We Are More Than Just Players

Leadership in the NFL is currently lacking minority representation


Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach

TyRel Thompson, theSCORE Editor

There is a lack of minorities in head coaching positions in the National Football League, despite the league being made up of mostly black athletes.

Due to the large population of black athletes in the NFL, that isn’t factually pertaining to head coaches. It appears black head coaches are more likely to get fired and less likely to get hired compared to their white counterparts.

The population of the National Football League is around 1700 players. Twenty-eight percent, of the 1700, tallying to 470 players, are white. Asian, Hispanic, and other racial categories make up 4.36 percent. And with a whopping 68 percent, tallying to 1,155 players, black athletes make up the majority of the sport’s population.

Although black athletes are the majority of the NFL’s population, there is still a lack of diversity when it comes to the head coaching positions. There are 32 teams in the NFL and, of those 32, only seven of are coached by black men.

Dating back to 1978, there have been 17 black head coaches to coach a team for an entire 16-game season. In that same time frame, there have been 174 white head coaches to do so. Many of the black head coaches, over the years, were very successful with the teams they have coached, and despite their successes, it was just not enough.

The Rooney Rule, created by Dan Rooney, was a rule created to ensure minority coaches would be considered for high-level coaching positions. The rule was implemented after Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a super bowl, was fired after posting a winning season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Although the Rooney Rule is effective, when it comes to hiring minorities for coaching positions, it is not effective when it comes to maintaining a coaching job.

In recent times, there have been advocates to extend the Rooney Rule to college football due to its lack of minority coaches, which is around six percent.

Equality and the increase in diversity is an ongoing problem in the NFL, and it may go on for years to come. Black men are not just players, who run, catch, and pass, they have the ability to lead a team to victory as well as any other man.