Good Intentions Wrong Solution: The New Rooney Rule

Good Intentions Wrong Solution: The New Rooney Rule

Some interesting news came across the NFL wire today. It was a proposed change to the league’s Rooney Rule. The original rule, instituted back in 2003, mandated that teams interview a minority candidate for head coaching vacancies. The rule was put in place in an attempt to diversify the head coaching ranks of the league. Before the rule was put in place only seven minority coaches had been given the opportunity to be a head coach. Since the rule’s inception in 2003 14 minority coaches have filled head coaching positions. Clearly a vast improvement, but there is still room for more. Currently there are three active minority head coaches in the league, the same number as 2003.

The Changes

These are just proposed changes that still need to be voted on, so they could change, but they are still worth talking about. The new rule would give teams a better draft pick if they hired a minority candidate as a head coach or a primary football executive. So if a team hires a minority coach as their head coach that team could jump six spots in the third round of the draft before the coach’s second season. If a team hires a minority candidate as a primary football executive the jump goes up to 10 spots in the third round. If both the head coach and executive do a good job and their teams keep them those teams could receive an additional five-spot jump in the fourth round before their third season. The final change is a 16 pick jump if minority candidates are hired for both positions by the same team.


While I agree there is a problem, this is not the way to fix it. To me this just gives teams a way to get better picks for hiring someone who may or may not have much of an impact. What falls under a primary football executive? Also what is to stop a tanking team from just hiring minority candidates for these positions only for the jump in draft picks to speed up their rebuild. Those teams could move on from them once they are ready to contend. This is not to say a minority candidate couldn’t fill those roles, but it is a system that could be taken advantage of. While I don’t believe a coach or executive would be hired solely because of the better draft pick, if it gives someone less deserving a job over others then it is a flawed policy.

Another problem is what happens if you get a five pick jump but you have a top-four pick? I’m guessing they have a solution, maybe an end of the second round compensatory pick or something, but I’m not sure. The actual solution could even change by the time this change to the rule goes to a vote. Yes, there is a lack of diversity in the NFL coaching and management ranks. But those positions should be awarded based on who can perform the job best, not who gives the team a better draft pick. As always please feel free to share your thoughts on these proposed Rooney Rule changes and if you agree or disagree with my opinion. Also if you have a different solution please share it as well. These NFL articles are rare for me so hopefully you enjoyed the read. It’ll be back to Bruins content next time so till then stay safe and healthy.

Featured image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.