Report: NFL Teams Required to Interview 2 Minority HC Candidates for Rooney Rule

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 25:  General view of the NFL midfield shield logo during the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-16.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The NFL is reportedly adding further requirements for teams to fulfill in order to abide by the terms of the Rooney Rule. 

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, teams will be required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside of the team for a head coaching vacancy. One minority candidate will need to be interviewed for coordinator positions as well as high-ranking positions in the front office.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

@JimTrotter_NFL Teams must interview 1 external minority candidate for senior football ops/GM jobs, too. And clubs and the league office must now include minorities and/or female applicants for senior-level positions, including club president. All effective after virtual league meeting tomorrow.

The Rooney Rule took effect in 2003 and was an attempt to address the lack of diversity in NFL coaching and front-office ranks. While well-intentioned, it has become clear the rule isn't going far enough to help minority candidates actually land the most prestigious jobs.

Five teams hired new head coaches this offseason, and Ron Rivera was the only minority candidate to earn a job.

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II confirmed in January the Workplace Diversity Committee was planning to take further measures with regard to the Rooney Rule.

Jim Trotter of NFL.com reported league owners were voting on an amendment that would allow a team to move up as many as 16 spots in the third round of the NFL draft if it hired minority candidates as head coach and general manager (or equivalent position within the front office). A head coach would equate to six spots and a GM would mean climbing 10 spots.

Some, including Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, wondered if that specific proposal was counterproductive:

CBS Sports Radio @CBSSportsRadio

According to @JimTrotter_NFL there is a #NFL proposal trying to incentivize hiring minority coaching & GM candidates by rewarding teams with improved draft slots. #Chargers HC Anthony Lynn told @ZachGelb, "Sometimes you can do the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing." https://t.co/EWGxJ0B005

One aspect of the most recent changes, however, should help address one cause for the lack of minority head coaches.

The demographics of assistants working in high-profile NFL coordinator or college jobs are overwhelmingly white.

Domonique Foxworth @Foxworth24

Dear fragiles, I don't care so much about the recently fired black coaches. I care about the statistically proven biases in the pipeline, that make white coaches 114% more likely to become coordinators than black coaches w/ identical résumés s/o @minakimes https://t.co/EbSYCnFp2j

Expanding the Rooney Rule to cover coordinator vacancies should at least help establish pipelines for minority coaches.