That didn't stop former NFL coach Herm Edwards from lambasting the Saints in light of the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching positions. Edwards believes New Orleans' perceived interest in Parcells turns the eventual hiring process into a foregone conclusion.
"It makes it a little bit of a scam now," Edwards said on ESPN, via ProFootballTalk.com. "That's the shame of it all. Sean Payton opening his mouth like he did, he really reflects that this thing is going to become a sham if Bill Parcells takes this job. Because if you do decide to interview a minority, you're going to go with Bill Parcells. You've already said, 'This is our coach.' That's the shame of it all. It puts (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) in another bind."
The Saints are in a delicate place. If mutual interest exists between them and Parcells, why would anyone take part in the charade of applying for a job they'll never land? The interview process is valuable for league assistants, no matter their ethnicity, but wheeling a minority candidate through to check off some box does a disservice to all involved and misses the spirit of the Rooney Rule by wide margins.
Some argue the Rooney Rule has achieved marked progress, pointing to the past six Super Bowls as proof. In those games, African-Americans participated five times as head coaches and twice as general managers. Edwards doesn't take issue with those results, but with the rule's gross misapplication in some situations.
Said Edwards: "They're making a mockery of the rule right now."