“NFL Coaching–Who You Hire-Why Hire You Them?”
NFL owners meet today via Video Conference to discuss radical changes to how the NFL does its business.
No, it’s not instant replay, it’s not, pass interference rules, or a change in free agency.
It’s about who they hire for job, or more so, how they hire for who they hire for the important jobs in the teams front office and on the sidelines.
The Rooney Rule, a protocol for interviewing minorities, will be radically upgraded.
Roger Goodell and the NFL are proposing an increase in minority applicants to be interviewed, for every top level job in the NFL.
They want interviews for minorities and women for President and CEO of NFL teams.
They want minorities now interviewed for each GM job opening…something never done before.
They are expanding the interview pool. Now for every head coaching opening, there must be two minorities interviewed.
For the first time ever, teams must interview a minority when hiring any of the 3-coordinator positions on a team, and for hiring a QB-coach also.
But the NFL is taking all this a step further, by adding bonus draft picks for teams that hire an African American for any of those key positions. Teams can get 3rd-4th-or 5th round compensation picks, or can move up in the 3rd round of the draft.
It seems a shame bribery has to be part of the hiring practice.
The Rooney Rule went into effect in 2003, and is has opened the door for candidates to have the right to tell the owners about themselves.
But as times changed, it was feared that blacks became token interviews, and that owners were going to hire whom they wanted, whom they knew, whom they felt comfortable with.
Red Flags went up and alarms were sounded over the last two years, when just one African American was hired for the 13-NFL head openings over the 2019-2020 off seasons.
The scoreboard shows there are just four minority head coaches now in the NFL. Just 2-black General Managers. Just 2-minority Offensive Coordinators. Just 2-black Quarterback coaches.
Is this a bad trend happening, or has the supply of veteran candidates been depleted. In the 16-years since legendary Steelers owner Dan Rooney implored the league to mandate interviews for minorities, 14-black head coaches have been hired since the Rooney Rule began.
The greatest modern day black head coaches were Tony Dungy of the Colts and Buccaneers, who was (139-68). He pioneered minority hirings on his staff and his coaching tree spread far and wide with staff members getting head coaching jobs.
The late Dennis Green was (119-94) in tours of duty with Minnesota and Arizona, and he too made sure the doors were open on his staffs for blacks.
Beyond that, the progressive Al Davis had Art Shell (56-52) and backing the day Tom Flores, but that was decades ago..
Marvin Lewis had a long run in Cincinnati (112-92-2).
Mike Tomlin (111-63) is pre-eminent in his field in Pittsburgh. Ron Rivera has gone from Carolina to Washington. Brian Flores is in the early stage of his career in Miami. Anthony Lynn has had success and failure with the Chargers.
Many think the next in line will be Eric Bieniemy of the Chiefs and Byron Leftwich of the Buccaneers. But there is little after that.
But things change. Since 2016, in a 4-year cycle, there have been 23-NFL head coaching changes, but few quality hires. What’s happened, why it’s happened.
Some say owners will hire those they know, likely white. Some hire those they are comfortable with, likely white again.
But maybe there is another reason.
So many were hired, and failed badly. Are owners supposed to keep head coaches with losing records, just because of the color of their skin? I think not.
Look at those given a chance, that did not work out.
..Marvin Lewis-Bengals…(0-7) in playoffs.
..Hue Jackson-Browns.. (3-36-1)
..Vance Jackson-Broncos.. (11-21)
..Todd Bowles-Jets.. (14-34)
..Jim Caldwell-Lions…no playoff wins..(26-63) Wake Forest
..Lovie Smith-Tampa Bay.. (8-24) at end of his run
..Mike Singletary-49ers.. (18-22)
..Romeo Crennell… (28-55)
..Raheem Morris-Tampa Bay… (17-31)
..Leslie Frazier-Miam… (21-31)
They met the same fate as other guys, Mike McCoy, Dave Wannstedt, Bill Callahan, Jeff Fisher. You don’t win, you are gone.
What is the difference then between white-and-black. It’s all wins and losses.
They were all hot coordinators, but that does not necessarily mean they would be good head coaches. Oddly enough 70-percent of the coordinators hired for openings in the last 3-years are minorities, so the next wave may be in the pipeline.
Anthony Lynn, the Chargers coach said this weekend…’Sometimes trying to do the right thing-you do the wrong thing’. He is not in favor of draft pick compensation, just like he’s not in favor of quotas on staffs either. Best man, right man, man I feel comfortable with, man I know something about.
Tony Dungy has expressed concern a move like this would create an uncomfortable situation for assistant coaches, and says it could create unintended consequences.
Much has been made about what the owners have allowed to happen, and what they will evaluate on Tuesday in their spring meeting.
Instead of bribing teams into hiring blacks, a more forceful set of rules should be in place.
I want black and white rules. Teams must interview Blacks for every position coaching job on a staff when that job opens. The only way to find out about minority coaches is if you get to know them thru the interview process.
I like two black candidate interviews for head coaching jobs; mandates to interview a minority for each of the 3-coordinator positions and the QB-coaching job.
I take it a step further. Each team must hire a minority to be a key coordinator’s assistant. More than just a fellowship job, but a key growth position. Not just guys from the NFL, but former players, and top minorities from the college ranks, which opens the pool more.
Tell me a minority wouldn’t gain great value from seasons under Josh McDaniels or Bill Belicheck, Sean McVay or Andy Reid?.
So what if it costs an owner 3-more payroll slots for entry-level positions of responsibility. The head coach grooms the assistant coordinators and those names become someone’s hot candidates a couple of years from now.
You cannot tell Dean Spanos, Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, Stan Kroenke whom to hire. But you can show him a bigger list of viable candidates they will have to consider the next time they have a job.
And the Fritz Pollard Alliance should import Dungy to oversee the growth of minority applicants. He’s done so much good in the NFL, for a defensive back, turned assistant coach, turned head coach, turned Super Bowl winner, turned TV star.
What better man to head this next step in the well meaning Rooney Rule?
The Rooney Rule didn’t fail. It just went thru a rush hiring of coaches who did not work out.
Next time maybe they get it right with a bigger list to choose from.