NFL expands Rooney Rule to mandate in-person interviews with external minority candidates, per report

Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

Eighteen years after its adoption, the NFL’s Rooney Rule is expanding again. The league will inform team owners Tuesday of updates to the rule for the upcoming 2022 hiring cycle, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports, including a mandate that teams conduct at least one in-person interview with an external minority candidate for head coach and general manager jobs.

This marks the second expansion of the rule in as many years, coming after a 2021 offseason that saw two minority head coaches (David Culley, Robert Saleh) and three minority GMs (Brad Holmes, Martin Mayhew, Terry Fontenot) hired.

“In May, owners tabled a proposal by the Buffalo Bills to delay the head coaching cycle, with interviews only after championship games and no hires until after the Super Bowl in February,” Pelissero wrote Tuesday. “That proposal failed to gain traction among owners and won’t go to a vote at these meetings, sources say. But the hope is other changes, including the mandatory in-person interview with an external minority candidate, will have the same effect of slowing down the process and promoting diversity.”

Last year, the NFL began requiring teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for coach and GM openings, and at least one minority candidate for any coordinator job. Later in 2020, the league added a resolution rewarding teams whose minority candidates are hired elsewhere for one of those positions with a pair of future third-round draft picks.

The Rooney Rule, which also expanded in 2018, was originally adopted to require every team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one diverse candidate. It was updated to include GM and equivalent front-office openings in 2009.


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