The Wisdom Of The Rooney Rule

Martin Johnson tracks the results of the NFL's most innovative offense:

Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Morris in Tampa Bay are said to be on thin ice. Yet it is still possible that the ranks of African-American head coaches will increase this off-season. First of all, four of the seven NFL coaches have no need to look over their shoulders. Caldwell took over a situation that seemed impossible to improve upon. (Dungy had been a rock in Indianapolis, and the team has won 12 or more games six years in a row.) Yet Caldwell's Colts have won 14 straight games, and they have their sights set on a perfect season and a lot more.

Mike Tomlin won the Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in February, but this year's team has struggled and will probably not make the playoffs. However, the Steelers allowed Tomlin's predecessors, Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher, time and space to rebuild and retool their squads. There's no indication that Tomlin won't receive equal opportunity.

Before I read this piece, I didn't know, precisely, how many black head coaches there were in the NFL, and I actually don't much care. If this makes any sense, I'm much more concerned with the league making sure that the brothers get a shot.

Whenever I heard Dennis Green or Tony Dungy talking about the lack of black head coaches, they didn't so much talk about the actual hiring as they talked about having trouble "getting in the room." It looks like the league is doing a great job dealing with that. I think, as with so many other things, a lot of us want to win, but what we want, more than that, is to feel like we got a chance to compete.