NFL owners approve Rooney Rule applying to vacant QB coach positions

Several resolutions to the hiring process of NFL coaches have been passed at this year's Spring League Meeting, but perhaps the most impactful ruling applies to the hiring of quarterback coaches.

Vacant QB coach positions are now subject to the Rooney Rule, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

The ruling means NFL teams are now required to conduct outside interviews with a minority/female candidate for vacant QB coach positions.

The change reflects the growing call for increased diversity within the league's coaching ranks. With many prospective head coaches beginning their careers in the QB room, the ruling is expected to help increase the hiring of minority head coaches in the future.

"Well, I think we've been pretty open that we feel where we need to work a little harder is on the offensive side of the ball, because a lot of teams have stressed more [hiring] the offensive coach who can develop the quarterback and develop the offensive system," Commissioner Roger Goodell said at Tuesday's Spring League Meeting news conference. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get more candidates to be in that position to get hired as offensive coordinator and then head coach."

NFL owners also approved a resolution that amends the league's anti-tampering policy.

Teams will be prohibited from conducting head coaching interviews with candidates who are employed by other NFL clubs until the third day after the conclusion of the candidate's Week 18 game, provided the candidate's employer is not participating in the playoffs or has a wild-card bye.

Candidates whose clubs are participating in wild-card games will be allowed to interview on the Tuesday (for Saturday and Sunday games) or Wednesday (for Monday games) following the conclusion of those first-round playoff games.

Prior to the conclusion of wild-card games, hiring clubs are permitted to conduct in-person interviews with candidates who are employed by the hiring club or who are not employed in the NFL.

"We've had discussions about the process and finding out ways to make it better and finding out ways to make it slower at times and make it less challenging for clubs that are competing for a championship," NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Jonathan Beane said. "This was a way for us, the first one being the fact that you have to wait three days to interview a candidate. That's from candidates themselves telling us that, after I finish a playoff game, asking me to interview the next day, especially if I lost that game, is almost an impossible task. So we're addressing that and making sure we listen to the candidates themselves. Also as it pertains to the hiring, what we wanted to do is slow down the process in terms of in-person hiring, not slow down the actual process because of course you can interview virtually. We do believe that if we wait until after the season, after the wild-card games when you have a lot more clubs whose season is over, then in-person interviews will just be more efficient for the league as a whole."

Tuesday's resolution essentially gives HC candidates who are employed by other clubs more time to prepare for an interview, which improves the process overall. The new resolutions effectively void last year's ruling where HC interviews were allowed to be conducted during the final two weeks of the regular season for teams whose Week 1 head coaches were no longer with the club.

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