When it was established in 2003, the "Rooney Rule" was needed.
There were two active head coaches in the league who were minorities — Tony Dungy and Herman Edwards.
The rule was named for Dan Rooney, the longtime owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were long known as a franchise that gave minorities chances to hold upper-level front office jobs when other NFL teams weren't thinking of it. It required NFL teams to interview minorities for head coaching jobs. It was a great idea and an honor to Mr. Rooney.
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Now, it's a joke.
Jerry Jones will introduce Jason Garrett as the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys today, and Garrett is fully deserving of the opportunity. Jones only interviewed two other candidates — Cowboys receivers coach Ray Sherman and Dolphins assistant Todd Bowles, who also happens to be a former Dallas assistant under Bill Parcells.
Neither of those guys had a shot at surpassing Garrett as the leading candidate, they were just interviewed to fill the Rooney requirement, and it couldn't have been any more obvious.
No way in hell Sherman was going to get the job. If so, why was Garrett named interim coach after Wade Phillips was fired instead of Sherman? No-brainer there. Bowles, as it's widely being speculated, was interviewed as "head coach" but actually was interviewed to possibly take over as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. That's all good and fine, but don't use the facade of interviewing him for the head coaching job. Interview him for the defensive coordinator job.
There were seven black head coaches in the NFL this year and now there are six after the 49ers fired Mike Singletary following Week 16.
Mike Tomlin wasn't hired in Pittsburgh because he's black. Mike Tomlin was hired in Pittsburgh because he can coach football and is a leader of men. Same goes for Jim Caldwell and Lovie Smith, who have both been to Super Bowls.
So in summation, the Rooney Rule had a good idea behind it when it was created, but instances like the Cowboys' coaching search this year have soured it. It was more of a slap in the face than a step forward or a sign of progress, and it's time for the rule to become part of NFL history.