Rod Broadway Never Got The Chance That He Truly Deserved

Chicago Bears fans ought to know the name of Rod Broadway.  

Broadway, the coach of North Carolina A&T, who retired after posting an undefeated season in 2017, was the man who gave do-it-all Bears running back Tarik Cohen his only scholarship offer coming out of high school.

It only took a couple visits to his high school to realize the type of person that he was, Broadway once  said. It took only a couple practices to realize he was a special talent.

No doubt the Bears were trash this season, and have been for a very long time. After all, the other major sports teams in town (Cubs, Blackhawks, White Sox) have won championships in recent memory. Meanwhile,the Bears, one of the NFLs charter franchises, are a laughingstock. 

Having said that, one of the bright spots of the season was watching Tarik Cohen, who had some of the most breathtaking runs Bears fans had seen since Devin Hester was dubbed the Windy City Flyer by a local broadcaster. 

The Human Joystick || North Carolina A&T RB Tarik Cohen Highlights

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scotttakade/ ( click show more ) Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/ScottTakade JBP on IG: https://www.instagram.com/justbombsproductions/ North Carolina A&T RB Tarik Cohen Senior 5’6 179 lbs Check out my backup channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT48sLMEjRc40Ts-cm70E3w Intro & Outro song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k1FRzJn5VI (All rights go to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, ESPN, xosdigitalsports, North Carolina A&T Athletics, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), MEAC Digital Network, Universal Music Group, the NCAA & it’s broadcasters.

Not many folks outside our communities know what the SWAC and the MEAC conferernces are. A few years ago, I covered a press conference for the Chicago Football Classic, an annual game at Soldier Field, the home of the Bears. 

Morgan State and Howard played that year. A friend who worked at the Chicago Sun-Times asked me a few questions about Black College Football since I went to Hampton University, an HBCU that recently left the MEAC and became a member of the Big South conference. 

Coaches like Broadway know that his roster will only have a couple of guys that could possibly sniff the NFL. His record at A&T and other places hes coached shows that he can make a dollar out of 15 cents. Remember what Smokeys mom told him in Friday when he said she didnt give him enough money when she sent him to the store? She told him, “Make it enough. 

Broadway did just that and got the best out of his players. 

Lets unpackage Broadways time at A&T. 

He took over a program that was mired in NCAA sanctions stemming from a low graduation rate. The year before, the Aggies posted a 1-10 record. When Broadway took over, he had to change the culture. 

We hear that a lot any time an NFL coach gets hired. But when it comes to college programs with little money and low expectations, the playing field isnt as level as some might think. Due to that, Broadway had fewer scholarships to work with, reduced practice hours and limited practice time during the spring semester. After all, thats the time when teams are looking forward to the upcoming season by getting their depth charts in order. 

Like most coaches whove inherited a mess, Broadway didnt suffer fools by making excuses. He put his head down and went to work. At the presser when Broadways retirement was announced, he said as much. 

I am grateful to this great and historic university, North Carolina A&T State, for the opportunity to be its head football coach for seven years, told the assembled press corps. I am grateful to two men I hold in high esteem, chancellor Martin and athletics director Earl Hilton, for believing in me and the direction I wanted to take this program. I am grateful to the players, they have made this a wonderful experience for me and my family. I am grateful to what I consider a great coaching staff. They have conducted themselves with the utmost integrity and professionalism. And I am grateful to the very hardworking support staff we have here at North Carolina A&T.

Broadway was also a believer in how sports and community can go hand in hand. He made his players aware that they shouldnt Stick to Sports.

Before each home game, he required his players to visit the on-campus statue of four men and former A&T students – David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Joseph A. McNeil and Jibreel Khazan, formerly known as Ezell Blair, Jr. – who are crediting with having a vital role in  the modern day civil rights movement with their 1960 sit-in at a Greensboro Woolworths lunch counter. 

Being aware of your village is one thing, but Broadway knew that he needed to win in order to keep his gig, so he did just that. 

In Broadways seven seasons in Greensboro, the Aggies compiled a 47-22 with two MEAC championships, the Black College Football Championship and a win in the inaugural Celebration Bowl in Atlanta in 2015. The Aggies 2014 conference title was their first in 11 seasons. When they won the conference title again a year later,  it marked the schools first back-to-back championships since the ’91 and 92 seasons.

Along the way, the Aggies had five straight winning seasons, the program’s longest such streak since the Aggies produced six consecutive between 1996-2001. Also, 33 different players earned all-conference honors. 

Broadway turned the Aggies into a winner despite the numerous obstacles he inherited when he arrived in February of 2011.

He accomplished so much during his career. How does someone who played, and coached big time college football for so long not get a shot to lead to Division I program?

After all, weve seen the likes of Charlie Weis, Lane Kiffin and other white coaches leave jobs, flame out and get other jobs they probably dont deserve. Meanwhile, Broadway has turned around three struggling programs.

Perfection: A&T caps season with Celebration Bowl win

Steven J. Gaither, Wali Pitt and Tolly Carr break down North Carolina A&T’s 21-14 victory over Grambling in the 2017 Celebration Bowl from Atlanta, Georgia. This post is sponsored by Subject 2 Change Custom Apparel.

It is well-documented that black coaches dont get the opportunities of their white counterparts, which is why the Rooney Rule in the NFL instituted. Also, the rule which was supposed to level the playing field for black coaches, was no more than an elaborate rouse in order to make it look like the teams are complying.

It had to eat at Broadway to see so many coaches with less experience than him get jobs, lose them and regain them. That alone would make most men bitter. Broadway and other HBCU coaches are often left with making due with what theyre given.

Broadways story reminds me of the guys in the Negro Leagues. Even though they were just as good, or possibly better than most players in the Major Leagues, they werent allowed to play. 

Both Broadway and many of the Negro Leaguers never got the shot they deserved. However,those that know…know.

When Bears general manager Ryan Pace drafted Tarik Cohen, many fans and observers made the comparison to Darren Sproles, another jack of all trades type of player that was game changer, from Paces time as a scout with the New Orleans. 

And Paces reputation is on the line by picking a player from an HBCU so high in the draft. After all, the last HBCU running back the Bears drafted, Walter Payton, turned out alright. 

Thanks to Rod Broadways eye for talent, the Bears owe him one. 

Maybe a Super Bowl ring one day? 

Only time will tell.