Black NFL Coaches By The Numbers
Two promising coaches got fired in the last two weeks
With the NFL playoffs kicking into high gear, there will be some notable absences from the sidelines this week. For the first time in a while, there won't be any African American head coaches entering the second week of the post season. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis were the only two brothas to make it into the post season and both of them lost last week. On top of that, since the 2011 NFL regular season ended, two African American NFL head coaches were given the pink slip, with whispers of unfairness rearing their ugly heads again.
Going into this week's games, Loop 21 wanted to break down the recent fates of black NFL coaches, by the numbers.
As of this very moment, there are seven African American coaches in the 32-team NFL. Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is the longest tenured holding the post for 10 seasons. Miami Dolphins coach Todd Bowles is the shortest tenured as he was named interim coach after the team fired Tony Sparano with three weeks left in the 2011 season. At one point there were nine black coaches until...
Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson was fired this week after just one year on the job. He took control over a team who's front office was in disarray, owner just died, had to bring an old quarterback out of retirement to replace their starter and still managed to miss the playoffs by just one game after they lost their final game of the season. In all fairness, he was fired by new General Manager Reggie McKenzie, who is also a brotha. Guess somebody is moving up at least.
A week before that Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris was fired after three years on the job. In 2010, he led the team to a 10-6 record, barely missing the playoffs and giving the franchise their best season-to-season turnaround in history. Unfortunately, the young coach seemed to lose control of the team as they closed the 2011 season with a 10-game losing streak and a 4-12 record. He has since been hired by the Washington Redskins as a defensive backs coach.
Over the last six years, the plight of the black NFL coach seemed to be taking some strides. In 2006, when the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, we saw Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith make history as they became the first pair of black coaches to face each other in the championship game. In the five years after that a black coach appeared in four Super Bowls, with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appearing in two himself.
In fairness, there is another "4" that should be noted. Four other non-black NFL coaches were also fired this year, so that means the axe swung across color lines. While the number of black coaches could always improve, it looks as if black coaches have reached that point where Chris Rock joked black quarterbacks reached years ago. There's enough of them in the league now to where they can actually afford to be bad.
BONUS: If you've never seen blogger Jay Smooth's tribute to Black Coaches, treat yourself.