With the NFL struggling to get minority head coaches into place, the league is now attempting to increase the number of minority coordinators.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during a meeting Monday that the league will encourage teams with coordinator openings to interview minority candidates. This won’t be a formal requirement like the actual Rooney Rule and will have a special exception for teams hiring new head coaches.
Goodell said he will instruct owners that any team in such a circumstance should interview at least one minority candidate for a coordinator opening. Teams would not face penalties for violating the practice with a coordinator vacancy. Wooten said he did not press the league at this point for a formal rule with penalties attached because teams generally have been following the guideline already.
“It has already been happening,” Wooten said. “That’s the way it has been going. That’s the reason I don’t have to push too hard on that. That’s why we called it a best practice. They seem very open to it. The commissioner said he had no problem talking to the owners about it. He said next year we should meet before the December owners’ meeting because this year they’ve already had it and that was something he could have addressed then.”
The official Rooney Rule has been around since 2003 and has required teams with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate. While this hasn’t been a perfect process and been criticized by the likes of Tony Dungy, it’s one way the league has tried to increase diversity among its head coaches.
Looking at how NFL teams go about hiring head coaches, putting in something like this makes sense. Following the 2015 season, five of the seven NFL head coaching openings were filled by coordinators. Just one of those coordinators, Hue Jackson, was a minority. So, the thinking here is that with more minority coordinators will be more minority head coaches.
This logic seems to make sense. Hopefully teams decide to take this suggestion to heart and not just look at it as a formality.