Posted by: Tim | February 20, 2010

Effectiveness of the Rooney Rule

From time to time we will be featuring articles written by various students in Senior Seminar. This months articles will be loosely focused on Black History Month.

Our first featured article is from Keith Kolesa of section 1:

The Rooney Rule is widely considered to be the most influential, fair, and respected rule that was ever implemented into the National Football League. The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 and requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation opportunities. The name is for Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the chairman of the league’s diversity committee.

            Prior to the Rooney Rule being implemented into the National Football League there was only two active minority head coaches; Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards. The league has always lacked minorities in higher level positions within the NFL. Prior to 1979 there was only one head coach to ever coach in the NFL and that was Fritz Pollard during the early 1920’s. After 1979 until 2003 there have only been six minority head coaches in the National Football League. These numbers are astonishing to think about in comparison to the number of head coaches hired during that time period.

            Currently no organization has admitted openly that the Rooney Rule has resulted in their hiring of a minority candidate. However, when you look examine the numbers it’s easy to see that the Rooney Rule has a very positive impact on the hiring of minority candidates. From 2003 until present day the percentages of minority head coaches has rose from 6% to 22%. The 16% increase during the first seven years the rule was instated is quite impressive.

            Dan Rooney put this rule in place with a hope that the NFL would hire more minority coaches. The rule simply allows minority candidates to receive more interviews; but it’s apparent that once minority candidates get their interviews they are taking advantage of it. Without the rule in place the percentages of minority head coaches would most likely be close to what it was prior to the rule. Mr. Rooney deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking what he believed in and making it a rule for the entire league to follow.


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