Tony Dungy: NFL's Rooney Rule Tweaks Could Have 'Unintended Consequences'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy during a Buccaneers NFL football Ring of Honor news conference Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. Dungy will be inducted during halftime of the Bucs game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 24th. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts for 13 years, is worried an expansion of the NFL's Rooney Rule would lead to "unintended consequences."

He said as much during an appearance on the PFT PM podcast (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

"In my mind, this is drastic," Dungy said. "I don't think personally it's the right thing to do, but I think it should spur some, really, consideration and some communication and conversation and people say, 'OK, this might not be it, but maybe we can do that [instead].'"

Florio explained the proposed expansion to the rule would provide teams with more favorable draft picks if they hire a minority coach or general manager.

"I just have never been in favor of rewarding people for doing the right thing," Dungy said. "And so I think there's going to be some unintended consequences. To me it's almost like the pass interference rule. Yeah, we need to do something. I don't know if this is exactly it. We need to keep working until we find out what that best thing is to do."  

Dungy went 139-69 during his head-coaching career and won a Super Bowl with the Colts. He remains an influential voice within the NFL not just for his coaching acumen but also for the fact he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers and is now an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America.

He said he spoke to a number of black coaches who do not agree with the proposed rule changes because they are worried it will influence their relationship with other coaches, think it may mean a general manager is only hiring them to move up in the draft and do not want special treatment with the draft choices.

Florio noted at least 24 owners have to vote for the proposal for it to pass.

Jim Trotter of NFL.com initially reported on the proposal, noting voting will occur Tuesday during the owners' virtual meeting. They will also vote to potentially remove the anti-tampering barrier that allows teams to block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator jobs on other clubs.

As for the incentive for hiring a minority head coach or general manager, teams would move up six spots in the third round of the draft before the coach's second season and 10 spots before a general manager's second season.

Hiring a minority candidate for both positions would allow teams to move up 16 spots and perhaps into the second round. If the coach or general manager is still with the team for a third season, the team's fourth-round draft pick would improve by five spots.

Trotter pointed out this comes after just three of the last 20 coaching vacancies went to minority candidates.