Unless of course some of you truly believe Bill Bellichicks son is the most qualified person in the country to coach defensive backs on the Patriots or Mike Brown, John Elway and Jerry Jones were great GM’s.

  8. manderson4150 says:
    January 30, 2021 at 8:38 am
    Can all the teams that have interviewed Eric Bieniemy be wrong?….

    Yes, here is how: They obsess on mistakes he made when he was a young man 30 years ago, and not on his coaching skills and his ability to lead young men today.

  9. AA interviews only confirm that we think less of you as a human, is that what the NFL wants?

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