12:46 AM EST, January 24, 2013
System is broken
The Rooney Rule is a broken system because it forces private owners to interview a small pool of minority coaches. Expanding the pool should be a cooperative effort between the NFL and the American Football Coaches Association, where there is a much larger pool of coaching prospects.
The diversity efforts must trickle down from the coordinator to quality-control assistant positions. There is only one African American offensive coordinator in the NFL — Jim Caldwell with the Ravens.
Growing from the bottom up will expand the pool of qualified coaches so owners don't feel obligated to execute sham interviews with the same small pool of minority candidates.
Contracts create obstacle
The suggestion that the Rooney Rule be expanded to encompass coordinator and assistant head coach openings is worth consideration. But a more effective solution would be to allow position coaches to break contracts to get coordinator promotions.
Position coaches can't get out of their deals unless they get head coaching jobs. This stymies position coaches from getting coordinator jobs, which also prevents them from getting in the head coaching pipeline. General managers and team owners looking for head coaches look first at offensive coordinators, and the best assistants sometimes are not allowed to be offensive coordinators. This really isn't about racism. It's about common sense.
Put pressure on teams
After eight head coaching and seven general manager vacancies were filled in the NFL and no minorities hired, there is no doubt the Rooney Rule needs to be fixed. The Fritz Pollard Alliance has asked that the rule be extended to cover coordinator openings too. That's a great start.
But NFL teams complied with the rule this year and no minorities were hired. League officials say they were disappointed in the outcome. If that's the case, then they need to put more pressure on teams. Make teams interview at least two candidates for every opening. Take the alliance's suggestion and extend the rule to cover coordinators too.
Whatever it takes. This past round of hiring was embarrassing.
Expand the pool
Los Angeles Times
It's hard to legislate the hiring practices of NFL teams, even though the advances made since the implementation of the Rooney Rule seem to have evaporated.
Teams hire whom they want to hire. The suggestions made by the Fritz Pollard Alliance are good ones.
The league should expand the Rooney Rule to include offensive and defensive coordinator positions, and revive seminars to prepare coaches and front-office members, both minority and non-minority, for promotion opportunities.
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