👋 Good morning! The three-part documentary on Aaron Hernandez came out on Netflix yesterday, and I binged the whole thing. My seven-word review: Clear your schedule and watch it immediately.
Today's word count: 1,796 (6 minutes).
In 2003, the NFL instituted the Rooney Rule in an effort to diversify its sidelines. Technically, the rule has done what it promised — requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs — but it's hard to find positive signs of its impact today.
By the numbers: 70.1% of NFL players are non-white, but only 12.5% of regular-season games in 2019 were coached by people of color. With the same four coaches in place for 2020 (Brian Flores, Ron Rivera, Anthony Lynn, Mike Tomlin), a similar number will be expected.
Between the lines: While the Rooney Rule helps minorities get head coach interviews, it does nothing to help them land the jobs that might actually get them hired as head coaches down the road.
What they're saying: To address this pipeline problem, Giants co-owner John Mara recently suggested expanding the Rooney Rule to include offensive coordinators.
"We talked in December on the Workplace Diversity Committee about feeding the pipeline further. I can tell you: This is a real concern of the Commissioner and the league."
The big picture: The NFL is not alone in its struggles to diversify the upper echelons of power. In corporate America, there are just four black chief executives at Fortune 500 companies, per NYT.
The last word, courtesy of WashPost's Sally Jenkins:
Yesterday, I asked you to send your ideas for skills competition that you would add to an existing All-Star Weekend/Pro Bowl. Here are some of my favorites:
Photo: Ben Jared/Getty Images
Starting this season on the European Tour, caddies — who are on camera almost as much as the players, if you think about it — will be able to earn money through endorsement deals.
Why it matters: Allowing caddies to be paid to have logos on items like their hats, bag straps and towels could significantly improve their financial stability, which is currently tied to player performance.
What they're saying: "This is not for the guy who caddies for the seventh-ranked player in the world, since he does very nicely," Sean Russell, the chairman of the European Tour Caddies Association, told NYT. "This is for the guy who caddies for the 157th-ranked player."
The backdrop: Since 2014, Valspar has sponsored the PGA Tour's Caddie Hat Program, which allows caddies to earn money by wearing the paint company's logo on their hats. The European Tour's approach expands on that, freeing up caddies to promote more than just paint cans and wood stain.
The bottom line: If some portion of a golfer's sponsorship value is tied to his camera time and TV exposure, then the person standing next to him has value, too.
LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone held a press conference ahead of their Saturday UFC 246 clash, and McGregor was surprisingly calm and cordial, issuing more compliments than venom. He also stayed silent when asked about two sexual assault allegations against him in Ireland.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — A sold-out crowd packed into Rod Laver Arena for the Australian Open's "Rally for Relief," as tennis superstars came together for a night of entertainment, and to continue fundraising efforts as the country recovers from unprecedented bushfire devastation.
ABU DHABI, UAE — World No. 1 Brooks Koepka made his long-awaited return to golf after almost three months yesterday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He's 6-under through 18 holes, while his playing partner and two-time Abu Dhabi winner, Tommy Fleetwood (above), sits at 1-under.
It's Jan. 16 and San Diego State is the only undefeated team left in D-I men's college basketball — further evidence of just how chaotic this season has been.
🏀 6 days
Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, who tore his meniscus during preseason, is set to make his NBA debut on Jan. 22 against the Spurs. Finally.
🏒 7th fired coach
In an NHL season defined by coaching changes, add another to the list: The Vegas Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant yesterday, replacing him with former San Jose coach Peter DeBoer, whom the Sharks canned last month. In total, that's seven head coach firings in just over three months.
🏈 17th season
Larry Fitzgerald will play his 17th season with the Cardinals next season after signing a one-year deal with the team yesterday. Fitzgerald, 36, currently sits second on the NFL's all-time receptions list (1,378) and receiving yards list (17,083), behind Jerry Rice.
115 years ago today, the Ottawa Silver Seven (now the Ottawa Senators) won the Stanley Cup over the Dawson City Nuggets, the most famous challenger ever.
Go deeper: The 1905 Dawson City Nuggets Stanley Cup journey (Canadian history blog)
Joelle King. Courtesy: U.S. Squash
NEW YORK — Hey Axios Sports readers, Jordan Brail here (Axios correspondent for the week). It was a relatively quiet Wednesday at the 2020 JPMorgan Tournament of Champions, with just four matches being played, most of which were one-sided.
Men's draw: Mohamed El Shorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad won their quarterfinal matches to set up an all Egyptian final four.
Women's draw: Joelle King and Nour El Sherbini cruised past their opponents in the quarterfinals, both winning three games to zero.
Luke Kuechly, who retired from football on Tuesday at the age of 28, is one of two players in NFL history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
Answer at the bottom.
Related: New op-ed from Nancy Skinner, the California senator who sponsored the state's bill that would allow college athletes to accept endorsement money:
Each day this week, we'll be giving away three custom Axios Sports hats.
Kendall "Middle seat on my flight today ugh" Baker
Trivia answer: Lawrence Taylor