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There Are Qualified African Americans To Become Head Coaches In The National Football League

I am a fan of the NFL. Like you, I watch the games and I cheer for my favorite team. So that you will know, my favorite NFL team is the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints didn’t make the playoffs this year. I hope we’ll have better luck next year.

Each year in the National Football League, coaches are hired and fired. This is because of the axiom, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. If you don’t win in the NFL, your tenure might be short.

However, that statement is not always true. Tony Dungy, former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a winning record yet he was fired in 2001 by the owner, Malcolm Glazer.

It is my opinion that the owners have the power in the NFL. That is no secret.

The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell was hired by the owners. Coaches and players have no say in who is hired. It is not a popularity contest.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Ownership is coveted and exclusive. It is a club where you must have certain qualifications. Of course, being rich is one of them.

We can only opine as to what other credentials you must have. Currently, there are no African American owners in the National Football League. Will that change over time? I hope so.

As we approach the Super Bowl, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the only Black head coach in the league. He has never had a losing season. He has also won a Super bowl. That’s impressive.

Approximately 70% of the players in the NFL are Black so why is there only one Black head coach? The question of not having more Black head coaches has been at the goal line for years.

The National Football League has tried to do something about it, but have they done enough? It depends upon who you ask and whether they are inside or outside of the organization.

I don’t think they have done enough. I am on the outside looking inside.

The Rooney Rule was adopted in 2003 and named after then owner, Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also chairman of the league’s diversity committee.

The Rooney Rule requires that every team with a head coaching vacancy interview at least one diverse candidate. Since 2009, it also includes general manager jobs, and leadership positions in the front office.

More African American candidates have been interviewed so there has been some success. Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Vance Joseph (Broncos), and Steve Wilks (Cardinals) were hired and since fired. Black men like Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs), Byron Leftwich (Buccaneers) and Jim Caldwell (former head coach of the Lions) are receiving interviews to become head coaches. We’ll see what happens.

As we know, Brian Flores, former coach of the Miami Dolphins has filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams. They are the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. Brian Flores is African American.

The main parts of his lawsuit accuse the teams of sham interviews, incentivizing losses and trying to improperly recruit players. These allegations are bringing shockwaves throughout the National Football League.

Just recently in a memo obtained by CBS Sports senior NFL Insider Johnathan Jones, Roger Goodell said, “We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas, however, we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches the results have been unacceptable.”

He added, “We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender.”

These pronouncements come on the heels of some other pro football announcements. Sashi Brown has been named the president of the Baltimore Ravens. He was formerly the president of the Washington Wizards, an NBA team. Sashi Brown is African American. Anthony Lynn has ben hired as the assistant coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

I find the timing of these announcements interesting. That’s just me.

Brian Flores said, “it’s hard to speak out. It is. You’re making some sacrifices, but this is bigger than football. This is bigger than coaching.”

In the coming weeks, football fans will see whether Brian Flores will ever be employed again as a head coach in the National Football League.

He’s right. This is bigger than football.


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