Thursday, October 30, 2008


Named for Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Rooney Rule came into being in 2003. The Rooney Rule came about in an effort to level the playing field for minority candidates for head coaching positions. In essence, the rule mandates that any team that has an opening for a head coaching position must interview at least one minority candidate.

While I'm not really thrilled by the rule in general, it doesn't really bother me either. It has definitely generated results. According to Wiki, "At the start of the 2006 season, the overall percentage of African American coaches had jumped to 22%, up from 6% prior to the Rooney Rule."

However, there's a fine line between effective and stupid. And this is stupid.

To sum up, the Rams submitted a contract extension for Jim Haslett to the league. The extension was contingent on Haslett reaching a certain number of wins and he would remain the team's head coach for "X" number of years.

The league rejected the contract, saying that the team was trying to circumvent the Rooney Rule.


He's already the team's head coach. There is no opening, unless he fails to perform - which is true for any coach.

If they want to argue that he wouldn't be coach at the end of the season, then what I want to know is how this is any different than what the Cowboys or the Seahawks did in writing into the contracts of assistant coaches that they would succeed their current head coaches. I mean, it's not like they're requiring either of those teams to comply to the Rooney Rule in order to fill the spot once Wade Phillips and Mike Holmgren are done.

So, why is what the Rams are doing any different?

This is just one of those things from the NFL executive offices that just doesn't smell right.

Consider - if Haslett has a decent season with the Rams, and everyone knows that he's their man, what coach, in his right mind, is going to debase himself by interviewing for an opening he knows doesn't even exist?

This is just idiotic.

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