The Rooney Rule, a condition put into effect in 2003 by the NFL which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs and front office positions, has garnered plenty of attention of late.
The rule was brought back into the limelight this past week when the league presented the idea of rewarding teams who made minority hires by improving their draft position in the 3rd and/or 4th-round. The expansion to the rule was quickly shelved following negative feedback from fans and current minority coaches such as Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.
However, many around the NFL still believe the league’s hiring system is broken, including Michael Lombardi of the Athletic. Lombardi, who captured three Super Bowls rings over his extended run across numerous NFL front offices, such as the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, is fed up with the lack of minority hires.
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Lombardi Questions Giants Head Coaching Search
Lombardi used the New York Giants as a “prime example” to defend his case. The ex-NFL GM points to the fact that the team hired a new special teams coordinator, Joe Judge, as their head coach this offseason. This, when they already had one of the more well-respected special teams coaches in house, Thomas McGaughey, who just so happens to be a minority.
As an example, the New York Giants recently hired special teams coach Joe Judge from the Patriots as their head coach, even though their own special teams coach Thomas McGaughey, who is African American, is one of the league’s best and brightest. This is not a knock on Judge as a coach or a potential head coach. It’s more of an example of how things operate in the coaching search. McCaughey has more experience than Judge, played briefly in the league and started coaching when Judge was still in high school. McGaughey has been around successful programs and has paid his dues in the coaching ranks. Yet he never had a chance. Why? Many might say because he is a minority, which might have some truth, but it’s also because McGaughey was not electable to the media or fans.
While special teams coaches are never going to be household names that fans will get excited about, Judge had some cache because of his association with the Patriots, which helped John Mara, the president of the Giants, get him elected. McGaughey might be the better coach, but coming off two losing seasons, he was just not electable. The fact that Judge retained McGaughey on his staff based on the recommendations of Mara and the front office is a telltale sign the Giants recognize he is a quality coach, but to them he’s not electable for a bigger gig right now.
Louis Riddick Believes Giants GM Process Was Fair
ESPN’s Louis Riddick was, at one time, a favorite to be the Giants’ next general manager following the team cutting bait with former 2x-Super Bowl GM Jerry Reese in 2017.
The Giants ultimately opted to go with Dave Gettleman for the gig, a process Riddick noted as “fair” when discussing the Rooney Rule with NBC’s Peter King.
The bottom line remains the same: Owners can hire who they want to hire. When I interviewed with the New York Giants, I felt it was a fair process. But if these policies are implemented, the first day I walk into the building, I know people with that organization would wonder: ‘Did he get this job because he’s the best man for the job, or did he get it at least in part because it gives us a big break in the draft?’ On the first day of the job, that team would be undermining its own hire by injecting doubt in the minds of the people who work in the building. Is that how you really want a GM to start off his career?