The Rooney rule was born in 2003, a relatively advanced time for the NFL and all Americans off the Apple early-adopter grid. Yet there was still room for a rapid 150 percent rise in the number of clubs that had ever hired minority head coaches. At least one team, the Bears, latched onto its best coach in years, the now-dismissed Lovie Smith, because of the rule. To comply, the Bears had to dig deeper into the pool of candidates, and they found the man who took them to their first Super Bowl in 21 years.
From Steelers headquarters this week, Dan Rooney said the rule remained relevant now, as eight teams -- 25 percent of the league -- went into the offseason looking for new head coaches.
“There might be a time down in the future that we might not need it,’’ Rooney said. “But we’re not there yet.’’