Coming out of the owners meetings this week, the NFL made another change to the Rooney Rule. Teams must now interview at least two external minority candidates for general manager positions and coordinator jobs, the league announced.
In 2009, the rule designed to increase minority hiring expanded to GMs, stipulating clubs must interview at least one minority candidate for those high-profile roles. Last year, the league implemented a firm policy expanding the Rooney Rule to coordinator positions. This week’s change will double those previous meeting mandates.
Last year, the NFL made major changes to the Rooney Rule for head coaches and GMs, incentivizing such hiring decisions by included draft pick compensation. Teams with head-coaching vacancies were also required to interview two minority candidates for HC roles. Expansion on the coordinator front will allow for more diverse hiring pools going forward.
The NFL moved from two minority offensive coordinators in 2020 to five this year, with the Lions (Anthony Lynn), Colts (Marcus Brady) and Dolphins (Eric Studesville) making such hires. Three teams with GM vacancies — the Falcons, Lions and Washington — also hired minority candidates for those posts (Terry Fontenot, Brad Holmes, Martin Mayhew), moving the NFL from two to five in these positions as well.
“We have to do more because we clearly haven’t gotten to a place where we have to have more opportunity for a lot of these great [coaches]. The pipeline is great. The pipeline of coaching talent is great. The pipeline of minority coaching talent is great,” Jonathan Beane, NFL Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer said, via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. “But still the opportunity to interview for these roles is still not where we want it to be and certainly not for hires.”
Additionally, the NFL informed teams virtual interviews with head-coaching candidates may be conducted during the final two weeks of the regular season. While the league introduced this option last season, it only notified teams this was permitted a day before that window opened. This year’s virtual interview window will open Dec. 27 and only applies to teams with in-season HC vacancies.