NFL: Teams Must Have a Female or Minority on Coaching Staff This Year

© Kirby LeeLovie Smith Houston Texans Head Coach at NFL Scouting Combine
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The National Football League (NFL) has announced that starting this season, teams will be required to have at least one minority or female coach on the offensive side of the ball.
As part of their ongoing attempts to improve diversity in the upper echelons of the league, the NFL is amending the Rooney Rule to mandate the hiring of female or minority offensive assistant coaches.
The minority or female coach must work closely with the head coach and offensive staff, the NFL stated. Teams will be reimbursed for the hire, $200,000 for the 2022 season and $205,000 for 2023. That reimbursement does not preclude teams from paying the coach a higher wage.
The league decided to focus on offensive coaches because there are already a significant number of minority defensive coaches and head coaches have increasingly come from the offensive side of the ball.
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Diversity among coaches in the NFL, a league in which only 25% of players identify as white, has been an issue for decades. In 1989, Art Shell became the first black head coach since the 1920s, but his hiring did not result in a flood of minority head coaches in the league.
Currently, the vast majority of NFL head coaches are white. Out of the league’s 32 teams, only the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera, New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel and Houston Texans’ Lovie Smith are minorities.
The new rule is designed to get women and minorities the experience and exposure they need to become more attractive head-coaching candidates.

“It’s a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions [...] and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].” Steelers owner and chairman of the NFL diversity, equity and inclusion committee Art Rooney II stated via ESPN.

Teams that already satisfy the requirement by having a minority or female coach on the offensive staff will not be required to hire another candidate to satisfy the new rule.
The mandate does not force teams to hire a female coach but doing so will fulfill the new requirement of the Rooney Rule. The league is not worried that will result in less hiring of minority candidates because there aren’t a lot of women in football in general right now.
“We hope that is going to change over the years, but [since there are not a lot of female candidates] we didn't see it as inhibiting the number of interviews for racial minorities at this point in time. Obviously, we can address that as time goes on, but for now we didn't see that as an issue.” Rooney said, via ESPN.
There are currently 12 women on coaching staffs in the NFL, per ESPN.
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The Rooney Rule was adopted in 2003 and requires teams to interview at least two minority candidates for open head coaching positions. The rule has been mired in controversy.
Brain Flores, who was recently fired after a three year stint as the Miami Dolphins head coach, is suing the league and three separate franchises after participating in what he calls two “sham interviews,” accusing teams of interviewing him to satisfy the Rooney Rule and not because they had a legitimate interest in his qualifications.
“The Rooney Rule is also not working because management is not doing the interviews in good-faith,” the lawsuit reads, “and it therefore creates a stigma that interviews of Black candidates are only being done to comply with the Rooney Rule rather than in recognition of the talents that the Black candidates possess.”
Two unnamed plaintiffs are expected to join his lawsuit, according to ProFootballTalk.
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