NFL owners last week tabled a proposal to reward teams that hire minority coaches by giving them a better third-round draft pick.
However, teams will be required to interview at least two minority candiate from outside their organization for a head coaching opening and at least one for an open defensive or special-teams coordinator job. One minority candidate must be interviewed for a vacant general manager's job, too.
"Perhaps if the new rules work, they will become known as the 'Bieniemy Amendments' to the Rooney Rule," columnist John Feinstein of the Washington Post wrote. "Eric Bieniemy, the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator, was considered a near-lock to get a head coaching job this past season. Instead, he was passed over."
The NFL currently has four minority head coaches: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn, the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores and Washington's Ron Rivera. As the New York Post noted, there are only two minority coordinators: Bieniemy and the Buccaneers' Byron Leftwich.
Mike Cannizzaro of the New York Post talked with former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards about the tabled proposal to reward teams that hire a minority coach.
Edwards, who is now Arizona State's head coach, hopes the owners ultimately reject that plan.
"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'What does that look like?' " Edwards told The Post. "What does that even sound like? This is the National Football League. This is supposed to be the standard bearer of how things are done. And to incentivize people for not only interviewing guys but hiring guys? No one wants that.
"I don't blame any owner for hiring whoever he wants to hire. But to incentivize it, it just makes it awkward, man. You don't want to get hired under that cloud. It's bad for the league, it's bad for the coach, it's just bad for football."
Edwards, who coached the Chiefs from 2006-08, also said the Rooney Rule as it stands can hurt a prospective coach. Teams with a head-coaching vacancy are required to interview at least one minority candidate.
Bieniemy has had seven interviews in the last two offseasons.
"Here's the problem with that: If you're one of those guys and in three years you've had 10 interviews and (aren't hired), then the owners are saying, 'This guy's had eight interviews and no one's hired him, so why should I hire him?' " Edwards told the Post. "That backfires on you."