The coaching carousel has stopped spinning, and it resulted in only one minority head coaching hire — Ron Rivera. (And some wouldn’t consider that one a minority hire, but we’re definitely not getting into that particular debate here.) In the weeks that have followed, there have been scores of staff hirings across the league, offensive coordinators swapped and fired and then rehired somewhere else. The NFL is nothing if not incestuous, so it’s no surprising that losers like Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo have either been given or interviewed for jobs.
What is surprising is that this is yet another offseason in which not a single minority was hiring to be an offensive coordinator. In the year of our Lord 2020, Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy and Bucs OC Byron Leftwich remain the only African-American offensive playcallers in the entire league, and there are only three black coaches in the NFL; San Diego’s Anthony Lynn, Pittsburg’s Mike Tomlin, and Miami’s Brian Flores.
It’s shocking in and of itself that Bieniemy not only wasn’t hired as a head coach in the NFL, in a league where a New England Patriots assistant no one had ever heard of tripped dick first into a head coaching in one of the NFL’s biggest markets for reasons that seem to begin and end with “Bill Belichick said he was ready” and “Matt Rhule played us to get more money from the Panthers”. Bieniemy was the captain of the ship during the Patrick Mahomes’ MVP run, and got solid performances out of Matt Moore when Mahomes was hurt this year, even though Moore was coming out of retirement.
There’s been some scuttlebutt that the reason Bieniemy hasn’t gotten more play is because he never called plays, which seems dubious, given that Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson and Frank Reich all managed to snag head coaching gigs even though everyone knew Reid was the primary playcaller. But that just goes to show you the curve that white coaches are graded on compared to their African-American counterparts, and the total dearth of black offensive coordinators compounds that.
The NFL’s player base is roughly 70% black; it’s got three black coaches and two black offensive coordinators. That is pretty fuckin’ gross if you ask me.
For anyone wondering why the Rooney Rule is 1.) necessary and 2.) desperately needs revising, this is it. It certainly seems as if Bienemy wasn’t really interviewed on the merits of his resume and ability to lead a franchise, but merely for the NFL’s cabal of white owners to satisfy the rule and move onto the white guy they want to hire next. This is a lesson that extends to America; if you don’t institute a rule (or a law) that forces white people in positions of power to consider hiring a black person over a white person, they simply won’t do it. And if you don’t set a rule wherein they have to hire a minority, they just won’t do it at all.
The line keeps on moving, and it’s not fair. The Eagles have spent an offseason scrambling to get a new offensive coordinator, seemingly hesitant to just give the job to Duce Staley; ironic, since Staley holds the title of assistant head coach. Still, Staley only holds the title of running backs coach, and will still have to interview for the job.
The NFL has a million problems that make it hard to watch. The fact that the NFL seems unwilling to do even the barest of bare minimums to alleviate this legitimate crisis is disappointing, and will only encourage less minorities to even try to enter the coaching ranks.
In other, completely unrelated news, Jason Garrett was given the job of offensive coordinator of the Giants after failing to get Dallas into the Super Bowl and failing to develop and take Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to the next level. He was hired by a guy that basically no one knew of and had heard of until he was given the job. So yeah, anyone claiming the NFL is a meritocracy is talking out of their ass.