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NFL considers revisions to Rooney Rule

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NFL considers revisions to Rooney Rule

Jim Caldwell nearly went undefeated as a rookie coach in Indianapolis three years ago and he's one win away from returning to the Super Bowl as an assistant with Baltimore.

Yet Caldwell didn't get one interview for any of the eight coaching vacancies in the NFL this year.

``That's almost impossible for me to comprehend,'' John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Eight teams hired new coaches and seven more filled general manager positions with the New York Jets completing their search by hiring John Idzik. None of those jobs went to a minority.

Now the league is considering revisions to the ``Rooney Rule,'' which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.

``While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity,'' Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources, said in a statement.

``The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions.

``We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful.''

Wooten said his group is already working on a proposal.

``We feel very strongly there's a need to extend the rule,'' Wooten said. ``I'm disappointed, but not discouraged because we have a plan of action. We're putting it together right now and we're going to present our thoughts and ideas to the league. We'll be working together to make something happen.''

Caldwell won his first 14 games with the Colts in 2009 before losing the final two regular-season games after resting Peyton Manning and most of his starters. The Colts reached the Super Bowl only to lose to the New Orleans Saints. Indianapolis went 10-6 the following season and captured another AFC South title, but lost to the New York Jets in a wild-card game. With Manning sidelined all of last season, the Colts went just 2-14 and Caldwell lost his job.

He joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in mid-December. Baltimore has averaged 25.8 points in the five games since Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron. In two playoff wins, the Ravens have scored 62 points, including 38 in a double-overtime win at Denver last week.

``Anybody in this business would certainly like to get to the point where they reach the top of their profession,'' Caldwell said earlier this month. ``They'd love to have an opportunity to be a head coach, and I'm no different.''

But Caldwell has to wait until next year. So does Lovie Smith.

The Chicago Bears fired Smith after he went 10-6. He interviewed with Philadelphia, San Diego and Buffalo. The Eagles chose Chip Kelly, the Bills hired Doug Marrone and the Chargers went with Mike McCoy.

At least Smith had an opportunity. Caldwell didn't. Neither did Winston Moss, an assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers.

``I'm probably more disappointed that Jim Caldwell and Winston Moss didn't get interviews,'' Wooten said. ``Caldwell could've been undefeated his rookie year if (then Colts general manager) Bill Polian doesn't make the decision to bench Manning. And Moss is such an impressive coach. Look at the way he held together the Packers' linebackers with all their injuries.''

Keith Armstrong, special teams coach for Atlanta, interviewed for vacancies with Kansas City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Armstrong wasn't really considered a serious candidate for those teams. Some believe he was granted interviews simply to satisfy the Rooney Rule. The Chiefs hired Andy Reid just a few days after the Eagles fired him. The Bears chose Marc Trestman.

``I would never tell a guy not to take an interview because it's not a realistic interview,'' Wooten said. ``Keith Armstrong is a strong talent evaluator and excellent coach.''

There were a total of 203 minority coaches in the NFL in 2012, including six head coaches. With Smith and Romeo Crennel out, only four minorities will start the 2013 season as head coaches. That's the fewest since 2003.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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AFC North: Steelers' Antonio Brown posts, deletes video of Mike Tomlin insulting Patriots

AFC North: Steelers' Antonio Brown posts, deletes video of Mike Tomlin insulting Patriots

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has created a new firestorm heading into the Patriots-Steelers AFC championship game, by posting a Facebook Live video from the locker room in which coach Mike Tomlin referred to the Patriots as “a--h----s”.

Tomlin was giving his postgame address to the team after the Steelers’ 18-16 playoff victory over the Chiefs.

While Tomlin was speaking, Brown was streaming the locker room scene on Facebook, unbeknownst to Tomlin.

The coach talked about the Patriots having a head start in preparation, because they won their divisional game Saturday night, while the Steelers-Chiefs game did not end until late Sunday night in Kansas City.

“When you get to this point in the journey, man, not a lot needs to be said,” Tomlin said in the video, which Brown has since deleted from social media.

“Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparations. We just spotted these a--h---s a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight. We’re going to touch down at 4 o’clock in the f---king morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for their a--. But you ain’t got to tell them we’re coming.

“Keep a low profile, and let’s get ready to ball like this up again here in a few days and be right back at it. That’s our story.”

Well, it’s a little late for the Steelers to keep a low profile now, after Brown’s video went viral.

This is why most coaches don’t like cameras in the locker room immediately after games. The statements are candid. The concept of what is said in the locker room, staying in the locker room, is lost.

Now Tomlin, Brown, and the Steelers will have to deal with the fallout. But it will only raise the AFC showdown, with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.

RELATED: STEVE SMITH'S BEST TRASH TALK

 

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Former Ravens great Lewis tweets at Brady to stop complaining

Former Ravens great Lewis tweets at Brady to stop complaining

Even though Ray Lewis is retired, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady still gets under Lewis’ skin.

The former all-time great Ravens linebacker went to Twitter to voice his displeasure during Saturday’s AFC playoff game, after Brady complained about a hit he took from Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans. Brady thought the hit was late and wanted a penalty called on Clowney. Brady screamed at referee Pete Morelli, asking for a flag that wasn’t thrown.

Lewis thought Brady was out of line.

“It’s Called Football Brady,” Lewis wrote on Twitter.

Brady has never been a popular guy in the Ravens’ locker room - understandable considering the past battles the two teams have had. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs refuses to mention Brady by name, preferring to go with cryptic references like, “That quarterback up North”, or “You know who I’m talking about.”

Not that Brady is losing any sleep over what Lewis and Suggs think. Brady is going to another AFC Championship game, while the Ravens can only watch. That’s just more reason for Lewis to find Brady particularly irritating at this time of year.