The NFL's Rooney Rule again drew scrutiny during a hiring period that featured one of the five head coaching positions filled by a minority candidate, and the league will examine the rule. As a result, the NFL's diversity committee will be examining the league's practices of hiring head coaches to see what can be done to improve minority hiring, Steelers president Art Rooney II said in an interview Tuesday with NFL Network's Steve Wyche.
"We're obviously using the Rooney Rule for the head coaching candidates, but I think we may have to use the rule for the feeder positions, especially on the offensive side of the ball because that's where so numerous head coaches come from", Mara told Peter King for his latest Football Morning in America column.
"I think where we are right now is not where we want to be, not where we need to be", Rooney said.
Rooney added: "I think in general when you look at this year's process, and like I said, we're going sit down and look at it early". "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 the 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 side, along as the people that were interviewed. So, we need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation".
The Rooney Rule is named after late Steelers owner Dan Rooney. The four other teams with head coaching vacancies - the Cowboys, Panthers, Browns and Giants - interviewed at least one diverse candidate as required by the rule but did not hire a minority.
Rooney also discussed the prospect of expanding the rule to include coordinator positions, which would seemingly help form a clearer path to head-coaching positions. "Perhaps even expand the Rooney Rule into some of the lower levels, perhaps the coordinator level". "I'm not sure why that is, it doesn't need to be that way". The league now has one minority general manager. That's really not a bad pipe line. And so, the question is, why aren't more of those people getting interviews. Why aren't more of those people advancing through the process?
"We'll look at a lot of different things", Rooney responded. "There is a lot of pieces that we have to look at, and we have a lot of work to do that".
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, an advocacy group that fights to increase minority representation in the NFL, released a statement Monday calling this year's hiring cycle a "blemish on the National Football League".