Skip to content

How Many Black Head Coaches in the NFL

How Many Black Head Coaches in the NFL

One of the most popular leagues in the country is NFL. But The NFL is the same league in which the majority of players are black and the majority of head coaches are white. But why there is so little number of black coaches in the NFL. And how many black head coaches in the NFL right now?

The depressing statistics are not new. In 1989, Art Shell became the modern era’s first Black head coach of an NFL franchise. But his, hiring did not eliminate the restrictions faced by other minority coaches in the NFL.

After this season NFL ended, there was only one Black coach left. Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the only remaining African-American head coach in NFL. Even the numbers of other communities coaches are low. Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team is the only Latino head coach.

Let’s get to know why there is so low a number of black head coaches in the NFL & some more information about this.

How many black head coaches in the NFL 2021?

Only one Black and one Latino head coach remain in the National Football League two weeks after the regular season concluded – Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team, respectively. 

The number of black coaches comes down to one, after the firing of Brian Flores and David Culley by the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans.

Even during and after the 2018 NFL season, Five NFL teams fired their Black head coaches. Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Steve Wilks (Cardinals), Todd Bowles (Jets), and Vance Joseph (Broncos) were all head coaches.

White applicants were hired to replace all five of those coaches.

How many black NFL head coaches won the super bowl?

In the history of the NFL, two head coaches have won the super bowl. On February 4, 2007, the Indianapolis Colts’ Tony Dungy won the Super Bowl XLI, whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin won the Super Bowl XLIII, which was played on February 1, 2009.

Tony Dungy won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, defeating another black NFL head coach, Lovie Smith, and his Chicago Bears. It was a historic showdown for the first two black head coaches to take their teams to the Super Bowl and face off against one another.

Even though the two black coaches have succeeded in winning Super Bowl, still the number of black head coaches is low. Why this is low? Let’s get to know the reasons!

Why does the NFL have so few black head coaches?

Actually, this low number of black coaches in the NFL is not new. There is a history of exclusion of black coaches in the NFL. Even after the 2003 Rooney rule, still the number remains low. Let’s have a look at the reasons for a low number of black head coaches in the NFL: 

1) Exclusion from a long time

The depressing statistics are not new. Art Shell was the first Black NFL head coach in the modern age when he took over the coaching duties of the Miami Dolphins in 1989. However, his appointment did not break down the hurdles faced by other black coaches in the NFL.

Even in 2003, the Rooney rule was brought in NFL, which says requires teams to have at least two interviews with minority candidates for head coaching positions. But it only has positive effects for a short time. Now even in 2022, the number has just decreased. 

The reason behind this is surely exclusion by teams and management.

2) Racism

It is not unexpected that the paucity of Black coaches in the NFL can be attributed to systemic racism, which has a profound impact on all aspects of society, including media studies, sport studies, sociology, sport management, and behavioral science.

3) Access to Position

The types of jobs that Black coaches can get also play a role. Offensive and defensive coordinators are often in the running to become head coaches. But research from the NFL and NCAA consistently shows that white coaches are more likely to be chosen as coordinators than non-white coaches due to over-representation.

Additionally, minority men’s basketball coaches were more than white coaches to be hired by teams with a history of losing, and if they were unable to turn things around, they were more likely to be replaced by white coaches.

These all reasons majorly result in low numbers of black head coaches in NFL. Even though the head coaches are fully capable and have the expertise, still they are not given preference. 

How many black head coaches in the NFL history?

Before the Rooney rule was made in 2003, there were only eight black people who served as NFL head coaches. It includes the names of Tom Flores, Green, Dungy, Fritz Pollard, Ray Rhodes, Wayne Fontes, Art Shell, and Herm Edwards. 

In 1989, after around 70 years of the start of the NFL, Art Shell became the first black head coach of the NFL team. 

After Rooney Rule, 2003, Marvin Lewis, Lovie Smith, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel, Mike Tomlin, Emmit Thomas, Mike Singletary, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris, Perry Fewell, Leslie Frazier, Eric Studesville, Mel Tucker, Todd Bowles, Todd Bowles, Anthony Lynn, Vance Josep, and Brian Flores became head coaches of NFL teams. 

You can see even after the 2003 Rooney rule, there is not much increase in the NFL black head coaches’ number. 

How does the NFL fix this?

Because the NFL doesn’t see a problem here, no matter what it says, change will not happen. No, the Rooney Rule doesn’t work. It would have worked by now.

To provide teams with draft picks in exchange for increasing the number of minority candidates is the equivalent of plastering over a wall that has been damaged for decades. So this solution is just a waste.

The only working & right solution is, those in control of NFL franchises will have to go against the grain if they want to break through the glass ceiling.

Bottom Line

Since the NFL is one of the biggest leagues in the world, still there are signs of racism and discrimination in the league. And these signs are seen in one of the important positions, the head coach position. 

Although there are no signs of the increasing number of black head caoches, we can only hope this situation changes & the participation of black head coaches increases.

We hope this article was helpful & informative. Let us know your thoughts & suggestions in the comments below!