03-30-2012, 03:01 PM
If all goes as planned, Bill Parcells will replace Sean Payton, his disciple in Dallas, as the New Orleans Saints' head coach once Payton begins serving his one-year suspension for his involvement in the Saints "pay-for-performance" scandal. Parcells has already told multiple media outlets that he would seriously consider the position if asked, and as long as the Big Tuna is all in, it's a great move for a team that had best be prepared for more body blows in the form of player suspensions very soon. "If [Payton] says to me, 'Bill, I need you to do this,' " Parcells told Newsday on March 28 , "that's what friends are supposed to be for." However, there's one complication to this happy ending -- if the Saints wish to hire Parcells, they must first comply with the Rooney Rule, put into effect by the NFL in 2003 and named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, which requires that any team looking to hire a new head coach must interview at least one minority candidate before making a final decision, unless the team hired from within. The Steelers got a great head coach in Mike Tomlin out of that sense of diversity, but in cases where another coach is seen as a lead-pipe lock before such terms are met, the Rooney Rule can be a real sham. According to former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, a mockery is precisely what the Saints are making of it. "It makes it a little bit of a scam now," Edwards told ESPN , where he's now an analyst,*"That's the shame of it all. Sean Payton* opening his mouth like he did , he really reflects that this thing is going to become a sham if Bill Parcells takes this job. Because if you do decide to interview a minority, you're going to go with Bill Parcells. You've already said, 'This is our coach.' That's the shame of it all. It puts [NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] in another bind." Payton "opened his mouth" here: Herm's right of course, but the Rooney Rule has opened itself up to similar scams since its inception. In 2003 , former Lions team president Matt Millen (no, we still can't write that without laughing) was fined $200,000 by the league after five minority candidates refused to interview for a job Millen had already promised to Steve Mariucci. Millen probably could have gone with the "Hey, who the hell would want to work for me, anyway?" gambit, but that didn't enter his mind.