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Should the NFL expand the Rooney Rule?

The Rooney Rule has caused many debates in the NFL since its creation in 2003. Let's learn a little bit more about the Rooney Rule before we answer this question!


What is the Rooney Rule?

The Rooney Rule is an NFL policy that requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching and general manager jobs. The rule has definitely improved the NFL's level of diversity, 25% of the 2018 NFL head coaches were minorities. However, many still argue this number is not nearly high enough. Any team who does not adhere to the rule is fined, but not punished any further.


Why the Rooney Rule?

In 2003, there were only three minority head coaches in the NFL, despite 32 teams playing in the league. To make matters worse, the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers had just fired Dennis Green and Tony Dungy (both African American head coaches). Tony Dungy's Bucs even had a winning record! The NFL began receiving heavy criticism for its poor record of hiring minority coaches and front office personnel, especially considering the racial diversity seen in the players. This controversy gave way to the creation of the Rooney Rule. The rule is named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the once-chairman of the league's diversity committee.


Answering the Expansion Question

So, should the NFL expand the Rooney Rule or not? Well, they already have! Originally, the rule only applied to head coaches, not general managers. The NFL has also added additional rules, giving the minority candidates more opportunities for success and forcing expansion of the pool of candidates that teams choose from.

However, the rule still needs further expansion. With only 2 minority head coaches for the 2019 season, down from 8 in 2018, the rule is clearly not working as well as it should be. Stricter enforcement of the rule and more involvement from the diversity committee could help the NFL achieve better numbers, especially if the league adds extra provisions and harsher penalties. The Rooney Rule has accomplished a good amount so far, but there is still more to be done with it!



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