From the perspective of the objective of facilitating diversity in the coaching and managerial ranks in the National Football League, there is no other word that can be used to describe the previous two hiring cycles than simply, failure. The number of minority head coaches was cut in half during that time, and there were only two new hires—one being the hiring of a minority head coach who had just been fired. Andrew Berry was the only minority hire among general managerial ranks, which is far less diverse than even the head coaching role.
The league has sought for years to find ways to try to incentivize organizations to give more opportunities for advancement to people of color in these fields, and earlier this week, the owners approved a new proposal that has this in mind.
Specifically, the intention it to reward organizations for developing minorities who go on to be hired as head coaches and general managers with other organizations. If, for example, the Kansas City Chiefs were to lose Eric Bieniemy to another team for a head-coaching opportunity in 2021, they would be compensated for it. If the Pittsburgh Steelers were to watch another team hire Brandon Hunt or Omar Khan to be their general manager, they would be compensated for it.
And specifically, that compensation would be a third-round compensatory draft pick for two consecutive drafts. If a team loses both a coach and an executive to head coaching and general managerial opportunities, it would receive three compensatory third-round draft picks over three consecutive drafts in total.
There is a stipulation, however, which is that the hire must remain employed by the new club for a minimum of two years. So one-and-done coaches wouldn’t count. The idea is, of course, to promote quality individuals, and to incentivize organizations to develop them.
And obviously, it does one organization no benefit to help another organization net two third-round picks, so if they do make a hire, it will be because they believe that he is qualified. In a sense, that could actually disincentivize teams from making such hires, but the incentive for teams to develop worthy candidates would outweigh that.
As has been established by now, there are certain common avenues through which, for example, head coaching candidates are found. They are typically offensive coordinators or quarterbacks coaches, and few minorities are found in these roles around the league.
If you improve the pipeline and give more minorities the opportunities to grow in these fields, the logic would suggest that it would produce more worthy candidates. After all, how many times can we keep retreading on the Mike McCarthys of the league?