What Is The Rooney Rule In The NFL

The Rooney Rule is a policy that was put into place by the NFL in order to make sure that all players are treated equally, regardless of race or gender. This policy was named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was the driving force behind its creation. The Rooney Rule requires that any team that hires a new head coach, general manager, or executive must interview at least one minority candidate for the position.

The Rooney Rule : Making the NFL More Fair and Diverse

The NFL has a long history of discrimination when it comes to hiring head coaches and general managers. In 2003, the league implemented the so-called "Rooney Rule," named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. The rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for open head coaching and senior football operations positions.

Despite the Rooney Rule, the number of minority head coaches in the NFL has actually declined in recent years. In the 2021 season, there were only five minority head coaches, down from eight in 2011.

There are a number of reasons for the decline in minority head coaches. One is that the Rooney Rule only applies to head coaching positions, not other positions like offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator. These are often the stepping stones to becoming a head coach, and minorities are often passed over for these positions.

Another reason is that the Rooney Rule only applies to open positions, not positions that are already filled. This means that teams can continue to discriminate in their hiring practices as long as they don't fire their existing head coach or general manager.


The NFL has made some changes to the Rooney Rule in recent years, but it's clear that more needs to be done to increase diversity among head coaches and general managers. One possible solution is to expand the rule to apply to all coaching and front office positions, not just head coaching positions. Another is to make the rule apply to all positions, not just open positions.

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