The NFL will require every team to hire a minority or female offensive assistant coach for the 2022 season.
As part of its diversity effort, NFL owners adopted a policy that allows for the coach to be “a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority.” The coach will sign a one-year deal and be paid from a league-wide fund.
The head coach and offensive staff must work closely with the minority or female coach.
“It’s a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions,” Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chairman of the NFL diversity, equity and inclusion committee, said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN. “We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].”
Teams like the Buccaneers, who already have a minority or female coach or coaches serving as an offensive assistant, already meet the requirement of the policy.
But it does represent the first hiring mandate in the history of the Rooney Rule.
The league also expanded the language of the Rooney Rule to include women at all levels. It now will read that women and/or people of color can satisfy the requirement to interview two external minorities for top positions, including head coach.
Teams are not required to interview a woman, but women are now included in the fulfillment process.
“The truth of the matter is that as of today, at least, there aren’t many women in the pool in terms of head coach,” Rooney said. “We hope that is going to change over the years, but for that reason 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.
“Really, we are looking at probably the early stages of women entering the coaching ranks, so we may be a little ways away before that becomes a problem.”