SEEING THE BENEFITS: Last year, Pittsburgh Steelers head
coach Mike Tomlin won the Super Bowl and on Sunday, Indianapolis head
coach Jim Caldwell will be in the same position.Â Both are a part of
the slow rise of Black coaches in the NFL due to the Rooney Rule in
HISTORY: In 2007, Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy were the first
two Black coaches to reach the Super Bowl.Â 20 Years prior to this,
there were no Black coaches in football and now, 22% of NFL coaches
Rooney Rule has paved the way for African American coaches
The rule has been controversial, but it has been effective
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Pundits say that the Rooney Rule, which mandates that NFL teams interview at least one minority coach when they have a head coaching vacancy, is unfair and causes bogus interviews, but the desired results are defiantly being achieved.
Before the Rooney Rule’s inception only 6% of NFL coaches were minorities. Tony Dungy of the Colts and Herm Edwards of the Jets were the only two in the league at the time. Since the rule’s inception in 2003, 22% of NFL head coaches are minorities.
Nine black head coaches have been hired since 2003, which is more than any other period in the history of pro football. To add to the rules success, counting this year’s Super Bowl and the three before it there have been four black head coaches in the game. Dungy (Colts), Lovie Smith (Bears), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), and Jim Caldwell (Colts).
If the Colts win this Sunday then three out of the last four Super Bowl winning head coaches would have been black, and the only black coach to lose the Super Bowl would have lost to another black head coach (Smith lost to Dungy).
The means to which the Rooney Rule has achieved its results have always been questioned. The problem is that some teams already have a candidate that they want to fill the position already picked, so interviewing a minority coach is somewhat of a sham.
To a certain extent, it is. The Redskins had every intention of hiring Mike Shanahan as their head coach a month ago, so any minority coach who interviewed for the job had no real chance at it. So it was a bogus interview.
But it is not a waste of time for minorities to go on those interviews. It gets them in the interview process. It trains them how to interview well. It also gets their name into the circle of names tossed around for future job openings.