One of the most contentious topics every offseason concerns the hiring cycles for head coach positions. Every year, typically between four to eight or more head coaches are fired, and they naturally have to be replaced by other candidates.
Increasingly, those candidacies have been filled almost exclusively by white candidates, to the point where the population of minority head coaches in one offseason was halved from eight to four. With five firings, including one minority head coach, this offseason still presents only four, including said minority head coach, Ron Rivera, who has one of the best resumes among all head coaches in football today.
The Carolina Panthers let Rivera go and replaced him with Matt Rhule. Pat Shurmer with the New York Giants was replaced with Joe Judge. The Cleveland Browns went from Freddie Kitchens to Kevin Stefanski, while the Dallas Cowboys replaced Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy. Rivera was hired by Washington, the only hire who was a head coach in 2019.
The other three minority head coaches are Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers,, Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins. Flores was only hired last year, Lynn about three years ago. Tomlin and Rivera are the only one of meaningful tenure, and Rivera is of course now with a different organization.
This latest wave has been a hot topic, to the point where Art Rooney II, the Steelers’ president, went out of his way to appear on NFL Network earlier this offseason to talk about the failings of the Rooney Rule and the need for change. Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked to address the same issue yesterday:
Yes, it’s clear we are not where we want to be on this level. We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule, but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different. There’s no reason to expect that we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes, and we’ve already begun engaging in those changes, not just with our diversity committee, not just with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but others and trying to figure out what steps we can take next that would lead to better outcomes. It’s clear we’re all committed to doing that and we have to make those changes. We will have a series of meetings which we’ve already scheduled, clearly, over the next month to get that kind of dialogue going, to continue the dialogue and try to determine what are the solutions so we can have those better outcomes.
Basically, from the sounds of it, expect there to be some form of change made by the time the next hiring cycle surfaces.