Saturday, October 1, 2022

Mike Preston: With so many vacancies in the NFL, it’s time to hire more black coaches | A COMMENT

Mike Preston: With so many vacancies in the NFL, it's time to hire more black coaches | A COMMENT

Black coaches are good enough to be coordinators in the NFL, but not head coaches. This is the message the league is sending, hoping it will change this year.

Shortly after the regular season ended on January 9, there were eight vacancies, leaving Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only black head coach among the league’s 32 teams. Since then, there have been rumors about who would be hired and who was interviewed, but at this time of year, that’s a common thing.

And then no black coach will be hired.

Almost as tiresome is the repetitive phrase about “why do teams have to hire black coaches? Why don’t they just hire the best candidate for the job?”

In theory, this sounds good, but perhaps this question should be asked to the owners. Did former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and current Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rule have more professional experience than Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles and Buffalo’s Leslie Fraser?

Really?

The last time we checked, the Bills had the No. 1 defense in the NFL, followed by the Buccaneers, who put together a pattern that everyone copied after Tampa Bay nearly beat the Kansas City Chiefs. with a score of 31–9 in the NF Super Bowl. a year ago. Coincidentally, the Chiefs’ power offensive coordinator, Eric Biniemi, is black. Other black candidates include Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, and former NFL coaches Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis.

If Dallas Cowboys fire coach Mike McCarthy and the Arizona Cardinals get rid of Cliff Kingsbury, there could be up to 10 vacancies in the league. It would be embarrassing if it weren’t for a few new black coaches, but league owners don’t care. They circumvented the “Rooney rule” which requires the team to interview at least two external minority candidates for the head coach position and one for the coordinator position. They have no interest in giving the opposing team another draft pick for hiring a minority candidate from a rival organization. Very rarely have teams hired a black coach for a second term (see Art Shell, Marvin Lewis).

Since the Rooney Rule was introduced in 2003, only 27 of 127 head coaching positions (21%) have been filled by minorities, according to the Associated Press.

The owners of the NFL are still a thriving network of “good old guys”. Most of them have only one concern, and that is money. Take a look around the league. Usually the same five or six teams win consistently because they care as much about winning as they do about profits. Many owners need the CEO type, which is why NFL coaches seem to be getting younger. They believe in analytics and care more about what’s happening on social media than what’s in a textbook.

Most of them also turned out to be white.

This isn’t to say that some black coaches don’t fit those descriptions; they are just a different color. The mainstream media play a role too, often advertising assistant coaches because they share the same agent. Few coordinators have gained more prominence in recent times than Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

NFL players talk about the hiring mismatch all the time because 70% percent of the league is black. According to recently released statistics, 3,798 of the league’s 5,177 coaches and staff are minorities.

However, there is only one black head coach right now.

There were three until the Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores after a second consecutive winning season, and the Houston Texans fired David Calley just a year later, despite the former Ravens assistant returning respectability to the franchise in a turmoil.

Both of these coaches are set to be candidates this year, along with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, New England Patriots linebacker coach Jerod Mayo, Cowboys defensive line coach Aden Derde, and Buccaneers linebacker coach Larry Foote. Bienemi led one of the best offenses in the NFL for four seasons, but teams still refuse to hire him. Levwich was not very popular until quarterback Tom Brady arrived in Tampa Bay. So, was it more Brady or more Levvich?

Despite this, there are more than enough black candidates to fill all these open head coach positions.

But then again, this is the NFL. Anything can happen on any Sunday. Except that the sideline has a black coach.

Nation World News Desk
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