The Rooney Rule ………..

The Rooney Rule

Commendable as it appears to be, I now have to wonder whether or not the intentions behind this all, is well worth it. Named after famed Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney. The so called ‘Rooney Rule’s‘ intent was set to see that minorities are given the chance to interview for vacant head coach’s positions within the NFL. And considering that the very first minority to be a coach in the NFL was Frederick Douglas ‘Fritz’ Pollard in the 1920’s. One has to wonder why it was necessary to have this rule installed as mandate for all teams within the NFL. But it was apparent that with the racial tone of the league, minorities weren’t being afforded the chance of advancement from beyond the playing field and unto the sidelines as coaches, much less the chance of becoming an owner at the league’s inception.

Frederick Douglas 'Fritz'  Pollard , the  first minority  coach  of an  NFL  team.   Pollard is an  inductee  in  the  NFL  Football  Hall  of  Fame.
Frederick Douglas 'Fritz' Pollard , the first minority coach of an NFL team. Pollard is an inductee in the NFL Football Hall of Fame.


Minorities now make up 72% of the player personnel within the NFL and it appears to be generally acceptable within the league and to the fans. But how is it that the NFL while mandating for such a role, has essentially done little if anything to try and bring in a minority owner within its ranks ? By all accounts the lone occasion this attempted maneuver was made , due diligence was not taken by the league’s panel in their investigations. An an attempt was made by what we were informed was a prominent African American businessman , Reggie Fowler who was financially solvent. His attempt to purchase the Minnesota Vikings was met with a great deal of derision and skepticism. And it certainly didn’t help that this individual had the financial means but it was said could not provide the league with enough financial details for them to ensure that his ownership bid could be granted to become the league’s first and only prominent minority owner of an NFL franchise. In the end Fowler would become part of a consortium led by German businessman, Zygi Wilf, as the owner of the franchise. Wilf would become the principal partner in the ownership group of the Minnesota Vikings with a 60% stake in the organization. Fowler has a 20 % stake in the franchise, with the remaining 20 % split amongst the remaining partners of this limited partnership group. An owner in part but not a majority stake owner that would clarify the term “prominent ethnic owner” of an NFL franchise. While some facts are disputed as to Fowler’s supposed wealth , it appears from the outset that certain maneuvers were in place to deny him the success in an attempt to purchase the team, originally. As to who was behind this all , we will in fact never know. Suffice to say , that the image of the NFL was somewhat tarnished by the episode.

Ashburn, Va,. January 4th 2010. Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen leaves after holding a press conference on the dismissal of Head Coach Jim Zorn at Redskins Park January 4, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. During the press conference Allen said, "Last place 2 years in a row is not Redskin football."  picture appeara courtesy of  Getty Images/  Win McNamee  .......

Washington Redskins’ General Manager Bruce Allen leaves after holding a press conference on the dismissal of Jim Zorn as Head Coach of the team. The press conference was held at Redskins’ Park the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Ashburn , Va, on 4th January 2010. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Win McNamee ….

It wasn’t as if this investor was Robert L. ‘Bob’ Johnson, founder of BET and the prominent African American billionaire media mogul or famed NBA legend Magic Johnson. The latter of whom has branched out to become a commercial real estate mogul and business entrepreneur, with a believed estimated net worth approaching $750million. It appears that the NFL despite its image of being a charismatic and an all welcoming league.But as of yet the one vestige in showing the fans that minorities have finally arrived in terms of a majority ownership of a franchise, has yet to materialize or be realized.

San Diego, Ca,. January 3rd 2010. Kris Dielman (#68), Dennis Norman (#64), and Nick Hardwick (#61) of the San Diego Chargers enter the field against the Washington Redskins during the Washington Redskins  v San Diego Chargers NFL Game on January 3, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 23-20. picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Miraelle  .......
San Diego, Ca,. January 3rd 2010. Kris Dielman (#68), Dennis Norman (#64), and Nick Hardwick (#61) of the San Diego Chargers enter the field against the Washington Redskins during the Washington Redskins v San Diego Chargers NFL Game on January 3, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 23-20. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Miraelle .......

