MIAMI — When the NFL’s 2018 season began, the league laid claim to eight minority head coaches.
Two years later, that number hasn’t only failed to grow — it’s been more than cut in half.
Following the league’s latest offseason coaching carousel, only three black head coaches in the NFL remain. Including Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic, only four of the league’s 32 head coaching jobs are held by minorities, while none of the five head coaching openings this offseason were filled by African American candidates.
Speaking to about the issue at his annual Super Bowl week press conference in Miami on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his disappointment in the matter.
“Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this level,” Goodell said. “We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different.”
Enacted in 2003, the Rooney Rule requires all NFL teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. And while the rule initially resulted in the league finding success in increasing minority representation in such jobs, the NFL currently has the same number of black head coaches that it did in 2003.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks on the field before an NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
According to Goodell, unless the league changes its process and policies, there’s no reason to believe that number will be growing anytime soon.
“There’s no reason to expect we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes and we’ve already begun engaging in those changes,” he said. “Not just with our diversity committee, not just with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but others. And trying to figure out what steps we could take next that would lead to better outcomes.”
As for when those changes will occur and what they might be, that remains unclear. What is a certainty for Goodell, however, is that in a league where more than 70 percent of the players are black, the lack of diversity among coaches is unacceptable.
“It’s clear we’re all committed to doing that,” Goodell said. “And we have to make those changes.