On eve of virtual meeting, “a lot of lobbying” for proposed Rooney Rule expansion

NFL owners will discuss via virtual meeting, among other things, whether to expand the Rooney Rule to provide draft-pick enhancement to teams that hire minority coaches or minority General Managers. Like all rule changes, 24 votes will be required.

As the balloting approaches, “a lot of lobbying” is occurring in support of the proposal.

There’s a persistent belief that the rule will pass, notwithstanding concerns raised by the likes of Chargers coach Anthony Lynn and, as of Monday afternoon, Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy.

Dungy explained the basis for his opposition to the proposal during a Monday appearance on #PFTPM. He also addressed potential alternatives.

“I don’t think you can legislate the right thing,” Dungy said. “I don’t think you can legislate fairness. So to me you have to do other things to kind of try to create that. My suggestion was, if I were the Commissioner, I would get every owner to sit down and write out exactly what he’s looking for, his qualities that he’s looking for in a head coach, a General Manager, personnel department, all of those top-level positions. Even if I’m not looking right now, spell it out so that when that time does come, I have a blueprint to kind of fall back on. And I think that would really help. Number one, it would help owners think about who I have in that position right now. If I’m tempted to make a change, and I spell out, ‘Here’s the five or six things that I really want,’ and I look at the coach I have now, and he is that, well, maybe I don’t need to make a change. Maybe that tells me what I’m looking for.

“But I think more than anything, getting owners to really spell it out, then you can come and say, ‘OK, if that’s what you’re looking for, here are some people who fall into that category. Here’s people you can look at,’ and will have a much better way of going. Right now, I think so many owners, at least the ones I talk to, when they’re in the process, they really don’t know what they’re looking for.”

By having owners think in terms of qualities they’re seeking, they become like likely to lock onto a potential candidate based on name recognition or track record without asking the broader question of whether the coach fits the owner’s broader vision for the job, and for the franchise. Efforts to promote that kind of thinking could promote positive change, without the drawbacks of giving teams a tangible incentive to making hiring decisions based on race.