Art Rooney II backs Mike Tomlin after tumultuous season, shift in contract

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The rule, named for the late Dan Rooney, Art II's father, was initially adopted in 2003, and it required teams to interview at least one diverse candidate for any head-coaching vacancy.

Mara recently suggested an expansion of the Rooney Rule to include not only head coaching jobs but also certain important assistant assignments that become the pathway to running a team.

Additionally, there are only four minority head coaches in the NFL. "We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes".

"We're obviously using the Rooney Rule for the head coaching candidates, but I think we may have to use the rule for the feeder positions, especially on the offensive side of the ball because that's where so numerous head coaches come from", Mara told Peter King for his latest Football Morning in America column. But the league has come under fire after the current hiring cycle ended with only one minority candidate hired as a head coach. "So, we need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation".

In the National Football League, 32 of 34 owners are white, and when Panthers owner David Tepper hired Matt Rhule earlier this month, one of the first things he said was that he reminded him of himself and dressed similarly. There were five available head coaching positions (Browns, Cowboys, Giants, Panthers and Redskins) and none went to a Black candidate.


"I was proud of the way our guys kept fighting through all the adversity, and unfortunately we couldn't keep it going there the last few weeks of the season", Rooney said on Wednesday. Rooney said the team still believes Smith-Schuster will be an "outstanding player" while admitting he'd like to see what Conner could do if healthy for a full season, something that hasn't happened during any of Conner's three years in the league. Just to make sure the minority opportunities are there. "I'm not sure why that is, it doesn't need to be that way".

"I think we've seen in these playoffs you can run the ball and be successful", Rooney said. The league now has one minority general manager. That's really not a bad pipeline. The Steelers stayed in contention for most of the season, getting to 8-5 before losing their last three games and scoring just 10 points in each one in that stretch. Why aren't more of those people advancing through the process? "There is a lot of pieces that we have to look at, and we have a lot of work to do that".

Rooney was then informed of a recent report from the Fritz Pollard Alliance that stated that the NFL's minority hiring is now down 15%, specifically at the executive level. "We have a lot of work to do that".

"There's no question that having a diversity plan in your hiring practices I think is really what every business in America is looking at now and there's a need to make progress on all fronts", Rooney said.

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