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    Haslett and the Rooney Rule -BERNIE

    10.25.2008 5:17 pm
    By Bernie Miklasz

    Rams fans were buzzing Saturday with the news that the NFL has voided the deal between the team and head coach Jim Haslett.

    In agreeing to take over for the fired Scott Linehan, Haslett asked for a contract clause that would ensure his return in 2009 as long as the Rams went 6-6 in his 12 games in charge.

    According to Pete Prisco of the NFL notified the Rams that the Haslett clause is a violation of the Rooney Rule.

    This means the Rams can make Haslett their head coach in 2009, but only after complying with the Rooney Rule by interviewing a minority candidate for the position.

    The Rams can still hire Haslett, but must wait until the offseason to do so.

    This scenario reveals a serious flaw in the Rooney Rule. Haslett is 2-0 as the head coach, and if he continues to win, obviously the Rams would want him to continue on in 2009 and beyond.

    And so what would be the purpose of forcing the Rams to conduct a bogus interview with a minority candidate? And how many minority candidates would want to waste their time to meet with the Rams to discuss a job opening that really isnít a job opening?

    Itís ludicrous.

    And in theory, the Rams could lose Haslett because of this. Suppose he shocks the NFL and leads the Rams to a winning record and a playoff spot? I donít think thatís going to happen, but if the Rams continue rolling, Haslettís stock would rise. Heíd be very much in play. And other teams would likely want to talk to him about becoming coach. But because the NFL forbids Haslett from signing with the Rams during the season, the chances of him slipping away and taking another head-coaching gig will only increase. (That said, Haslett has told me several times that his family loves it here and heís excited about staying. He doesnít want to move. So in this scenario, heíd probably ride it out and give the Rams a chance to make a deal before talking to other teams.)

    This also raises the issue of double standards. The Colts (Jim Caldwell) and Seahawks (Jim Mora Jr.) already have appointed successors to take over once Tony Dungy retires in Indy, and Mike Holmgren retires in Seattle. So why canít the Rams promote Haslett from within?

    According to one of my sources in the NFL office, those situations are different because Caldwell and Mora reached agreements while their teamís head coaches were still on the job. In other words, the job never became open Ė and St. Louis was different because the job technically became open the moment Linehan was fired.

    This logic seems nonsensical to me.

    But policy is policy, and the Rams wonít be able to run the old end around play to get past the rule.

    One more thing about this:

    The prospect of losing Haslett to another franchise aside, Itís probably OK for the Rams to wait a while, anyway. Two games is too soon to conclude that Haslett is the HC for 2009. Letís see how this plays out. Rams chairman Chip Rosenbloom tells me that heís very pleased with the way the Rams have responded to Haslett, and he hopes it continues. Not that the Rams could discuss a contract with Haslett now Ė the Rooney Rule prevents that Ė but itís wise to hold off a bit.

    Suppose the Rams start losing and playing poorly? Wouldnít the franchise want to open up a legit coaching search? Of course. And though the Rams are not being shopped for a sale right now, if the right person emerges, things could change quickly. And a new owner might have his/her own ideas about who should be coaching the team.

    Thanks for readingÖ


  2. #2
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    Re: Haslett and the Rooney Rule -BERNIE

    Bernie's really hit the nail on the head with this one. Exactly right. That's not something I expected to say today.

    (Ahem... Queue obligatory self-gratuitous post from our own BernieM. Perhaps you'd like to thank God, Your Parents...etc?)

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    Re: Haslett and the Rooney Rule -BERNIE

    It just kills me......

    If Haslett was black, this wouldn't be an issue.

    Don't even try to tell me that that isn't racist.
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Haslett and the Rooney Rule -BERNIE

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    It just kills me......

    If Haslett was black, this wouldn't be an issue.

    Don't even try to tell me that that isn't racist.
    The Rooney rule was conceived to help black coaches get their foot in the door -- a good thing even if its implementation has its flaws. However, nowadays it seems the rule is somewhat archaic at least to this observer. Owners want to win more than anything -- yes -- even the cheap ones make more money if their team is winning. African american coaches have proven they can coach and win in this league and it is no longer a big deal for a team to hire a black coach. We see them on the sidelines every Sunday and I doubt many people give it a second thought. Maybe it is time to retire the rule as its goal appears to have been accomplished .. Thoughts?


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