The Media and the Rooney Rule
Is it possible for the media to mention Jim Caldwell or Ron Meeks and not mention the Rooney Rule? Apparently not. For the past week, every time we hear about one of these guys and the Redskins, we hear that interviewing them would allow the Skins satisfy the league's requirements to speak with a minority candidate. Sometimes, we even hear about their qualifications. Here they are, for the record.
In the past three years, Caldwell-aided Indy offenses (he's the QB coach) have ranked 5th, 3rd and 3rd in the NFL.
In the past three years, Meeks's Indy defenses have ranked 3rd, 21st and 11th in the NFL.
By way of comparison, in the past three years, Gregg Williams's defenses have ranked 8th, 31st and 9th in the NFL.
Obviously, Gregg Williams has both the backing of his players and the benefit of consistency, so I certainly have no problem with media members beating the Williams drum. But they've also beaten plenty of other less defensible drums over the past week. Why Not Schottenheimer, for example. Don Banks took time to lovingly caress the candidacy of Jim Schwartz, as did Michael David Smith, who also likes Jim Mora. Other publications have also thrown Pete Carroll and Brian Billick out there as potential candidates. Matt Mosley mentioned Williams, Cowher, Grimm, Sporano and Schwartz. WTEM spent plenty of time discussing Grimm. Mike and Mike spent plenty of time discussing Carroll. And so on.
And when minority candidates were mentioned in those first few days? Those candidates were named "Rooney Rule."
The Washington Post ran a chart after Gibbs retired, listing the candidates as Cowher, Williams, Grimm and Rooney Rule. The AP's early take was Cowher, Williams, Saunders and Rooney Rule. The Washington Times identified Cowher, Williams, Saunders, Grimm, Pete Carroll and Rooney Rule.
This is what I'd argue: Rooney Rule or no Rooney Rule, it shouldn't be that much of a stretch for media members to identify legitimate minority head coaching candidates, such as the defensive coordinator or QB coach for the defending Super Bowl champion, men who have never gotten head coaching shots and whose units ranked 5th and 3rd in the NFL this year. Am I suggesting that media should throw names out there as legitimate possibilities even if their "sources inside the franchise" have yet to identify them as such? Yes, I am, in the same way that some of these white guys' names are thrown around wildly in the first few days. Will accuracy suffer? Well, how did all those mentions of Pete Carroll and Bill Cowher work out?
The fact is, it remains absurd for a league whose players are majority black to have just seven black head coaches. Ownership needed a kick from behind to help change that, and the media apparently does too, since even with the benefit of time every mention of Caldwell or Meeks is quickly followed with "would satisfy the league's Rooney Rule." That will lead, inevitably, to rants like this.
So all I'm saying is, when a vacancy pops up, it would be nice to see media throwing around the names of qualified minority assistant coaches without amending those lists with the phrase "would satisfy the league's Rooney Rule."
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