Updated: Mar 1, 2021
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mike Tomlin, who has won more games than any Black head coach in NFL history, appeared on HBO's "Real Sports" on Tuesday night with Bryant Gumbel where they discussed the NFL's failure to hire more minority head coaches.
"It is a global collective failure from my perspective," Tomlin told Gumbel on minority head coach hiring. There have been just 23 minority head coaches hired in the NFL's modern era and there are currently just five minority head coaches in the league -- Mike Tomlin, Brian Flores, Ron Rivera, Robert Saleh and David Culley. Three of the five minority head coaches are Black -- Tomlin, Flores and Culley.
With Tomlin displeased how the process is going when it comes to hiring minorities as head coaches, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reached out to Tomlin to talk with him about the subject.
"I normally don’t talk publicly during the offseason, but this is a critical issue for us,” Tomlin said. “As important as this is for us in the NFL, it’s also important for us as a society. It deserves all the attention it gets.”
Despite being requested to interview for six of the seven head coaching jobs this offseason, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was not selected by any of those teams as a head coach. Many were shocked that Bieniemy didn't land a head coaching job, especially with the job he's done with the Chiefs' offense the last three years. Tomlin was among the many who were perplexed that Bieniemy didn't get an opportunity.
“Bieniemy is a real head-scratcher for me,” Tomlin said. “Every offensive coordinator Andy Reid has had in the last 20 years got a head job. One of those guys, Brad Childress, hired me in Minnesota in 2006. Now, Andy has the best offense he’s ever had and [Bieniemy] can’t get a job?”
Buccaneers offensive coordiantor Byron Leftwich not getting a single interview for a head coach position during this past cycle was also head-scratching. Bruce Arians was not happy at all that Leftwich didn't even get the opportunity for an interview.
“I was very, very pissed that Byron didn’t at least get an interview this year,” Arians said via Josh Alpner of Pro Football Talk. “For the job that he’s done ... I think I get way too much credit and so does Tom Brady for the job that Byron has done. Hopefully next year people will see that he took Jameis Winston and broke every single record here, scoring and passing, and now Tom has broken both. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s everything supposedly what people are looking for, although this year was kind of a defensive cycle.”
Jim Trotter of NFL.com tweeted an interesting statistics yesterday in regards to nepotism when it comes to head coach hiring. According to Trotter, 10 of the 32 head coaches “are sons, fathers or brothers of a current or former NFL coach.” Of the 73 coaches related to a current or former NFL coach, 55 are white.
It is mind-boggling that Bieniemy hasn't been hired as a head coach yet, especially given some of the coaches that got jobs over him, who didn't have nearly as a good of a resume.