NFL owners looking for Head Coaches, General Managers who must have completed extensive recruitment training

NFL owners looking for Head Coaches, General Managers who must have completed extensive recruitment training

NFL owners looking for Head Coaches, General Managers who must have completed extensive recruitment training

NFL team owners looking for a new head coach or general manager are now required to complete extensive recruitment training before beginning their search.

The league announced the mandatory requirement in October, and a league source said many of the teams have already received the training. Individuals who are considered “decision makers” in the hiring process—team owners, business leaders, or others—must complete the training before beginning.

Though diversity numbers have improved at many NFL ranks over the years, the league still struggles with diversity among head coaches. Last year the league welcomed 10 new head coaches, but only three — Lovie Smith, Mike McDaniel and Todd Bowles — were men of color. The NFL also saw 12 of its 13 available offensive coordinator roles go to white men last season.

From the start of the 2012 season through the start of the 2022 season, more than 80% of all hired head coaches were white males.

Teams are also strongly encouraged, but not required, to use a coach/expert for the inclusive hiring process when looking for a head coach. This person would help ensure the process is fair, but would not participate in the decision-making process.

There is no way teams take over the training. The NFL offers eight different sneakers with their own styles to choose from. The training itself lasts between 45 minutes and an hour and a half and can take place virtually or in person.

In December, the league provided teams with a 33-page document on fair hiring practices. The guide offers tips for a more inclusive hiring process, including a ‘performance check of selection justification’.

“By requiring all decision-makers – including club owners – when hiring head coaches and general managers to complete inclusive recruitment training, we aim to improve the league’s hiring practices and support a fair and inclusive process across all 32 clubs,” said Jonathan Beane, who NFL Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, in a statement to CBS Sports. “With this new requirement — along with other significant changes to our policies, programs and procedures we introduced in 2022 — we continue to improve our overall hiring process.”

The requirements of the Rooney Rule have also become more stringent in recent years. For an open head coach, GM, or coordinator position, teams must personally interview two outside candidates who are either black or women. Teams with interim head coaches or GMs today must go through the entire process even if they want to hire the current interim head coach.

The league also included new rules during the off-season to slow down the hiring process. If a team wishes to interview a head coach candidate who is either not in the playoffs or ranked #1 in the playoffs, it must wait until three days after the candidate’s week 18 game has ended. In other words, if a team with a vacancy wants to interview a playoff team, they have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to do a virtual interview.

If a team wishes to interview a head coach candidate whose team is in the wildcard round, they must wait until Tuesday or Wednesday after the wildcard round, depending on which day that team played. This interview can take place in person or virtually.

Teams must complete their first interview with candidates currently employed by an NFL team before the Divisional Playoff Round is complete. A candidate on a playoff team is not allowed a second interview until that team is out of the postseason or until bye week before the Super Bowl if the team is a Super Bowl participant.

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