In 2003, the NFL had three minority head coaches: future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, Herman Edwards and Marvin Lewis.
In the 12 previous seasons, there had been six. Total.
Considering that the majority of the players in the league 16 years ago were minorities, that imbalance was enormous. And disturbing.
Paul Tagliabue, then the NFL commissioner, put together a committee that established the “Rooney Rule,” which requires all teams with coaching and front office vacancies to interview minority candidates. The rule, long overdue, was named for the late Dan Rooney, then president of the Pittsburgh Steelers and head of that committee.
Rooney, one of the league’s most enlightened and free-thinking owners, recognized that opportunities for minority coaching candidates were far too limited throughout