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Hiring minority coaches within the NFL comes all the way down to owners



FILE – Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is shown before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. Bieniemy remains to be waiting to land a head coaching job after interviewing with 14 teams during the last 4 years. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


Irrespective of how much the NFL pushes teams to rent minority coaches, owners have the ultimate say.

The league established the Rooney Rule in 2003 and has expanded it several times over time to encourage teams to rent more minority coaches. It began the Quarterback Coaching Summit in 2018 to create more opportunities for lots of those coaches.

Earlier this 12 months, the NFL implemented an initiative that requires all 32 clubs to employ a girl or a member of an ethnic or racial minority to function an offensive assistant coach.

In May, the league launched an accelerator program, bringing 60 minority coaches and executives to Atlanta to fulfill with owners in brief sessions in order that they can get acquainted.

There’s been progress. After just three Black coaches were hired from 2018-21, three Black coaches were hired within the last cycle. There are six minorities in head coaching positions now: Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Houston’s Lovie Smith and Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles, who’re Black; Miami’s Mike McDaniel, who’s biracial; the Jets’ Robert Saleh, who’s of Lebanese heritage; and Washington’s Ron Rivera, who’s Hispanic.

Also, three of the five openings for general manager following last season were filled by minorities, bringing the overall to eight minority GMs.

Still, many people need to see improvement, especially following Brian Flores’ lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.

Led by Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice chairman of football operations, and Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice chairman of diversity, equity and inclusion, the league is doing its part to extend opportunities. But everyone knows it comes all the way down to owners making the choices.

“It’s not about forcing anyone to rent anyone. It’s about exposing good coaches to those that make the calls,” Vincent said.


Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is most frequently mentioned as a deserving candidate who hasn’t landed a head coaching job. Bieniemy has a powerful resume, leadership qualities and robust endorsements from Chiefs coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He has interviewed 15 times with 14 teams over the past 4 years but remains to be waiting for a team to provide him the prospect. He doesn’t blame the NFL.

“They’ve done an excellent job of putting that together,” Bieniemy said of the annual Quarterback Coaching Summit. “Each 12 months, I’ve been an increasing number of impressed.”

Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier remains to be waiting for a second opportunity to change into a head coach after going 21-32-1 with the Vikings nearly a decade ago.

“The league with Commissioner (Roger) Goodell and the work Troy Vincent is doing together with his staff, I feel there are those that try to advance the situation, but at the top of the day, it still comes back to ownership,” Frazier said. “I don’t know if the league can do a complete lot greater than just proceed to do programs like Quarterback Summit to organize guys and have them in position and hopefully someone will give them a chance. I used to be so impressed with the variety of young candidates which are on the market which are greater than able to in the future becoming coordinators in our league, becoming quarterback coaches in our league, becoming head coaches in our league. It’s only a matter of somebody giving them a chance to point out that they will lead a team.”


Bieniemy was impressed with the accelerator program in May. He’s hopeful it’ll prove to be a constructing block.

“One thing owners are going to do, they’re going to rent who they need to hire,” Bieniemy said. “They need to hire the very best candidate. I assumed on the accelerator program that they did a terrific job. It gave coaches like myself and a number of those that are behind the scenes who’re in personnel or doing various things on this industry, it gave us a chance to attach with people. It also gave us a chance, a front seat, just to sit down and have a traditional conversation with owners.

“And, I assumed that was a terrific deal because when it’s all said and done, you ought to make certain that you simply’re comfortable with the those that you’re working with. I assumed they did a terrific job of just creating an environment at that accelerator program where everyone felt comfortable. Now, I’m still going to re-evaluate who I’m. Yes, owners are going to rent who they decide to hire. My job is to make certain that I may be the very best candidate that’s ready when that individual moment strikes.”


Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi and his work may be found at https://apnews.com/search/robmaaddi


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