NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual press conference in Atlanta at the site of Super Bowl LIII, and the first topic that came up was the Rooney Rule and the lack of minority coaches being hired as teams are focusing more and more on offensive coaches.
A recent study by the Associated Press of coaching staffs in 2018 found only four minorities in the position of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Many are concerned that it's showing a lack of progress with the Rooney Rule, which was named after late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.
Rooney was appointed by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to work with a committee after a report came out in 2002 about the lack of minority coaches in the NFL. Rooney worked diligently with the committee, until what became known as the Rooney Rule was passed in 2002. The Fritz Pollard Alliance was founded after the Rooney Rule passed, overseeing that teams abide by the rule. The rule requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for openings in coaching and senior football operations positions. It was recently expanded to require teams to interview women for executive positions as well, and the rule continues to be something that is a point of focus.
"We don't look at the success or failure of the Rooney Rule in one year increments," said Goodell. "We've had the Rooney Rule around for nearly 20 years. It's had an extraordinary impact on the NFL. Over 20 clubs hired minority coaches since that period of time. It's also been a signal for other industries throughout the world to adopt a Rooney Rule to change their organizations. And I think it has. It's created opportunity. It's given people an opportunity that haven't had them in the past. That is at the core of what we're looking for.
"Second as it relates specifically to offensive coaches. We all believe, in talking to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which we did quite a bit late this fall, in particular in how we improve the Rooney Rule. What we wanted to do is see how we can create a deeper pool of coaches continue so they have that opportunity when the coaching opportunities arise. We've focused on a few things. We are going to meet with them again at the Combine. We are going to have several coaches there with us that are going to give their perspective, and we are going to focus on those opportunities to create a deeper pool, more experience, give them an opportunity. We believe that is something critical for us going forward, make sure we continue the progress we have had.
"One of the ideas we are going to focus on is going to be what we are calling a quarterback summit, which we will do in June with Morehouse College. It's something we think we can help train, give opportunity, manage, and hopefully do some mentoring to advance those coaches so they do get that opportunity."