By Jason Reid
NFL owners batted 1.000 in ﬁlling head coaching positions: eight openings, eight white guys hired. Including the seven recent general manager vacancies, minorities were shut out from all 15 of the league’s top available jobs during this hiring cycle. That’s the type of perfection the Rooney Rule was supposed to end. Seems like it’s time for new rules.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has some good ideas. The group oversees compliance with the NFL rule that mandates that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for each head coach and general manager vacancy, and it’s proposing expanding the rule to include coordinators, assistant head coaches and club presidents. The intent is to increase the pool of minority candidates for the highest-ranking posts in football operations, and break through a barrier on the business side of the sport (no NFL team has had a minority president).
“It’s clear we’ve got to do more — and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said John Wooten, chairman of the group of minority coaches, front-office officials and scouts named after the NFL’s first African-American coach.
Just four minority head coaches are in place for the 2013 season, the fewest since 2003, in a league in which more than 70 percent of the players are African-American. Last week, the commissioner’s office publicly expressed disappointment about the poor hiring results. Broadening the Rooney Rule to include more positions, especially offensive coordinator, could help the league get back on track.