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NFL to implement ‘Rooney’ rule to get women into executive positions

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the NFL Women’s Summit on Feb. 4, in San Francisco.

Ben Margot/AP Photo

The NFL will create a "Rooney Rule" for women that would require teams to interview female candidates for executive positions, commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday.

Goodell, in his opening remarks at the NFL Women's Summit ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl 50, said the rule is being created to encourage female involvement at every level of the sport. "We believe in diversity," Goodell said. "We believe that we're better as an organization when we have good people at the table."

The "Rooney Rule" was established in 2003 and requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching or senior football operation jobs.

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Named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the rule was instituted in response to the small percentage of minority candidates being named to head-coaching positions.

Last July, the Arizona Cardinals made history by hiring the first female assistant coach when Jen Welter was chosen as the training camp/preseason intern coaching inside linebackers.

This past season, women broke further barriers in the NFL as the league hired its first full-time female game official in Sarah Thomas. Last month, the Buffalo Bills appointed Kathryn Smith as a special teams assistant coach, the first full-time female coach in the league.

"You can see that progress is being made," Goodell said. "And our commitment is we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure, when we have an opening, that on the team or the league level we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates. ... And we're going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that for women as well in all of our executive positions."

NFL planning game next season in Mexico

San Francisco

The NFL is planning to play a regular-season game in Mexico City this year, a person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL has not announced the game officially. Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to do so in his Super Bowl news conference Friday.

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Oakland would host Houston on a date not yet determined; the NFL schedule comes out in the spring. The Raiders, of course, are having stadium issues in California, and the Texans have a strong interest in the Mexican market.

No NFL game has been played in Mexico since a regular-season match between Arizona and San Francisco in 2005 drew more than 103,000 to Azteca Stadium.

The NFL also has played seven preseason games there, none since 2001.

Coldplay show to be trip in time

San Francisco

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin says the band's Super Bowl halftime show will try to honour the past, present and future.

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At a news conference Thursday, the band said that they will have the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles there to represent the future and Beyoncé, whose 2013 performance they adore, for the past. "We've watched all of the other halftime shows many times and most of them are fantastic," Martin said. "I think we're going to try to celebrate those other years and hopefully make a show as memorable as some of our favourites."

Asked how they would fit 16 years of music into 12 minutes, Martin joked: "We decided we'd play all our No. 1s and then work out how to fill the other 10 minutes."

Ape goes bananas for Panthers

Salt Lake City

An ape at the Salt Lake City, Utah, zoo has predicted the Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl.

Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen says a 1-year-old orangutan named Tuah chewed up a cardboard Panthers sign and later kissed a papier-mâché Panthers helmet.

Hansen says he never touched the Denver Broncos sign or helmet.

Hansen says Tuah's older sister gave Broncos fans hope when she entered the enclosure later and put the Broncos helmet on her head.

The annual event occurred Thursday. Animals at the zoo have correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner for eight straight years.

With a report from Reuters

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