NFL Adopts Changes to Rooney Rule, Includes Women for First Time

The changes include requirements for interviewing outside minority and women candidates.

PITTSBURGH -- NFL owners agreed on Tuesday to make changes to the Rooney Rule. 

The league voted to expand requirements for hiring on and off-field personnel including head coaches, coordinators and front office positions, to include more minorities and women. 

According to the amendments announced by the NFL, teams will be required to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching positions. They'll also be mandated to interview one external minority for offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators and at least one external minority candidate for a senior football operations or general manager positions.

Art Rooney II, the chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee, said the changes bring "diversity, equity and inclusion" to the NFL. 

“The development of young coaches and young executives is a key to our future,” Rooney said in a statement. “These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations.

“We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many different ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country.” 

The adjustments to the Rooney Rule will also include women applying for executive positions such as club president, communications, human resources, legal, football operations, senior executives of finance, sales, marketing, sponsorships, information technology and security positions. 

This is the first time the rule includes women. 

The Rooney Rule was first implemented in 2003 in efforts to bring diversity to high profile positions within the league. Named after late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, the rule began to prove ineffective as only four minority coaches are active in the league. 

The rule also applied to the NFL offices in New York.

“While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”

Noah Strackbein is a Senior Writer at AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.