USATSI

In light of Jeff Saturday’s hiring as the Colts interim head coach, there is now a formal push to have the Rooney Rule apply to interim coaches as well. On Thursday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance initiated an inquiry into whether Indianapolis’ hiring process that led to Saturday becoming the interim head coach conformed with NFL Hiring Guidelines, per NFL Media.

The Rooney Rule, a practice the NFL adopted in 2013, aims to promote diverse leadership across the NFL and “increase the number of minorities hired in head coach, general manager, and executive positions.” Whether it’s a head coach, general manager, front office, coordinator, or QB coach position, clubs are required to interview minority candidates. More recently, clubs have even been rewarded with compensatory draft picks if they develop minority candidates within their organization. 

However, the Rooney Rule currently does not apply to interim head coaches, which is where some of the criticism stemmed from with the Colts hiring of Saturday, who had no prior coaching experience in the NFL or at the collegiate level. After the season, when Indianapolis looks to hire a full-time coach, it will have to comply with the rule even if it ultimately goes back to Saturday. 

The Rooney Rule has seen plenty of alterations throughout its adoption, so opening the books back up to include interim head coaches wouldn’t be unprecedented. For example, this past spring, it was ruled that teams are now required to conduct outside interviews with a minority and/or female candidate for vacant QB coach positions. 

With this new inquiry, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the NFL look at this situation even deeper this offseason.

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