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Redskins talking to coaches to replace fired Zorn

By Joseph White , AP Sports Writer

Ashburn, Va. (AP)—Jim Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul under owner Dan Snyder.

Zorn was informed of his dismissal shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.

“I just know that last place is not Redskins football,” general manager Bruce Allen said. “Last place two years in a row is not Redskins football.”

Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his past 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.

“No one in the organization is satisfied with our record over the last two years,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team, “and I am sure that Jim would concur with that statement. It has been painful for him, too. I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season.”

Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Snyder bought the team in 1999. Playing a role in the decision will be Allen, who was hired as the GM last month. Allen would not comment on former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who is considered the favorite to get the job.

“We’re in the process of talking to people,” Allen said. “We have a good game plan of what we’re going to do.”

Neither Snyder nor Zorn were made available for comment.

Zorn’s dismissal had been expected for months. The front office stripped him of his play-calling duties in late October, and Snyder has interviewed assistant coach Jerry Gray for the job weeks ago, according to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors minority hiring in the NFL.

The new coach, Snyder and Allen will have a monumental task to rebuild a team with many roster deficiencies and major questions at offensive line, quarterback and running back.

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Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Redskins 23-20.  picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ............
Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Redskins 23-20. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ............

The NBA and MLB seems to have done quite nicely for themselves, with minorities coveting and obtaining a ‘seat up at the big house’ at the dining table. Where the owners can feast upon the billions of dollars that annually finds its way into the NFL coffers. This might on the face of it appear to be racially insensitive and motivated. But I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth as I feel it only proper at this juncture to let you know that for in spite of its facade. The hierarchy of the NFL may well be the best organized , financially sound and ran of the four major sports in North America. And that at the end of the day is in essence what the NFL is all about. Any bye product from it all in terms of entertainment and plaudits from the fans, media and populace in general, is merely further proof of the game’s popularity.

Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, left,  greeting team owner Dan Snyder before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Landover, Md. Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, Jan. 4, 2009, the first step in yet another team overhaul / Nick Wass .....
Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, left, greeting team owner Dan Snyder before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Landover, Md. Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, Jan. 4, 2009, the first step in yet another team overhaul / Nick Wass .....

And while we’ve seen the success of Tony Dungy as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, being the first African American NFL coach to win the Superbowl. And the ongoing success of his of successor, Jim Caldwell augurs well for the current situation. But other than Caldwell and Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are no other African American coaches in the NFL. Furthermore, that situation is even hindered by the fact that assistant head coaches and coordinators aren’t always afforded the luxury of the required cursory interview as demanded by the league’s mandated policy. A team has to only say that they have a minority as a prospective candidate and essentially create the scenario that the process is being adhered to. An initial cursory interview may well be granted.

The Washington Redskins with a new general manager in place, with Bruce Allen now assuming the position formerly held by Vinny Cerrato. The Daniel Snyder owned team might just be the worst ran NFL franchise in the league at present. Their turnovers in coaches is line with consistency of the Oakland Raiders and their ‘revolving door policy’ when it comes to coaches. Success or lack of it thereof, seems to be the norm for both of these franchises. Jim Zorn is the current coach of the Redskins and the impending upheaval appears apparent that Zorn’s two year tenure as the coach seems about to come to an abrupt end.

Reggie Fowler, left, has agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings from current owner Red McCombs, right. The deal, worth a reported $625 million,
Reggie Fowler, left, has agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings from current owner Red McCombs, right. The deal, worth a reported $625 million. However, the deal fell through when the NFL panel entrusted to review the bid stated that Fowler's financial backing and finances wasn't all in place and met with their tacit test. The deal was torpedoed and Fowler would then become part of the consortium headed by Zygi Wilf that would be successful in their purchase of the team from then owner Red McCombs . picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters/ Paul Marshall .............. ,

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire reports

Zorn out after two seasons as Redskins’ coach; is Shanahan in ?

The Washington Redskins fired coach Jim Zorn early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul that appears likely to involve Mike Shanahan.

An unidentified official within the NFL informed The Associated Press that new Redskins general manager Bruce Allen talked to Shanahan by phone Monday, and league sources told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora to expect an organizational overhaul by Thursday but maybe sooner. Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in 14 seasons as the Denver Broncos’ coach, would take over as coach/team president and quickly bring in assistant coaches and front-office personnel.

