In a renewed effort to increase high-profile opportunities for minority coaches and executives, the NFL Workplace Diversity Committee will re-examine the league's hiring rules and practices.
"I think where we are right now, is not where we want to be, not where we need to be," Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II told Steve Wyche of NFL Network. "We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we'll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season's hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owner's side, management's side, as well as the people that were interviewed."
In 2003, the NFL adopted the Rooney Rule, inspired by the Steelers' patriarch, mandating teams to interview at least one minority candidate before filling a head coaching vacancy. The policy was expanded in 2009 to include general manager vacancies and equivalent front-office jobs.
Over the last two cycles, two of 12 teams with a vacancy at head coach selected a minority candidate: The Miami Dolphins hired Brian Flores while the Washington Redskins appointed Ron Rivera. Of the 32 active head coaches, four are minorities. The league currently has one minority general manager.
"The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head coaching position," Rooney said. "And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired. Since then, that trend seems to reverse itself, particularly in the last few years. We need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation."
Rooney added that the policy could grow to the coordinator level in an attempt to create more diversity within the pipeline.