NFL Should Consider this Rooney Rule Change

Implemented in 2003, the NFL's Rooney Rule has attempted to create more opportunities for minority coaches and executives by requiring teams to include at least one minority candidate before filling a head coach vacancy. 

While this rule has created opportunities for some coaches, the overall impact has been somewhat limited with the number of teams led by a non-white coach still consisting of just a very small percentage each year, teams being accused of holding token interviews with minority candidates they had no interest in and a perception of a double standard when it comes to retaining a coach following a losing season.

While there is no perfect solution to the problem, especially with very few NFL teams owned by non-white owners, I think there is one addition to the rule the league should consider - require teams to fill interim positions with minorities.

The key wording in that, of course is "fill" rather than "interview." My proposed rule change would include both mid-season head coaching vacancies and mid-season changes to any coordinator position, giving an opportunity to a minority coach that may otherwise be overlooked or just interviewed for the sake of interviewing someone who wasn't white. It would also be a huge leap forward versus the way the rule is applied today - with teams not even being required to interview a minority candidate before filling an interim spot.

This isn't a perfect solution by any means. Teams that fire a coach or coordinator during the season usually aren't doing so great and an interim coach likely won't have a winning record. However, if a coach does manage to make a bad team competitive, it only strengthens their argument for a full-time position.

And yes, there would likely be some teams choosing to avoid this scenario by hanging onto a bad coach until the end of the year. However, since there is some benefit to moving on earlier and getting a jump on the search for a replacement, this likely won't be a deterrent for the majority of team owners and general managers.

At minimum, it might bring the league a little closer to the goal they were trying to achieve when they implemented the rule in the first place.


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