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Mike Tomlin on minority head coach hiring: 'It is a global collective failure from my perspective'

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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.

The Rooney Rule has expanded since it was created in 2003, but there's still a lot to work to be done when it comes to hiring more minority head coaches and general managers. It ultimately comes down to the owners who are doing the hiring. And there needs to be more diversity in that department as well as 31 of the 32 owners in the league are white.

Tomlin, who has won more games than any Black head coach in NFL history, will appear on HBO's "Real Sports" with Bryant Gumbel where they discuss the NFL's failure to hire more minority head coaches. The show will air on Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST.

Adam Schefter on Twitter posted a short clip of the show on Monday, and Tomlin had a couple of noteworthy quotes in it.

"It is a global collective failure from my perspective," Tomlin told Gumbel on minority head coach hiring.

Gumbel asked Tomlin if it's bull s*** when the league talks about being more diverse when it comes to hiring minority head coaches at NFL Owners meetings.

"I don't know if it is at the time, but I know that the results are," Tomlin said. "If you're looking for guys who are coordinators, there's examples of that. If you want a guy that's a proven capable leader, there's Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis. There's guys like Todd Bowles, Raheem Morris and others. There are capable examples of minority candidates no matter the profile."

Gumbel also mentioned how Black coaches like Marvin Lewis and Leslie Frazier haven't received second chances as head coaches while white coaches like Adam Gase and Doug Marrone did.

Bowles, who led the efforts to shutting down the Chiefs' explosive offense in the Super Bowl to just nine points, interviewed for the Eagles and Falcons head coach position but didn't get the job. Bowles also had his interview with the Lions canceled as they decided to hire Dan Campbell as head coach.

Buccaneers' offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich somehow didn't even receive an interview for a head coach position. Bruce Arians was not happy at all by it.

“I was very, very pissed that Byron didn’t at least get an interview this year,” Arians said during the week prior to Super Bowl LV via Josh Alper 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.”

Chiefs' offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy also inexplicably hasn't got a head job in the last two years after being interviewed by several teams. Bieniemy has done remarkable things with the Chiefs offense and would be an asset to any team looking for a new head coach. He's certainly more accomplished and qualified than some of the other coaches that got jobs over him.

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