NFL Goes On Record With List Of Excuses Teams Have Used To Not Hire Black Coaches

Of the NFL’s 32 teams, three have a black head coach. Why there are so few black head coaches has been a question among coaches, media, and the fans for years. And now, the NFL is looking for specific reasons as to why there are so few non-white coaches in the league.

Troy Vincent, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, has been among the leaders looking for answers. He recently spoke with USA Today about his findings from investigations and interviews with various coaching candidates. Now the league is listing excuses teams have made for not hiring a black coach.

Here is a list of those excuses the league went on record with as to why “otherwise-qualified black coaches” have not been hired:

  • Never called plays
  • Too many friends listed on potential coaching staff
  • No previous game-clock management
  • Unsure of their ability to motivate veteran players
  • Didn’t interview well
  • Lacked the necessary experience to lead
  • Didn’t look the part
  • Seemed nervous throughout the interview process
  • Job is different than what it was previously

Vincent said that the excuse of the job being different than it previously was “is an example of the ever-moving goalposts for the qualifications of non-white coaches.”


Among non-white coaches passed over in recent hiring cycles are Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, among others.

“Nobody can tell me that these men here, any combination you want, that they ‘don’t interview well,’ that they ‘lack experience,’ that they ‘didn’t look a part’ or they ‘seemed nervous in the process,’ ” Vincent explained.

“It’s hard for me and many others to accept that. … We just felt like this is the best that we have. These men, at minimum, should be presented an opportunity to lead a football franchise at the professional level.”

Currently, 314 of the 722 on-field coaches in the NFL identify as non-white, which is the largest percentage (43.5%) of non-white coaches in league history.

Written by Mark Harris


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