NFL: All Teams Must Have Minority Offensive Coach, Includes Women

NFL: All Teams Must Have Minority Offensive Coach, Includes Women art rooney looks out from the field Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II looks on before a game in 2021. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

By Jack Gournell | Monday, 28 March 2022 07:26 PM

The NFL announced Monday that all 32 of its teams will be required to hire a minority assistant offensive coach for the 2022 season as part of its diversity efforts, ESPN.com reports.

According to the league's newly adopted policy, the coach can be "a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority." The policy was adopted by NFL owners at their annual meeting in Florida and will be funded by the league.

The coach is required to work closely with the offensive staff as part of the NFL's ongoing effort to increase the pool of minority candidates for head coaching jobs.

"It's a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions," Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chairman of the NFL diversity, equity and inclusion committee, told 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 that already have a minority or female coach in the position will be allowed to count that coach toward the program, said NFL chief administrative officer Dasha Smith.

The change comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that the league "fell short" of its goals in 2021.

The NFL's Rooney Rule will also be adding women to the mix at all levels. The rule was founded in the NFL in 2003 to increase minority head coaching positions and has over the years expanded to other jobs, including those in the front office. It was named for the first chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee Dan Rooney, the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Women will not be required to be interviewed for jobs, but can be part of the requirement to interview at least two minority or female candidates.

Technically, two women could be interviewed for a head coaching job and fulfill the Rooney Rule, but currently, that is unlikely, Rooney said.

"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."