Top 5 Black NFL Coaches/Coordinators | Mike Tomlin Continues To Be The Standard

1.Mike Tomlin | Teflon Tom Keeps Putting In Work

Pittsburgh Steelers HNIC

Whenever you do a list of top five Black NFL coaches it undoubtedly has to start with Mike Tomlin, who was a mentee of the legendary Tony Dungy, the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

Tomlin beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII (2008 season), becoming the second Black head coach to win an NFL title He’s the only one to appear in multiple Super Bowls. At just 49 years old, the Hampton, Virginia, product is considered a wily veteran of the pro coaching business.

Motivator, Astute Leader

Known for his advanced defensive principles, Tomlin’s strengths lie in his ability to lead and motivate. Once criticized as a coach who was just fortunate to work for a “great organization,” Tomlin has recently over-achieved with undermanned and turmoil-ridden Steelers teams. Look no further than this season’s 5-3 squad with an aging Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.

Tomlin’s the tenth African-American head coach in NFL history, and he will probably end up being considered the best one when he’s done. In 15 seasons, Tomlin’s never had a losing season, he’s made the playoffs nine times, and he’s a remarkable 150-81-1 (.649) as a head coach heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Lions.

2. Byron Leftwich | Don’t Sleep On The Technique

Tampa Bay Bucs OC

Choosing between Byron Leftwich and Eric Bieniemy was hard. Bieniemy is a key contributor to Patrick Mahomes’ MVP rise in the NFL. But Leftwich created an entire offense that incorporated what Tom Brady is comfortable executing with the wide-open style the Bucs are accustomed to under Bruce Arians.

Bruce Arians admitted that Leftwich controls the entire offense in Tampa Bay. His innovative play calls in the passing and run game were something most didn’t know he had in his arsenal. The use of his tight ends is second to none. Leftwich will make a fine head coach one day.

3. Eric Bieniemy | If You Don’t Know Me By Now…

Kansas City Chiefs OC

Eric Bieniemy has been an outstanding play-caller in guiding the Chiefs’ offense the past four seasons with Patrick Mahomes at the controls. Innovation is his nickname, and he isn’t afraid to take chances. His best asset is his third down and situational play calls.

Players enjoy the former college football star’s leadership, even though he is very demanding. The big mystery around the NFL is why Bieniemy hasn’t been hired as a head coach yet. It’s hard to top what he’s already accomplished.

4. Brian Flores | A QB Away

Miami Dolphins HC

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is known as a defensive guru. Who can forget his game plan in Super Bowl 53 — as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots — where he held the Rams and Sean McVay’s offense to three points.

His blitz disguising has always been good, and he showed that last season as the “Fins” wreaked havoc on opponents en route to a 10-win season.

His ceiling is high as a head coach once he locks down his quarterback of the next decade. The franchise is still on the fence about Tua Tagovailoa.

5. David Culley| Mission Impossible

Houston Texans HC

The backstory behind David Culley’s incremental rise to head coach is still a mystery to most people, who probably wouldn’t fault the rookie coach if he lost every game this season with a talent-defunct roster and Deshaun Watson just chilling.

The Texans have managed to win just one of nine games with Culley stalking the sidelines.

 

When the Texans hired David Culley most folks went “who?” With 43 years of experience in the NFL and college, his best attribute would have to be just that — experience.

Culley is known as an offensive mind, very organized and meticulous in his planning, but never a HC, DC or OC coordinator until now.

The 66-year-old did his best work as the passing game coordinator with the Ravens (2019-20), as Lamar Jackson led the league in passing touchdowns with 33.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.