The NFL will require all teams to hire a female or minority offensive coach in the upcoming NFL season.
The position is officially an offensive assistant coach and has to be “a female or member of an ethnic or racial minority.” The coach must “work closely with the head coach and offensive staff to gain experience.” The goal of the requirement is to create a bigger pool of minority candidates for offensive coaching jobs like wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
The contract for the position is one year and teams won’t have to pay for it out of their own pockets. The NFL set up a league-wide fund that will cover the salary of that coach for up to two years.
“It’s a recognition at the moment, when you look at the stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions, said Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II. “We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].”
The mandate is the first of its kind in the history of the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule, enacted in 2003, requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate when hiring head coaches and senior football operations staff members.
That rule changed last October, that now, NFL teams have to interview two external candidates for coordinator openings and general manager/executive of football operations positions.
On the surface, this mandate shows great strides towards giving female and minority coaches a career in the NFL. At the same time, this may lead to unintended consequences, where White women are now interviewed for jobs, leaving ethnic and racial minority coaching candidates without a shot.
Rooney doesn’t believe that this will be an issue as the pool for women candidates for coaching jobs in the NFL is quite small in present day.
“For that reason, we didn’t see it as inhibiting the number of interviews by racial minorities at this point in time. Obviously, we can address that as time goes on,” Rooney said.