The Rooney Rule isn’t working as intended. As a result, the NFL’s diversity committee will be examining the league’s practices of hiring head coaches to see what can be done to improve minority hiring, Steelers president Art Rooney II said in an interview Tuesday with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.
Redskins coach Ron Rivera is the only minority of five new head coaches hired this offseason. It marks the second straight hiring cycle that just one coach of color was hired -- the Dolphins hired Brian Flores after the 2018 season.
"I think where we are right now is not where we want to be, not where we need to be," Rooney said. "We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we'll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season's hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owners side, management’s side as well as the people that were interviewed.”
Pittsburgh @steelers President Art Rooney II discusses the rule that bears his family name and was designed to improve diversity hiring but has seen its effectiveness diminish @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/ZYB7I5yXaQ— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) January 15, 2020
Joining the Redskins in the search for a head coach this winter was the Panthers, Browns, Cowboys and Giants. The Panthers hired Matt Rhule away from his position as head coach at Baylor. The Browns hired Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski. The Cowboys hired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who was out of the league this season after being fired following the 2018 season. And the Giants hired Patriots wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator Joe Judge.
The Rooney Rule, named after Art Rooney’s late father Dan Rooney, is a policy the NFL adopted in 2003 requiring every team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach openings. It was expanded in 2009 to include general manager and equivalent front office jobs.
Currently, there are four head coaches of color in the NFL -- Rivera, Flores, the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin -- and Miami’s Chris Grier is the only GM of color.
“The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head coaching position. And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired," Rooney said. “Since then that trend seems to reversed itself, particularly in the last few years. So, we need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation."
One idea Rooney discussed was expanding the policy to include coordinator positions and other levels of coaching. He said the NFL's pipeline of minority candidates is good.
“The question is ‘why aren’t more of those people getting interviews? Why aren’t more of those people advancing through the process,’” Rooney said. “There are a lot of pieces to it that we have to look at, and we have a lot of work to do to do that.”