To say that the Rooney Rule isn’t working is to presume that it ever did. It never truly did, at least not in the way it was intended.

Ideally, the rule requiring at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for every head-coaching vacancy will prompt owners to engage in a deliberate, patient, inclusive search, one that doesn’t have the destination selected before the journey begins. That’s not how it worked in the decades before the rule was created, and that’s definitely not how it has worked in the 18 years since the rule was put in place.

The Rooney Rule was never about forcing an owner to hire a minority candidate. It was about requiring owners to give fair consideration to a diverse set of qualified candidates before picking the next coach. But even though the league can mandate at least one interview of a minority candidate, the league can never force owners to not make decisions about the coaches they want to hire.