The NFL’s Blind Eye to the Rooney Rule

Updated: Jul 21



It is 2022 and the NFL has turned a blind eye to the Rooney Rule, having not made any amendments to it. There are fantastic assistant coaches that are not Caucasian, such as Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He has not received, to my knowledge, an interview request for an open head coaching vacancy.


It is time the NFL, their owners, and possibly, the NFLPA, look over the Rooney Rule and amend it. NFL.com’s staff released a story about Dan Rooney’s son and current Steelers owner Art Rooney II. He addressed the NFL’s Diversity policies and their general state of affairs: "Over the past several years, our Diversity Committee has recommended, and Ownership has adopted, a number of enhancements to the Rooney Rule as well as new policies and fair consideration for coaching and front office positions." "The details of these enhancements and new policies have previously been made available.


He is saying the Rooney Rule has adopted new policies and enhancements to the Rooney Rule, and all thirty-two NFL clubs know about them. The clubs are choosing not to either follow them correctly, or know they are there and not care about them. NFL teams are too worried about their reputation, and they are passing on quality minority coaches that could succeed as head coaches, such as Eric Bieniemy and if in the right situation, Tampa Bay’s coordinators, former Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich and former New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, respectively.


If the NFL does not get their ducks in a row, they could be facing a massive class-action (multiple plaintiffs) lawsuit, headlined by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the thirty-two owners need to find a way to institute the Rooney Rule on a stricter basis to prevent the sham interviews mentioned in my Brian Flores Lawsuit article. The NFL seems stuck in its own way, and they need to figure out why clubs aren’t hiring minority coaches and front office personnel at the level Dan Rooney envisioned them to be hired.


Alex Patterson is a 3L at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He played football for seventeen years as an offensive and defensive lineman. He graduated from Lindenwood University-Belleville in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Sports Management. He can be followed on Twitter @alpatt71.