NFL data reveals significant disadvantage for Black head coach candidates without connections
The Chronicle studied the 127 head coaching hires made from 2003 until 2021 to see how many of the coaches had either worked with the team before or worked with the general manager at a previous stop.
The data revealed a significant diversity imbalance that underlines the issues behind why there are still just three minority head coaches today — Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh and Washington’s Ron Rivera — the same as there were in 2003 when the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” first required teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching positions. The lack of Black representation is even more pronounced. In a league in which 58 percent of players are Black, Tomlin is the only remaining Black head coach after the firings of Flores and former Texans coach David Culley.
Black NFL head coach candidates are hired less often without connections, data shows.