Roger Goodell Announces 'Rooney Rule' for Women for Executive Office Positions

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2016

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the sidelines before the NFL football NFC Championship game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

The NFL made a move to level the front-office playing field Thursday, as Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed a new policy designed to give women a fair shot at landing executive positions.

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, the regulation will be akin to the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching vacancies.

While it's unclear when the rule will be finalized and officially instituted, it will follow the same guidelines as the original Rooney Rule in terms of requiring women to be interviewed, per Christine Brennan of USA Today.

Although the NFL remains a male-dominated league, women have begun to ascend to high-ranking positions in recent years.

Chief among them is Dawn Hudson, who was named NFL chief marketing officer in 2014 after a successful tenure with PepsiCo.

Amy Trask was the Oakland Raiders' CEO from 1997 through 2013, and the current CBS Sports analyst believes late Raiders owner Al Davis deserves some credit for the new statute:

Amy Trask @AmyTrask

I think this should be the Al Davis rule. Hope my reasoning is clear. https://t.co/kwohEJdjD6

Women have started to break down barriers in an on-field capacity as well. It started with the Arizona Cardinals' hiring Jen Welter as a coaching intern during the preseason.

The Buffalo Bills took it a step further in January when they promoted Kathryn Smith to special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female coach in NFL history.

It's clear the NFL is hoping to translate that into the boardroom, and the new Rooney Rule could go a long way toward making that happen.

Some have questioned whether all teams take the Rooney Rule seriously. But it has at least gotten the ball rolling to some degree, as there are currently six minority head coaches.

Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers have proved to be two of the NFL's top coaches, but it's possible they may have never gotten a fair shot without the Rooney Rule.

If this version of the Rooney Rule can do the same thing for female executives, then it is a move worth making.

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