NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced yesterday that the league will establish a “Rooney Rule” to give women an opportunity to get executive-level jobs around the league.
Goodell made his comments at the first NFL Women’s Summit in San Francisco, which is part of Super Bowl 50 week.
“We believe in diversity,” Goodell said. “We believe we’re better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table.”
The “Rooney Rule” was established in 2003 and requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for open head-coaching positions. According to Goodell, women now will get the same chance for executive-level jobs with teams.
Women have broken barriers in the NFL during the past year. Sarah Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history last April. The Cardinals hired Jen Welter last July to coach inside linebackers during training camp and the preseason. The Bills hired Kathryn Smith as their new quality control-special teams coach last month, making Smith the first female full-time coach in NFL history.
Thomas and Welter were in attendance yesterday when Goodell made the announcement.
“You can see that progress is being made and our commitment is, we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening that on the team or the league level that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates,” Goodell said.
“Well, we’re going to make that commitment and we’re going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that for women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we’re going to keep making progress here and make a difference.”