Zorn was dismissed shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.

Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his last 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.

It was the second consecutive season that the Redskins finished in last place in the NFC East under Zorn.

Allen said in a news conference Monday that “last place is not Redskin football.” He also refused to speculate on who the next coach would be, but he repeatedly said that a “passion for football” would be a primary requirement. He added that “head coach in the NFL is the most demanding executive position in sports.”

Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999.

“This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team. “Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today

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They’ve eagerly pursued Mike Shanahan for the position. And after two initial interviews, it appears that Shanahan is the successor in waiting for the presumed vacancy. What might the most egregious maneuver in all of this has been the apparent move by the Redskins to interview one of their low tiered assistant coaches,Jerry Gray, assistant defensive coordinator, who happens to be an African American. Now if this is being done merely to adhere to the Rooney policy, instead of it being a valid interview for a viable candidate for the position. But it appears that this is nothing more than a ploy on the part of the Redskins. It remains to be seen whether or not the NFL hierarchy under Roger Goodell as the league’s commissioner will have anything at all to say about the situation. It will be very interesting to see whether or not they will watch with a great deal of close scrutiny as to whether or not the Washington Redskins will follow the league mandated policy. On the face of it, it looks as if the Redskins are following the policy. But if anything they are actually circumventing the policy by merely creating the appearance that the interviewee is a candidate for the position. And that if anything smacks of the insidious behavior expected of a franchise wherein the norm of segregation was said to be still in being from a coaching standpoint, albeit that the roster of the franchise is very much a diverse one in nature.

Jerry Gray, secondary's and  assistant  defensive  coordinat  of   the   Washington  Redskins
Jerry Gray, secondary's and assistant defensive coordinat of the Washington Redskins. Gray has been the lone minority candiate interviewed for the now vacant head coach's position. Former Broncos' head coach has twice been interviewed for the position , prior to the dismissal of Jim Zorn as head coach of the team. picture appears courtesy of TWP/ John McDonnell .....

Segregation in sports at the player personnel level is a thing of the past within the NFL. But from a coaching standpoint it looks likes it’s either at a standstill or about to indeed take a turn for the worse. But this situation just isn’t happening at the NFL level but also at the collegiate level. Of the 120 collegiate football positions at the Division 1 A level, there are less than a dozen coaches that are of African American origin or of any other minority for that matter. But at the collegiate level where the NCAA governs college athletics. There’s nothing that mandates the hiring policy when it comes to the hiring of a football coach. It’s not really so much of a dilemma that can’t be resolved. But for the NCAA it’s not something that is of an urgent priority for the organization or the various conferences. They’re not openly willing to discuss the situation and it appears neither are the NCAA. The Black Coaches Administrators (BCA) are the only ones who are pressing the colleges, the NCAA and NFL , on the issue of their hiring practices, as it concerns minorities at the college coaching level and amongst the professional ranks. And what success if any is almost mute on the part of the NCAA and how they view the situation.

Denver , October '06. Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos looks to call a play against the Baltimore Ravens during a cold rainy first quarter on October 9, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.  picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Brian Bahr  .......
Denver , October '06. Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos looks to call a play against the Baltimore Ravens during a cold rainy first quarter on October 9, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Brian Bahr .......

The aspirants for these positions more often than not, are qualified for those positions but even if they are not. How are they are going to know what qualities will be needed by them in order to make them better suited candidates ? Especially in the case where they’re being denied the opportunity to even interview for a vacant position. At the collegiate level there is no ‘Rooney Rule’ in place for the candidates seeking a vacant coach’s position. But this is something where questions are needed to be asked and answered concerning this very issue. As to whether or not we’ll never know what will be forthcoming in the terms of an answer remains to be seen. But somehow these question have to be posed and answered unequivocally. If only to allude to the fact that there is clear transparency when it comes to the hiring of minority coaches at the collegiate as well as at the NFL level of football.

