The Rooney Rule, established in 2003, requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. His red hair notwithstanding, Jason Garrett is not a member of any recognized minority.
The rule does not apply if an assistant coach has language in his contract guaranteeing him the head coaching job in case of an opening. Garrett does not have such language in his contract.
The situation is therefore abundantly clear: Even though Garrett is now the interim head coach, the Cowboys will have to meet the NFL's Rooney Rule requirements and interview minority candidates for the 2011 head coaching position. After the break, Jerry Jones decides not to let sleeping dogs lie and takes up the topic on public radio.
Earlier on Friday, Todd Archer from the DMN reported on a interview Jerry Jones gave on KRLD-FM - 105.3 The Fan
"There are some extenuating circumstances involved here and I would have the opportunity on my decision, how we'll make it, I'll have to present that to the league," Jones said. "So we'll see how that goes but I can't give you any type of answer to that because I'm not sure I'm through working the process."
Looks like Jerry Jones is ready to ask the league for a waiver on the Rooney Rule should he decide that Garrett is the man for the job.
Tim McMahon from ESPN Dallas writes that Jerry Jones has found a ways to meet the league's requirement in the past:
Jones satisfied the Rooney Rule in 2003 with a telephone interview of Dennis Green after the Cowboys agreed to a deal with Bill Parcells. Minority candidates Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell, Ron Rivera and Mike Singletary were among the 11 coaches who interviewed with the Cowboys before Phillips was hired in 2007.
Should Jerry Jones be forced to conduct a full interview process, even if he thinks Garrett is the best man for the job? And which self-respecting minority candidate would willingly take part in a rigged scenario like this?
Or is Jones' talk of an exemption just fancy talk for "the rules don’t apply to me" as Mike Florio thinks?
Arguably, Jerry tried to wriggle his way around the rule once before by conducting a perfunctory telephone interview with Dennis Green. The league called shenanigans at the time but couldn't do much except require interviews in person to meet the Rooney Rule requirements from then on.
I can just picture Roger Goodell sitting in his office and thinking "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me". An exemption will never fly with this commissioner. The Cowboys will have to comply with the rule in selecting a new head coach. Why on Earth would Jerry Jones basically declare the whole process a farce and chase off potential minority candidates by going public and raising this issue at this time?
Well, at least now I know what I'm getting Jerry for Christmas: An MP3 of Starsailor's "Silence Is Easy"