The New Orleans Saints soon-to-be-suspended Head Coach Sean Payton openly wants the legendary former head coach and NFL executive Bill Parcells to come out of retirement and coach the Saints while he’s gone. But there’s one problem: the NFL has said that, even in this case, The Rooney Rule still applies.
The Rooney Rule, established and named to reflect its author, Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney, says that an NFL team must interview minority head coaching candidates from within the NFL’s ranks of coaches.
According to the LA Times, the Saints are considering people from the current staff, including “offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the former head coach of the St. Louis Rams.” All of those coaches are white.
When I first heard Coach Peyton say he wanted Parcells, I contacted Greg Aiello who heads the NFL Communications Office, to ask if the Saints have to follow the Rooney Rule even in this circumstance, and Mr. Aiello sent back this response:
If a club goes outside for an interim coach, the Rooney rule process applies.
So that’s the NFL saying the Saints must follow the rules and find minority head coaches to interview if the Saints are going to go beyond their own coaching staff, and it appears that they’re looking at doing just that when Parcells is considered.
On minority candidates, there are possibilities in this case. One person who’s out there, and just took an assistant position with the Cincinnati Bengals, is Hue Jackson, who was the Oakland Raiders head person last year. Todd Bowles was Interim Head Coach for The Miami Dolphins last year, after that organization fired Tony Sparano, and is now a defensive backfield coach with the Eagles. So there are candidates out there – black candidates – who have been head coaches, and in the case of Hue Jackson, knows the Saints timing offense better than Parcells does.
The only question is, will the media ask the Saints why they are threatening to ignore The Rooney Rule? So far, this question has not been asked of the organization.
Moreover, Sean Payton is being suspended, which means he should not have a say over who takes his place. The NFL should step in and crack down on both Coach Payton and The Saints for their obvious flaunting of league rules and appearance that the suspension’s not being taken seriously.