SAN FRANCISCO --- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a major announcement Thursday, saying the league will institute a “Rooney Rule” for women, which will now require a woman to be interviewed for all executive positions.
Under the original "Rooney Rule", all NFL teams must interview a minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. Now, a female candidate must be interviewed for all executive openings.
"We believe in diversity," Goodell said. "We believe we're better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table."
The Colts are among the few NFL franchises with female ownership. Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Kalen Irsay, and Casey Foyt are all Vice Chair/Owners of the franchise. Other female owners and part owners include Kim Pegula of the Bills, Virginia Halas McCaskey from the Bears, Martha Ford of the Lions, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz from the Buccaneers, Amy Adams Strunk of the Titans, and Carol Davis from the Raiders.
Amy Trask was CEO of the Oakland Raiders for 16 years. Dawn Aponte is still executive vice president of football administration for the Miami Dolphins.
This announcement from Goodell also comes after a season which saw two NFL teams hire a woman to be a part of their coaching staffs. Jen Welter was the first women to hold a coaching position in the NFL, when the Cardinals hired her as a preseason intern last summer to help coach linebackers. In January, Kathryn Smith became the first full-time female coach in NFL history, when the Buffalo Bills hired her as quality control-special teams coach.
On the field, Sarah Thomas was the first female official in NFL history this past season, and with this new rule, the door is open wider for women to earn even higher ranking positions in the NFL.