NFL says all teams should add minority offensive coach, expands Rooney rule to include women

PALM BEACH, FL – All 32 of the NFL teams will hire a minority offensive assistant coach for the 2022 season, part of a series of policy improvements announced Monday to address the league’s ongoing diversity efforts.

A coach can be “female or a member of a racial or ethnic minority,” depending on the policy that NFL owners adopt during their annual meeting, and they will be paid from a league-wide fund. The coach must work closely with the head coach and offensive staff, with the goal of increasing minority participation in the offensive coach pool that ultimately produces the most sought-after candidates for head coach positions.

“It’s an admission that right now, when you look at a starting point for a head coach, they hold coordinating positions,” said Art Rooney II, owner of Pittsburgh Steelers, chair of the NFL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. “Obviously we have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years and obviously we don’t have many minorities in the offensive coordinator. [job]. “

Some teams already have coaches or coaches in similar supporting roles, which will count toward the program, said Dasha Smith, the NFL’s chief administrative officer. But the requirements for all teams represent the first hiring state in Rooney’s base history, which is named after Art Rooney’s father and was designed to raise minority hiring at all levels of the league.

There has been progress in some areas, most notably with the general managers and defense coordinators, but there are only five minority head coaches in the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that the league had “failed” to meet its goals during the 2022 coach recruitment cycle and pledged to redouble efforts this off-season.

In addition to the offensive assistant coach’s mandate, the league also:

• Women have been added to the Rune base language at all levels. It will now read that women and/or people of color can meet the requirements to interview two external minorities for senior positions, including the head coach. Women are not required to be interviewed, but are now included in the fulfillment process. It is possible for the team to interview two Oval women for an open head coach position to satisfy Rooney’s base, and then do the hiring without interviewing any person of color. But from a practical standpoint, Rooney said, that’s unlikely.

“The fact of the matter is that even today, at least, there aren’t a lot of women in the pool in terms of the head coach position,” Rooney said. “Hopefully this will change over the years, but that’s why we haven’t considered it discouraging the number of interviews for ethnic minorities at this time. Obviously, we can address that over time, but for now we haven’t considered that a problem.”

“Really, we’re probably looking at the early stages of women getting into coaching classes, so we might be a little bit further away before that becomes an issue.”

• Publish a mission statement to encourage and attract diverse members of potential ownership groups. The statement was read in part: “Membership will be considered a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who will have a significant stake in and participation in the club, including acting as the controlling owner of the club.”

The statement does not require the participation of minorities in property groups. Denver Broncos will be the first test case. They are in the midst of evaluating interested investors in their sale. Rooney said he understood that many groups had minority participation.

• Announced a Diversity Advisory Committee, which is part of Goodell’s pledge to invite outside experts to assess the league’s diversity. Among its six members is former Houston Texan general manager Rick Smith. It also includes former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey and Pamela Carlton, founder and president of Springboard.

Goodell has raised the possibility of eliminating Rooney’s base entirely and starting over, but Dasha Smith said it remains effective in multiple areas.

“It has been very helpful to our diversity efforts in general,” she said. “While we certainly haven’t seen the results we want with the head coach position, this season we’ve seen results that have shown progress, particularly in the defensive coordinator roles.”

According to league data, 15 minorities are among the NFL defensive coordinators for 2022. Overall, minority coaches now make up 39% of the league’s total, up from 35% in 2021. There is also a league record of 12 A woman in the coaching staff.

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