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Report: NFL to incentivize teams to hire minority coaches under new Rooney Rule proposal

Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy at Super Bowl LIV press conference at JW Marriott Turnberry. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has drawn criticism in recent years for the lack of opportunities across the league for minorities to become head coaches and general managers. Now, coming off a year where a person of color filled only one coaching vacancy, the NFL reportedly has big plans to try and change things.

When team owners hold a virtual meeting next week to discuss various league matters, they will reportedly hear a proposal that could help incentivize teams to hire minority candidates into prominent roles.

NFL could offer incentives for hiring a minority candidate

The NFL drew plenty of criticism this offseason when Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who helped design the NFL’s best offense didn’t receive an opportunity to become an NFL head coach. On Tuesday, NFL owners could vote on a proposal that would have likely changed that.

According to NFL Media’s Jim Trotter, a proposed resolution to change the Rooney Rule would create an incentive for teams to hire a minority head coach. If an organization hires a person of color to become their head coach, they would move up six spots in the third round of the NFL Draft before his second season as coach.

If an NFL team hired a person of color to become the team’s primary football executive, commonly referred to as the general manager, they would move up 10 spots in the following year’s draft. A club would receive a compensatory pick following the fourth round if they hired a minority candidate to be the quarterbacks coach, a position often viewed as a stepping stone to becoming a head coach.

The proposal could go even further if it is approved. Under the new rule, a team would move up 16 spots in the third round if they hired a minority candidate to be their head coach and also hired a minority candidate to be their general manager.

The NFL wants to turn around numbers that many within the league find alarming. Specifically, only two of the league’s 32 general managers are held by a person of color.

Creating more opportunities for minority coaches

Many around the league recognize that more and more head coaches are making the transition from offensive coordinator to head coach. The NFL is being tailored for scoring points and with teams seeking the brightest offensive minds with experience designing a game plan, coordinators often hold preference for head-coaching vacancies. Notably, 24 of the most recent 33 hires have been coaches on the offensive side.

As a result, per NFL.com, the NFL is considering eliminating a rule that allowed teams to block assistant coaches from interviewing for coordinator gigs with other clubs.

In one final measure, the league is exploring an adjustment to the Rooney Rule that would double the number of minority candidates a team interviews for a head-coaching vacancy.