As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman pointed out Thursday night, none of the eight coaches hired this offseason was of color. In all, teams went 0-for-8 in hiring minorities (or as Freeman wrote, “0-fer-black”).
Though the Rooney Rule is in place and does lead to minority candidates legitimately interviewing for head coaching jobs, you also have to wonder how effective that mandate is. Well, the NFL has taken notice and plans to do something about it.
Here's the statement from Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources:
"While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity. The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions. We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful."
Former Colts and Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy agrees. As he wrote in an email to PFT, it's been six years since an African-American head coach was hired from outside the organization that's hiring. That would be Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin. Coaches like Indianapolis' Jim Caldwell, Oakland's Hue Jackson, Minnesota's Leslie Frazier and Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris all were hired from inside those organizations.
“While many people would say it doesn't matter and those six coaches were selected and got a chance, you still have to be concerned about the process for minority coaches,” Dungy wrote in the email. “I know Ron Rivera was hired by the Panthers, but you would have to think that somewhere in the last six hiring cycles a team would reach out to an African-American coach outside their building. Unfortunately, it appears right now that the best way for an African-American coach to get an opportunity is to be on a staff where the head coach gets fired or retires. I still don't think owners and GMs are doing a great job in the process of identifying minority candidates.”
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