Perhaps as soon as Monday, Brian Flores will officially become the Dolphins’ head coach, snapping what some believe is shameful streak for the NFL.
There were eight coaching openings this cycle but Flores, assuming he doesn’t back out at the 11th hour, will be the only minority hired.
The other seven? White men.
As a result, the number of black coaches in the NFL has fallen from eight to four, which most would agree is not representative of the league’s demographics (70 percent black).
Is the Rooney Rule — which compels franchises to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operations jobs — a failure?
Roger Goodell, speaking Wednesday during his annual Super Bowl news conference, argued otherwise.
“We don’t look at the success or failure of the Rooney Rule in one-year increments,” Goodell said. “We’ve had the Rooney Rule around for nearly 20 years. It’s had an extraordinary impact on the NFL. Over 20 clubs have hired minority coaches since that period of time. It’s also been a signal for other industries throughout the world to adopt a Rooney Rule to change their organizations, and I think it has. It’s created opportunities. It’s given people an opportunity who haven’t had them in the past, and that’s at the core of what we’re looking for.”
Still, Goodell suggested that tweaks might be needed, particularly given the new coaching landscape.
Flores and Vic Fangio were the only coaching hires on the defensive side; the other six had offensive expertise.
And overwhelmingly, the top offensive assistants are white.
Just four of the league’s 56 offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coaches were white in 2018, according to a study by the Associated Press. Until that number increases, the racial makeup at the head coaching level probably will not change much.
“What we want to do is figure out how we can continue to create a deeper pool so that they have that opportunity, when coaching opportunities arise,” Goodell said. “We’ve focused on a few things. We’re going to meet with [the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that advocates for minority coaches] again at the Combine in February. We’re going to have several coaches there with us that are going to give their perspective, and we’re going to focus on those opportunities to create a deeper pool of more experienced [candidates], give them opportunity and we believe that that is something that is critical for us going forward, make sure that we continue we progress that we have had.”
One concrete step the league is taking: Hosting a quarterback summit at Morehouse College, a historically black private school in Atlanta, this summer.
To “help train, give opportunities, manage and hopefully do some mentoring help advance those coaches so they can hopefully have those opportunities,” Goodell said.