The Rooney Rule was put in place for a reason but it appears that now the NFL may well be calling time on this particular mandate.. As to the NCAA, well they’ll just continue to march to the beat of their very own drum completely oblivious of the realities of the real world and how it exists ! With its immense power in terms of its governing of the collegiate athletics’ landscape, it goes unchallenged by the major conferences as well as the Federal Government. And the Federal Government at times, would rather chide the NCCA , rather than demand that the NCAA do what is right and morally acceptable.

Into Someone’s Life A Drop of Rain Must Fall ……………………

Well  havoc  was  wreaked within  One  Buc  Place  as  the  Glazer family  saw  fit  to  fire  their  coach  Jon Gruden and  General Manager  Bruce  Allen.  The  abruptness  of  the  firing  and  the  expediency  of  it  was  not  lost on  some.   In  some  areas  it  was  completely  unexpected.  And for   some  it  was  a welcoming   wish  for   what  they  believe  was  Gruden’s   comeuppance. If  nothing  else  it  was  felt  he  was  deserving  of  the  fate.  

 

 

 

 

Much  was  expected  of  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as  they  headed  down  the  final  stretch  of the  season in the  month  of  December.  Leading  the  NFC  South  with a 9-3  record  the  team  all  but  laid down  and  succumbed  to  the  unthinkable  losing  their  final  four  games,  failing  to  make  the  playoffs.  If that  wasn’t  enough  Gruden’s demeanor  if nothing else  was  that  of  a man  who  felt  he  wasn’t  at  fault. If  there’s   anything   that  perhaps  personifies  what this  team  has  been about. It  has  been the inconsistency  of  the  team  under  Gruden’s  tenure  since  their  Superbowl  win .   There  has  been   just  as  many  peaks  and   troughs  with  the  team   as  there  has  been  in  the  stock  market.  And  if anything   for  the   Glazer  family  that’s  certainly  not  what  they’d   envisaged   from the  coach  when  they  lured  him  away from the  Oakland  Raiders  for  a  slew  of draft picks  and  $8m in compensation  that  benefited  the  Raiders.    A  king’s  ransom  was  paid  and  though  it has  paid dividends.  After  time  the allure of  the  transaction definitely  lost its  luster.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Dominik far  left   along  with  Raheem Morris  the  new  coach of the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers    second from  right  ..............................

 

 

Mark Dominik(left) the  Buccaneers’  new general manager  is  seen  here  alongside  Bucs’  ownership executive  vice  presidents Edward and Bryan Glazer (center) new coach  Raheem Morris (second from the right) and  far  right  Joel  Glazer. picture  appears   courtesy of  getty  images/   Paul   Mason ………………….. 

 

 

 

 

 

For  vice-president  Joel  Glazer  and  his  father  Malcolm  the abruptness of  this  all came  about  with  a  seismic quake  that  took  the  NFL completely  by  surprise.  So  Gruden  now  becomes one  of   four  coaches  that’ve  won  the  Superbowl   and  have   either  retired  or  been  fired  this  season.  He  joins  Mike  Shanahan ,  Tony  Dungy and   Mike Holmgren   who all  have  one  thing  in common.  They’ve  seen  the  highs  and  lows  that   the  game  brings.  And  Dungy  if  one  remembers   was  the  person   replaced   by  Gruden.  Somewhat  ironic  one  might  think  that  Dungy  leaves  the  Indianapolis  Colts   under  his  own  steam   whilst   Gruden  is shown  the  door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though  there’d been speculation  as  to  who’d  take  over   from Gruden. The  likely  candidate  has come  from within, in-house.   The   Tampa Bay  Buccaneers  made  it  official  in the  naming  of  defensive  coordinator  Raheem  Morris  to  the  take  over from  Jon Gruden.    And  the  vacancy  of  the  general manager’s  position  would  also  be  filled   from  in-house by Mark Dominik.  Morris at  32  years  of  age  is  highly thought  of   within the  Bucs’ organization  and  learnt  his  craft under  the  watchful eye  of Monte   Kiffin.    Kiffin  departed  to  join  his  son  Laine  in  a similar  position  with  the  University  of Tennessee.   One  can assume  that  either   there was  a tumult   erupting   within  the  organization.  Or  in fact that  changes  had  to  be   made   from  within   because of the   failures  within   the  franchise  not   just  on  the  field   but  managerially  also.

