Don Wright/Associated Press
Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II said the NFL will look at improving the “Rooney Rule” created in part by his father, Dan Rooney, which seeks to increase the number of minority head coaches in the league.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Rooney noted there’s still “work to be done in this area, no question about it” after only two of the seven head coach jobs the offseason were filled by a minority candidate.
The New York Jets hired Robert Saleh, while the Houston Texans brought in David Culley.
“We didn’t make as much progress on the head-coaching side as we would have liked. But I would say we did make some progress on the general manager side, which is encouraging. And then we’ll have to look on the coordinator side to see how much progress we make on that front.
“There are a lot of pieces to it that we’re going to have to sit down when it’s all said and done and really analyze what happened, and are there things we can do to strengthen the opportunities for minority coaches. I think last year we did take a number of steps that I think over time are going to pay dividends, but that’s not to say we can’t do more, and we’ll take another strong look at it this offseason.”
Rooney’s comments come a season after the NFL added incentives for teams who hire, develop and retain minority coaches and executives with additional draft picks. The rule now ensures teams must interview at least two minority candidates not associated with their franchise.
It’s an issue the NFL and NFLPA will work together to address not just over the course of the offseason but in the years to come.
“I think to the league’s credit they’ve asked the NFLPA and us to help them improve diversity across the NFL, not only coaches or head coaches but entire coaching ranks, NFL team front offices, the league office, and ultimately ownership,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “Those are conversations that I know we’re going to start to have with the league after the Super Bowl.”