May 9, 2021

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Is the Rooney Rule even valid anymore?

2 min read

Image Credit: Chuck Cook | USA TODAY Sports

When the Rooney Rule was created in 2003, it was designed to create equal opportunity for those minorities when it came to advancement in the NFL. Per the rule, “Teams are required to interview at least one minority when there is a vacancy in the head coach and/or general manager position” The aim is to ensure teams didn’t overlook qualified but lesser candidates for those jobs.

The rule was created after both Tony Dungy (2002) and Dennis Green (2001) were both fired despite having winning records. Dungy would go on to coach the Indianapolis Colts after being replaced by Jon Gruden in Tampa. Green would land a head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals.

Last season, eight teams hired new head coaches, with the Miami Dolphins being the lone team to hire a minority coach (Brian Flores). In 2020, 4 teams are on a head coach search, while 3 of them have already filled vacancies. Dallas Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy, Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor coach Matt Rhule, and Washington Redskins hired Ron Rivera (not a minority although he is of Puerto Rican heritage).

Why the Rooney Rule doesn’t work:

Jim Caldwell, Bucs OC Byron Leftwich, Bucs DC Todd Bowles, and Kansas City OC Eric Bieniemy were all rumored to be interviewed, but none have actually been interviewed although Bieniemy would’ve made an excellent choice given an actual opportunity.

NFL Network correspondent Jim Trotter made his feelings known last week stating, “NFL has finally shown it’s not the place for black men to advance. It’s ridiculous, it’s disgusting. We can sell tickets and make plays, but we can’t lead?” This is in conjunction with what ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said early last week on “First Take”. Smith was quoted saying,

“Black men are not being treated fairly in the National Football League! Somebody’s got to say it! This Rooney rule is bogus, clearly, because it is being bypassed!”

It is time the NFL steps into the real world and gives minorities an equal opportunity. Whether they succeed or fail, they still should be given a fair chance to interview for these teams. If I were Jay-Z, I’d be forcing Goodell’s hand on the matter and figuring out a solution.

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