NFL continues plan to adjust Rooney Rule


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Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

The Rooney Rule is directly connected to the Steelers' organization. Named after the late Dan Rooney, its fundamental principle is to give minority candidates for coaching and executive positions an even playing field.

In theory, the rule is tremendous, but what has happened across the league is owners simply are checking boxes to comply with the rule. They are interviewing the necessary number -- one person -- of candidates for an open position, but are they actually giving them a legitimate shot at the job?

This was a main talking point at the league owners meeting this winter, and there were several potential outcomes for adaptations of the rule. One of those changes which could take place would be providing incentive to those organizations who hire minority candidates in some capacity.

The league decided to table the topic then, and did so again during a recent virtual owners meeting. This per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network:

The NFL's competition committee plans on presenting a plan which would reward teams for bringing in minority candidates both within the coaching ranks, as well as in the front office of organizations. According to Pelissero, there was even talk of potential draft picks given to teams who hire minorities in some capacity.

Owners will meet again in October, and if this rule is ratified it would be put into place during the next hiring cycle after the 2020 regular season. The league is realizing while they have done a lot in the hiring, and promotion, of minority candidates, they can do more.

The Steelers' Mike Tomlin, who also is a member of the league's competition committee, is one of just three black head coaches in the league. There were five head coaching vacancies entering the 2020 season, and not one was filled by a minority candidate. Instead, teams went with unproven coaches like Joe Judge and Matt Rhule in lieu of someone like Eric Bieniemy of the Chiefs, who has been a coordinator with loads of experience under his belt.

These are all issues the league is trying to tackle, but whether they get it right has yet to be seen.

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