Matt Patricia’s Job Security Reinforces NFL’s Racial Double Standard

The latest example of Black NFL head coaches being held to a higher standard than their white counterparts.

With the eminent firing of some young, African-American coaches on the horizon, the NFL’s annual Black Monday will take on a more literal meaning this season.

The league could be left with just three African-American coaches.  The premature possible firings of Steve Wilks, Vance Joseph and Todd Bowles, and former Cleveland HC Hue Jackson after 2.5 seasons, will be justified by the fact that they lost more games than they won.

However, with such a small sample size (only Bowles has lasted more than two seasons) they didn’t get a true opportunity to build a team with winning pieces.

The criticism is fair, but it’s not color blind.

Shannon Sharpe inferred that much on FS1’s “Undisputed” when he blasted Detroit’s rookie head coach Matt Patricia for announcing that he’d be maintaining his job after a litany of blunders and lapses in leadership during a rocky 5-10 rookie campaign .

Sharpe contrasted Patricia’s clusterfunk to former head coach Jim Caldwell’s class, leadership and winning record (112-62) with a Super Bowl appearance and four playoff appearances in seven years as Colts and Lions HC.


Caldwell was fired coming off of two 9-7 seasons and has just two losing campaigns in his career. He had a better record in his four-year tenure than any Lions coach in the last 60 years. 

Those justifying the NFL’s obvious quick hook with African-American coaches labeled Caldwell with the same negative description as Marvin Lewis; “He can’t win the big game.”  

To my knowledge, no other head coach besides Bill Belichick has consistently won the big game in the past decade and a half. He’s won five Super Bowls since 2002 and the last 10 AFC East division titles. 

Even the hoodie, however, has had some fumbles, most notably last year’s Super Bowl loss to Philly’s Eagles and the two in which he got outcoached by former Giants HC Tom Coughlin. Other than those losses,  he’s been the master of the big game. 

A few other head coaches have been able to snatch a ring, but all of them — from Sean Payton to Mike Tomlin — lose the big game more times than not. So the standard set for Caldwell and Lewis is laughable. 

Patricia is a Belichick disciple and that’s all he has going for him. He took a talented team with a franchise QB to a 5-10 record. That’s a fireable offense, yet Patricia can come out in the media and say he’s confident he’ll be back. He gets to sleep well at night, while coaches of his ilk, but lacking his skin pigmentation, must wonder where their next opportunity will come from.


The NFL is hustling backwards again. The Rooney Rule doesn’t seem  to be working and the recent expansion of the rule to include defensive and offensive coordinators hasn’t helped increase the pipeline of African American coaches getting hired  to leadership positions in a league that’s 75 percent Black.

Get mad all you want and keep shouting Marvin Lewis as if that man didn’t build the Bengals into a respectable franchise.

We’ll keep shouting Matt Patricia and the pass he’s getting for being a debacle in his first year with Detroit. It’s a pass that Steve Wilks wouldn’t get in a million years.

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