The NFL has long claimed to desire more diversity within its head coaching ranks. Over the last decade, with the help of The Fritz Pollard Alliance’s Rooney Rule, its database of qualified candidates of color, new programs designed to aid in developing minority coaching talent, as well as the organizations constant dialogue with NFL owners, theres a deeper pipeline of minorities being interviewed for plush NFL gigs.
Theres also more of them getting training at the college level as offensive/defensive coordinators and filling NFL assistant coach slots. The NFL had a record number eight minority coaches at the start of 2017, which ties the record set in 2011, when it appeared as if minority head coaches would reach double digits in the next couple of years, bringing an end to any anachronistic ideas about the leadership and intellect of a minority head coach.
Unfortunately, seven years later, just 25 percent of the head coaches are minorities in a league that is 70 percent, Black.
8 minority coaches seem to be enough for NFL owners.
NFL is one big weakly racial narrative. Not just Kaepernick. How Black coaches & QBs are perceived; Trumpian Owners; Good Ole boy coaches; white male media anointing Chip Kelly genius upon arrival but can’t muster up same word for Mike Tomlin. These narratives must be confronted
The Chargers Anthony Lynn, Denvers Vance Joseph, Cincinnatis Marvin Lewis, Pittsburghs Mike Tomlin, Detroits Jim Caldwell, Clevelands Hue Jackson, the Jets Todd Bowles, and Carolinas Ron Rivera were leading NFL teams in 2017. Lynn and Joseph were brought in last season. All of the aforementioned coaches retained their jobs for 2018 with the exception of Jim Caldwell, whos already been to a Super Bowl.
With seven NFL head coaching vacancies for 2018, it was expected that the number of minority head coaches would at least finally meet the significant double digit threshold, but Arizona Cardinals rookie HC Steve Wilks was the only one hired, holding the number of minority head coaches at 8 out of 32 teams as we kickoff 2018.
Theres no reason that minority head coaching numbers have flatlined in the past decade. Especially in this age of social consciousness, player empowerment and the constant breaking of barriers that chip away at bigoted theories and exclusive institutions designed to deny minorities access to power and wealth.
The owners reaction to anthem kneeling and player protests have exposed the majority of them as racist and oppressive in nature. The comments behind closed doors and blackballing of Colin Kaepernick made it clear that NFL owners do have an agenda. Ive been told numerous times by people of color that the NFL doesnt care if you’re white, black, blue or purple. As long as a player can help a team win, ownership will bring him in.
Here is video of the majority of Texans players kneeling during the National Anthem. https://t.co/RnrsgaFO1k
That theory has been shot to smithereens since Kaepernick took that knee in 2016. NFL owners surely have a fear of a black planet. Head coaches of color seem to scare the hell out of them too.
All theyre really giving us is the bare minimum, so in the spirit of the struggle, which is still very real to those paying attention, we celebrate the great 8 coaches in the NFL. Its a number NFL owners seem unwilling to exceed when it comes to giving a minority head coach control and making him the face of an NFL franchise
Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers): The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Years been winning games with Cam Newton at the helm for the last eight years. He has a 64-47 record and has been to a Super Bowl. Hes one of the few minority coaches with stability and serious tenure at his job, but he needs to have a big season.
LIVE: Ron Rivera’s Press Conference heading into Week 1 https://t.co/z0gWRQsAFF
Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): Tomlin has a career record of 12467, has made the playoffs 8 of his 11 seasons at the helm and is one of two Black HCs to win a Super Bowl, along with Tony Dungy. Its still not enough for fanatics and critics who often call for his head because the Steelers dont win the Super Bowl every year. Hes coming off a 13-3 season and a Divisional Game loss to Jacksonville and jokers are still complaining.
When you look at why the Steelers haven’t won, it hasn’t been because of Mike Tomlin.” @GregJennings defends Mike Tomlin. https://t.co/RflmuVL5iB
Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals): Marvin Lewis is entering his 16th season with the Bengals and The NFLs Teflon Don defies all logic and laws when it comes to opportunity and longevity for the Black head coach. Lewis has a 125-112 career record and turned the Bengals from a downtrodden franchise into a perennial contender with the exception of the last two losing seasons. Problem is, he hasn’t won a playoff game. The second-winningest Black coach in NFL history tends to bounce back from dry spells and the Bengals wont let him go no matter how loud or how frequently Stephen A. Smith calls for his firing.
I’m still disgusted Marvin Lewis has the head coaching job in Cincy.
Hue Jackson (Cleveland Browns): Another head coach that has defied the odds and all we know about Black head coaches. Jacksons 1-31 record over the last two season would have gotten Bear Bryant fired, but the Browns obviously believe in him and his vision. Lets hope that it will come into focus this season.
Hue Jackson: “I’ve got to do my job better than I’ve ever done it before.” https://t.co/JbNjmSuvv4
Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos): Joseph was on the chopping block after one, miserable, quarterback-strapped losing season in Denver, but John Elway decided to take the blame, improve the roster and give Joseph another crack at winning more than 5 games.
One question before jumping on the Broncos bandwagon. Do you trust the man (Vance Joseph) driving this bus? https://t.co/egxO9YuQNk by @markkiszla
Anthony Lynn (San Diego Chargers): Lynn proved to be the real deal as he led the Chargers to a winning record and 1 game behind Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West and just short of the playoffs. A natural progression for the second-year coach is leading LA to its first playoff appearance since 2013 and giving an aging Phillip Rivers one last shot at an elusive Super Bowl.
@Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn talks Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon & the helmet rule: https://t.co/S9UCPYTZTc
Todd Bowles (New York Jets): Its put up or shut up time for Bowles who finally has his franchise quarterback in rookie Sam Darnold. After going 10-6 in his first year as Jets coach in 2015, Bowles has endured two 5-11 seasons and his performance this year will dictate his long-term future with the Jets.
Todd Bowles: “I’m not here to collect a check. I’m not here to go 8-8. I’m here to try to get to the Super Bowl” https://t.co/jbV21jMGLw
Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals): Wilks was a surprise hire for the Arizona Cardinals in January. The rookie coach has been an NFL assistant since 2006 and served on the Panthers staff for the past six seasons.
Welcome to Arizona, Coach Wilks! MORE: https://t.co/Gc6rffTPVv #BeRedSeeRed
He began his coaching career at Johnson C. Smith University in 1995. Since 2012, Wilks’ first season as Carolina’s secondary coach, the Panthers were sixth in the NFL with 96 interceptions. His 4-3 defense was known to blitz the quarterback early and often.