This week, six coaches were fired. Two of the six are Black. With only three Black coaches before this week, that has caught the attention of many, including the group responsible for promoting the hiring and retention of minority coaches and executives.
“The recent dismissals of Brian Flores and David Culley is a disappointment given efforts to increase the representation of Black coaches as Head Coaches in the NFL,” Rod Graves, executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon. “The fact that we stand today with only one Black Head Coach makes clear that the current system does not provide a sustainable pathway for the growth in numbers of minorities as Head Coaches.
“For many, the time for progress is now. With eleven openings, the NFL has an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to diversity of leadership. We hope that our increased involvement as partners with the NFL will have an immediate and long-term impact on the system of hiring and evaluating leadership performance.”
The eleven openings are eight coaches and three General Managers. For now, it appears that teams are engaging in thorough searches that comply with the letter and spirit of the Rooney Rule.
Ultimately, that often doesn’t matter. Teams will hire who they want to hire. As one source with knowledge of past hiring process estimated earlier today to PFT, owners know roughly 70 to 80 percent of the time upon firing a coach the identity of his replacement.
This year, it may be different. This year, it seems as if teams are entering the process without a clear ending point and working backward. Whether that results a real uptick in diverse hiring practices remains to be seen.