Brian Flores Named Finalist for Arizona Cardinals Head Coaching Job | Is This Just Smoke And Mirrors?

Brian Flores has been linked to three different job openings now as a finalist. The Arizona Cardinals named Flores a finalist along with Lou Anarumo and Mike Kafka. The Cardinals announced the news after Sean Payton, one of their top candidates, went to the Broncos in a trade last week. DeMeco Ryans, Frank Reich, and Dan Quinn were among the other top candidates.

Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL last year after he felt he was wrongfully fired by the Dolphins. He also is a finalist for the Vikings defensive coordinator and Broncos defensive coordinator jobs.

How Does Flores Stack Up Against the Other Candidates?

Kafka started his NFL journey with the Chiefs in various roles for five seasons. The 35-year-old spent last season as the resurgent Giants’ offensive coordinator. The Giants offense didn’t knock anyone’s socks off, but the way they were able to get the most out of Daniel Jones was the most impressive thing.

Anarumo’s 11-year NFL coaching career began in 2012 when he served as the defensive backs coach for the Dolphins. He also had a short stint as interim defensive coordinator in 2015 for the Dolphins. He spent one season as defensive backs coach in 2018 with the Giants. The past four seasons he has served as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator and has been instrumental in their quick turnaround over the past two seasons. The Bengals have reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games and reached the Super Bowl in 2022.

Flores is the only one of the three finalists with head coaching experience. Last season, he served as the the linebackers coach for the Steelers. He plans to meet for his second interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday. He also has meetings with the Broncos and Vikings lined up for this week.

Black Candidates for Other Openings

Ryans was recently hired as the Texans head coach and if Flores lands the Cardinals, then that will make two hires of black candidates this offseason in the NFL. There are still plenty of other black candidates that the trail has gone cold for.

Raheem Morris worked his way through the ranks with the Buccaneers and spent three years as their head coach from 2009-11. In 2020, he was the interim head coach for the Falcons after Dan Quinn was fired. Since, it seems like he hasn’t had a real chance of landing another head coaching gig. He interviewed for the Colts head coaching position but did not land it.

Pep Hamilton was once considered one of the brightest, upcoming offensive minds in the NFL. Now, the Howard grad has bounced around and as never been elevated past an offensive coordinator role in the NFL.

Eric Bieniemy has been a on the hot list for the past few offseasons as one of the top head coaching candidates and still hasn’t been hired. He has interviewed with several teams more than once for their head coaching vacancies in different hiring cycles. Many have speculated that because he doesn’t call plays for the Chiefs and is under Andy Reid’s umbrella that it has diminished his chances at getting a head coaching job.

Leslie Frazier, Jerod Mayo, Byron Leftwich, and Lovie Smith are also still on the market as quality head coaching candidates. These men have all been interviewed, some more than others, but have yet to land anything. NFL observers are giving the same tired excuse of “the owners can’t relate to black candidates”. It is getting old and should simply come down to if they can do the job or not. The NFL is not lacking quality Black candidates but are simply ignoring them even. The Rooney Rule can never change the way Black people are viewed in the NFL or the world.

 

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