I would like to start off by saying that I agree with 95% of the Rooney Rule, but there is one part of it that bothers me and it involves an instance current ongoing in the NFL. First some background.
The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 and states that a team has to interview a minority candidate for head coaching and other senior positions before hiring anyone. The number of minority coaches has jumped since 2003 but no one knows if it is because of the rule or just coincidence.
Now there are some exceptions to the rule. For instance; if an assistant coach has wording in his contract that he will be promoted to head coach after a certain amount of time then no minority candidate has to be interview. See Mike Martz being hired as the Rams head coach. (I know this was before the rule, but it is just to show what I mean about the contract wording.) Also the rule does not apply if a minority assistant coach takes over for a head coach mid season. See Mike Singletary being hired.
Here is what bothers me; I don’t think it is fair that Leslie Frazier can be promoted to head coach immediately but Jason Garrett has to wait while Jerry Jones interviews a minority candidate to fulfill the Rooney Rule. Both coaches took over mid season and lead their respected teams to better records then the previous coaches. Is there really a doubt in anyone’s mind that Jones would hire someone other than Garrett?
Back in 2003 the Lions were fined $200,000 for violating the rule. Their reason was that they tried to interview a minority candidate but that person backed out since it was pretty much a given that the Lions were going to hire Mariucci. Plus every year people talk about how a team “violated the spirit of the rule” by interviewing a minority candidate just to check that box. See the Seahawks last year.
Are the Cowboys going to be accused of violating the ‘spirit’ the rule if they get a quick interview in before hiring Garrett? Probably. But Garrett took a 1-7 team to a 5-3 record over the last part of the season with a back-up QB. Shouldn’t that be enough to get a hire without having to worry about the Rooney Rule?
Now I don’t want to get in a racial debate here, so please don’t go too far off topic. I am wondering if there should be an amendment to the Rooney Rule that states “If a head coach is fired and an assistant takes over with more than X number of games left in the season he can be hired without having to interview other candidates?” (With X being like 4 or 5.) What do you think?