May 21, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (right) watches organized team activities at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL: Do women need their own version of the Rooney Rule?


This week, ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox wrote an article about Amy Trask, the former Oakland Raiders CEO. (“The Raiders?” you ask me in disgust. I know, I know, but bear with me.)

After 16 years running the team’s non-football related activities, Trask quietly resigned this month. She was the highest-ranking female executive of an NFL team, as well as the only woman to be CEO of an NFL franchise. The article went on to address the role of women (or lack thereof) in the NFL.

What I found interesting was the role Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin played in sparking this discussion. Earlier this month, Tomlin spoke at the National Football League’s career development symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the course of the symposium, the issue of minority hiring was discussed.

Nov 10, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders chief executive officer Amy Trask reacts during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Rooney Rule. Established in 2003, the Rooney Rule’s purpose was to bring racial diversity in head coaching and senior football operation jobs in the NFL by requiring teams to interview minority candidates.

Within the context of the lack of high-ranking women in the NFL, the Rooney Rule provides an interesting precedent, especially after what happened at the beginning of last season.

If you recall, the league was under intense scrutiny in 2012 because of its eight available coaching and seven available general manager jobs, none of the positions went to a minority candidate. But again, the rule requires the teams to interview minority candidates, not necessarily hire them.

So now, I ask what my fellow Steelers fans think of it.

Given the history and precedent that the Rooney Rule (and the Steelers franchise in general) has set for minority candidates in the NFL, do you think there needs to be a similar rule for interviewing women, perhaps named the “Trask Rule?”

Is the lack of women a problem at all? If so, would such a rule solve the problem?

Tags: Amy Trask Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers Rooney Rule

  • lord football

    THE POONEY RULE ANYONE?

  • jayman419

    Still not sure why Tomlin should be asked about the Rooney Rule. I get that he’s black, but that doesn’t mean he has any greater understanding of how it works, or should be better at looking around the league and counting up the people of color.

    He was brought to Pittsburgh because the team wanted to speak with him. Ron Rivera had already been interviewed for the HC position, and fulfilled the mandate for a minority interview.

  • Tim Martindale

    I’m a diehard Raiders fan and don’t appreciate this article cause u want to down my team and give no credit to the late Al Davis for being the first to do this plus the first to hire a black head coach in this era. I know your s Steelers fan but the Rooneys deserve no credit b fair when u write give credit where it’s due and don’t forget he hired the first espanic also. B a fan but when u write b a football fan not a homer.

  • Erin McDowell

    Al Davis made an amazing move hiring a woman as a CEO. Hopefully she deserves a 2nd chance. Me-I don’t see a Rooney Rule qualifying for office jobs. Thats EOE. It’s quite a bit different in the context of interviewing minorities as coaches.