The Seahawks search for a new head coach is controversial. Not because of who's being hired. But because of how.
Leslie Frazier: The poor, put-upon "minority candidate" who will one day soon make millions of dollars as a head coach.
Since Friday, it's been assumed that USC head coach Pete Carroll would be taking over for Jim Mora. The only sticking point seemed to be whether Carroll would be strictly a signal-caller, or more of a General Manager/FrankenCoach like his predecessor once-removed, Mike Holmgren.
The Seahawks organization seems to have satisfied some of its fans (if not all) by hiring a proven winner in Carroll. Who it hasn't satisfied, however, are a legion of critics who claim that Seattle's interview with Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier "violated the spirit" of the NFL's Rooney Rule, a stipulation that requires each franchise with a vacancy talk with at least one minority candidate.
Which is fine. Except that this happens every year.Speaking for the angry maw's most hyperbolic constituents, CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel says that "Seattle trampled over (the Rooney Rule) in Enos 'Country' Slaughter's old baseball spikes, pausing above it long enough to wipe the dog crap from its feet."
Doyel is a well-compensated bomb-thrower. A creative agitator in the Limbaugh mold who manages to rise above his station only because it's so obvious that he's trying to entertain.
You've gotta wake up awful early to piss in Gregg Doyel's Corn Flakes. I'm just kidding. You can sleep in.
So he gets a pass for going a little off his rocker (and for mixing up his sports metaphors). But he's still guilty of possessing a terrible short-term memory.
The Rooney Rule was enacted in 2002 to break up the Old Boy network that kept black assistants from getting the same amount of face time with team owners as their white counterparts. Just as at one point not too long ago it was thought that black players lacked the smarts to audible or pick up a blitzing safety and therefore were denied leadership positions on the field like middle linebacker or center (to say nothing of quarterback), so too were similar prejudices held of those who wanted to coach.
The Rooney Rule was the NFL's far-from-perfect solution. And its various hairy moles are on display during every NFL offseason.
Just two years ago, the outrage was epicentered 800 miles south. San Francisco 49ers assistant Mike Singletary was called to Dallas to interview for a job that was, for the most part, filled.
Newspapers in such a PC city weren't too happy with Singletary's sham interview. Especially since the past two times the home team had had an opening, they'd flown in the same black guy (New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel) for the same interview and both times ending up hiring a different (white) dude.
But what became of our poor, quota-filling assistants?
Singletary is now head coach of the 49ers. And Crennel's chance to wear the big-boy pants eventually came too (and went; he was fired after a four-year tenure with the Cleveland Browns).
Mike Singletary was the most recent representation of all that was wrong with the NFL's Rooney Rule. Now he's not.
That the likes of Paul Allen force Frazier and other minority candidates to suffer the "indignity" of flying cross-country, being put up in a nice hotel and interviewing for a high-paying job is easy grist for a between-games column. But it's also a sign that the rule is having its intended effect, as shown in the cases of Singletary and Crennel, not to mention the Rooney Rule's most notable benefactor, Super Bowl-winning Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Hopefully Doyel and those who share his outrage will remember that in another year or two, when they're writing about Frazier's new head coaching job.