They don’t all come from offense, but all of the head coaching hires so far in this year’s cycle have something in common.
And the watchdog group that promotes minority candidates to the NFL and provides lists of qualified candidates admits it didn’t expect to be 0-for-6 at the moment.
Via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten said the pattern so far has been stark.
“I’m very much aware of that, yes,” Wooten said. “The thing we’re looking at, I’ll be very open and frank with you, I’m very much surprised at some of the hirings that have been done so far. Like anything else, different people like different things, so that’s what you have to deal with.
“However, I feel that the searches in all places, they had diversity of interviews. You said, which we’re all aware, no minorities have been hired. We hope some will be.”
The Dolphins and Bengals still have openings, and both have interviewed minority candidates as the rest of them did. Wooten made it clear the decisions of others didn’t put any pressure on the two teams with vacancies, but he’s holding out hope. He’s also as surprised as a lot of people that the Cardinals hired fired Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, and wasn’t expecting Adam Gase to be recycled so quickly to the Jets.
“Let me put it to you this way,” Wooten said, “we thought there would be probably four [minority] possibilities particular teams would go for. The surprise, if you could call it that, was the Arizona hiring. That was a little bit surprising. I think what they were trying to do was, everybody wants the quarterback whisperer, right? There’s a lot of talk about the new offenses and so forth even though these offenses are not new in this league.
“The other situation I was a little bit surprised in was the Jets hiring. Because when I sit and look at the fact Brian Flores coming out of New England. New England has dominated the AFC East over there. And Brian Flores would probably know about the Jets more than anybody.”
Wooten was careful to say he thought Gase was a good coach, which is true.
But the problem remains systemic. With the majority of head coaching hires going to offensive assistants, and the vast majority of those jobs being held by non-minorities, the lack of options in the pipeline will only exacerbate what is already a significant problem.