 

 

 

Raheem Morris  introduced  to  the  convened  press  as  the  Buccaneers'  new  head  coach  ...................

 

 

Raheem  Morris  having  been  introduced as the  Buccaneers’  new  head  coach  takes   questions   from  the  convened  press.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Matthew  Gould  ………………… 

 

 

 

 

 

Recruitment  wise  the  team  has had  some  hits  and  misses   but  there’ve  been  more  misses  than  hits.   And  it did  not  augur well   when  there  was  a  great  deal  of  discontent  between  the  coach  and  his  Pro-Bowl  quarterback  Jeff  Garcia.  The  ongoing  saga  and the   denials   by  Gruden  as  to  whether  or  not  the  franchise  was  in  pursuit of  Brett  Favre  only   added  to  much  of the  confusion.   And  if  there’s  been  one  thing  indicative  of  the  franchise  it  has  been  the  failure  to  develop  a  quarterback  for  the  future.  Year  in  year   out   it  has  either  been  a   recycling  project  by  the coach.  Or  he’s  looked  from  within  to  see what’s  available.  And   one  states  that  the  cupboard   was  bare.   It  wasn’t  an  understatement  !  Not  only  was  it  bare   but  talent wise  it  lacked   credibility.    The  names  of  Luke  McCown, and Brian  Griese  aren’t  exactly  what  one   consider  to  be  world  beaters  let  alone  put fear  into the  hearts  of   opposing  teams.   But  that’s  what   Gruden  felt   would  save  the  day   for  the  franchise.  It  has  been  ever   dependent   over the  years   on  its   defense   to  keep  it  in  games.    But  on the  offensive  side  of  the  ball  where   Gruden  was viewed  as  somewhat  of  a  genius.    Rarely   had  we  seen  anything   that  placate   the   situation  in  terms  of  the  ineptitude shown  at   times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  complete  lack  of   a  running   game though  it  can  be   said  that   injuries  to  Carnell  Williams  and   Earnest  Graham played its  part.   We  also  saw very  little  from  the  likes  of   Michael  Clayton  of  whom  it  can  be  said  if  he wasn’t  catching  the  ball.  He  could  be  relied  upon  for  a  timely   block.  But  the  body  of  his  work  has  been  negligible   since   his  entry  into  the  NFL.   What  has  been  even  more  glaring  has  been  the   team’s   failure  to   convert  on   third   downs.  Statistically  the   team  was  in the  lower  half  of  the  league.   And   its  most  potent   offensive  weapon  for  much  of  the  season  has  been  the  play  of  wide   receiver  Antonio  Bryant   and kicker  Matt  Bryant.  And  though  some  will  throw  in  the  name  of  Clifton  Smith. If  we’re   to  believe  that  Gruden  is  such  a  genius   then  why  is  it   that  he  wasn’t able  to  work  with  the   tools  in  his  tool  bag ?    After  all  isn’t  a  master  craftsman  able  to  work  with  whatever  he  has  at  hand ?   This  may  well  be  one  the   reasons  why   the  Joel Glazer  sought  the  path  he  did  in  making  the  decision  to   relinquish  Gruden  of  his  position as   the  coach.    As  to Bruce  Allen  once the  decision  was  made  to  let  the   coach  go.  It   seemed   only   plausible  that  the  ownership  would  seek  to send  the  general manager  packing  as  well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As  to what  the  future  will   hold  for   Gruden  it  is  open  to  conjecture  and  speculation.  He  will in  all  probability  get another  coaching  position within  the  NFL.  But  we’ll   just  have  to wait  and  see  where  his  ultimate  destination   may  be.  Fans of  the  franchise  may  well  see  this  as  a sad  loss  for  the  organization as  voiced  by  the  Glazer family.  But  Gruden’s   time   at  the helm  was  enough  for  all  of   us  to  see  that  the  franchise   was  heading  nowhere.  The  inconsistency   was  one  thing   but  Gruden himself  in  no  way  sought  to  alleviate  the  problem  and take  accountability  for  his  faults  and  that  of  his  coaching  staff.  Rather  he’d  prefer  to  lay  the  blame  elsewhere.