Art Rooney II: NFL needs to do even more to improve Rooney Rule

Almost exactly a year ago, Steelers team president Art Rooney II conceded the Rooney Rule didn’t work as intended in the 2020 hiring cycle and needed tweaking. Rinse. Repeat.

Rooney has similar thoughts on the hiring process in 2021 despite expansion of the rule.

“There’s still work to be done in this area, no question about it,” Rooney said this week, via the Associated Press.

The seven NFL teams with openings this cycle interviewed 11 minorities and 16 whites and only two of the jobs were filled by minorities. The Jets hired Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, and the Texans hired David Culley, who is Black.

Notably, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy again did not get a head coaching job.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera are the only other minority head coaches.

“We didn’t make as much progress on the head-coaching side as we would have liked,” Rooney said. “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.”

Minorities filled two of the seven General Manager vacancies, with Terry Fontenot going to Atlanta and Brad Holmes to Detroit. Cleveland’s Andrew Berry and Miami’s Chris Grier are the other Black General Managers in the league.