New NFL Rule Would Improve Draft Picks for Teams That Hire Minorities

AP Photo/Butch Dill

The National Football League (NFL) is proposing a new rule that would reward teams that hire minority head coaches and general managers with improved positions in the college draft.


If you’re going to go diversity, you may as well go all in.

Under the proposal, a team could improve its third-round draft position by up to 16 places. Teams will receive an improvement of ten spots if they hire a minority general manager or equivalent front-office position, and six spots for hiring a minority head coach.

Of the last 20 NFL head coaches hired, just 2 were minorities.

The league is concerned that the racial makeup of its hierarchy does not reflect the racial character of its fan base. The new rule still needs approval by 24 of the 32 owners to go into effect.


Under this plan, a team could move up five spots in the fourth round if a minority head coach or general manager successfully entered the third year on the job, according to the report. Retaining a minority quarterbacks coach after one year would net a fourth-round compensatory pick, a nod to the importance of quarterback expertise to the head-coaching pipeline, according to the report.

Conversely, losing minority candidates to other teams would earn draft capital — a third-round compensatory pick for a minority candidate leaving to become a head coach or general manager and a fifth-round compensatory pick to the former team for a coordinator hire.


Choosing a minority head coach based on color for any reason is stupid. But so is the process of choosing an NFL head coach. How is it that so many failed head coaches, fired from previous jobs — presumably for inferior performance — end up latching on to another team? White, black — it doesn’t matter. The system is rigged in favor of an NFL coaching “fraternity” from which teams are supposed to choose a candidate.

Rarely does a team gamble on taking an “unproven” head coach, either from the college ranks or the corps of assistant coaches eagerly waiting for their chance.

General managers also play musical chairs with teams, but most franchises like to promote from within when it comes to many front office personnel.

There are other “diversity” changes being considered by the owners.

Among other diversity-related items being proposed Tuesday, according to a source: removing a rule that allows teams to block assistant coaches from interviewing for other teams’ coordinator positions, requiring multiple interviews of minority candidates for head-coaching positions, and expanding the Rooney Rule to include coordinator positions.

The Rooney Rule requires every team to interview one qualified minority candidate for a head-coaching job. But owners have final say over the decisions, and during the last coaching cycle, the Washington Redskins‘ Ron Rivera was the only minority hired.


The NFL has been under enormous pressure from sponsors, who themselves, are being pressured by activist groups — most of whom don’t give a whit about football but make it their business to promote diversity. Incentivizing diversity is better than some alternatives — including punishing teams that don’t hire minorities.

But it’s still using race as a determinant in hiring.

An NFL Draft Like Nothing We’ve Ever Seen Before


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