NFL meetings: Rooney rule updated to include female candidates | football

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The NFL announced changes to the Rooney Rule Monday to increase the number of minority candidates being considered for open coaching and front-office positions.

The category of minority candidates will now also include women. To meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule, an interview for head coaches and CEOs must be in-person rather than virtual.

There are currently five minority head coaches: Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Washington’s Ron Rivera, Houston’s Lovie Smith, Miami’s Mike McDaniels and Robert Saleh of the New York Jets.

“In general, I would say that we have pros and cons in terms of the hiring cycle,” said Steelers president Art Rooney II, whose late father, Dan Rooney, is credited with creating the Rooney Rule.

“We have seen progress in certain areas in recent years. Certainly the number of minorities running for leadership positions in the League has increased significantly in recent years…

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“Obviously we’re still not seeing the kind of progress that we’d like to see on the head coach front line and so we’ve been focused on that effort and how we can improve the processes.”

The league will also require all teams to hire a minority coach or woman to serve as an offensive assistant in hopes of deepening the pool of potential head coach candidates. The league will help fund these assistants.

“It’s a recognition that we’re looking at stepping stones for a head coach at the moment, which are coordinator positions,” Rooney said. “We clearly have a trend over the last few years for our head coaches to come from the offensive side of the ball and we clearly don’t have that many minorities in the offensive coordinator positions.

“So, without oversimplifying, it’s really an effort to try and get more talented minority coaches on the offensive side of the ball. Both within the league and hopefully those talented individuals from the collegiate ranks.”

The NFL also pledged to do everything it can to increase diversity among team ownership, saying that when evaluating a potential ownership group, “membership will look to it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant interest in them and interest in the club, including acting as controlling owner of the club.”

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