“We don’t get second chances.”
—Jon Embree, November 2012
Eight head coaching vacancies opened up in the NFL this offseason, and zero African Americans were hired. The “Rooney Rule” was instituted in 2003 to increase minority hires, but it has become such a farce that it’s likely going to be re-worked this year.
With issues of race it’s easy to jump to conclusions. After Embree’s press conference in November, his words stuck in my head. Do black coaches get a second chance? Here’s a breakdown of the last few decades worth of black head coaches in the NFL.
Art Shell, Oakland Raiders (1989-1994, 2006)
Next Job: Shell was hired as assistant to the head coach by the Kansas City Chiefs; he later left the Chiefs to become an assistant in Atlanta. The demand for Shell was very low despite 58% winning percentage as coach of the Raiders. Ultimately Oakland gave Shell his second head coaching opportunity. Shell failed miserably leading the Raiders to a 2-14 record during one of their most dysfunctional periods.
Dennis Green, Minnesota Vikings (1992-2001), Arizona Cardinals (2004-2006)
Regular Season: 113-94
Next job: Green was hired by the Cardinals after a two year stint on ESPN. Green never enjoyed the kind of success in Arizona that he had in Minnesota. The Cards went 16-32 under Green, never making the playoffs. The highlight of Green’s tenure was his infamous “the Bears are who were thought they were“rant.
Current Status: Unable to get another shot in the NFL, Green took a coaching job in the UFL. Green is currently unemployed.
Tony Dungy Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001), Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008)
Post Season: 9-10
Next job: Dungy enjoyed even more success in Indianapolis, leading the Colts to seven straight winning seasons and a championship. In Indy, Dungy won an incredible 75 percent of his games and took the Colts to three AFC championship games. Dungy retired after the 2008 season.
Current Status: Retired, Analyst NBC Sunday Night Football in America.
Herm Edwards, New York Jets (2001-2005), Kansas City Chiefs (2006-2008)
Regular season: 54-74
Next Job: Edwards’ tenure in Kansas City followed the same template as the one in New York, early success, followed by futility. The Chiefs made the playoffs in Edwards’ first year and spiraled downward the next two, finishing 2-14 in his final year in Kansas City.
Current Status: Vocal ESPN analyst who spoke candidly with our editor-in-chief last month.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (2003-Current)
Regular Season: 79-80-1
Post Season: 0-4
Next job: Lewis departure from the Bengals will be an experiment for African American coaches in the NFL. Despite a modicum of success Lewis is often portrayed as a bumbling incompetent. In reality he’s led the Bengals to the playoffs two years.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears (2004-2012)
Regular Season: 81-63
Post Season: 3-3
Next job: Despite being interviewed by several teams last month, Smith was not hired by anyone.
Current status: Unemployed.
Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns (2005-2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2011-2012)
Regular Season: 28-55
Next job: After the Chiefs fired Todd Haley, Crennel was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach. This offseason, he was fired and replaced by Andy Reid.
Current status: Unemployed.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers (2007-Current)
Post Season: 5-3
Next job: The Steelers history with coaches indicates that Tomlin would be the party to dissolve the relationship. If he did he’d be one of the hottest coaches on the market.
Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers (2008-2010)
Regular Season: 18-22
Post Season: 0-0
Next job: Singletary’s disaster in San Francisco caused many to question whether he has the temperament to be a head coach. In 2011 the Vikings hired Singletary as Linebackers coach.
Current status: Vikings special assistant to the head coach/linebackers coach.
Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts (2009-2011)
Regular Season: 26-22
Next job: Despite having a Super bowl trip on his resume Caldwell wasn’t viewed as a viable head coaching candidate. In 2012 Caldwell was hired by the Ravens as a quarterbacks coach.Earlier this year he was promoted to offensive coordinator after the firing of Cam Cameron.
Current status: Offensive coordinator, Baltimore Ravens.
Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011)
Regular Season: 17-31
Next job: Morris’ precipitous drop is curious, the argument could be made that he deserved one more year in Tampa. Morris wasn’t offered a head coaching job, nor was he offered any coordinator positions, despite previously excelling in the role. Morris is currently the defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins.
Current Status: Defensive backs coach, Washington Redskins.
Hue Jackson, Oakland Raiders (2010)
Regular Season: 8-8
Next job: Assistant to special teams and defensive backs,Cincinnati Bengals. Why couldn’t Jackson get a job on the offensive side of the ball? Jackson’s resume includes 24 years of experience, 12 as an offensive coordinator.
Current Status: Running backs coach, Cincinnati Bengals.
Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings (2010-Current)
Regular Season: 16-22
Next job: It’s hard to tell what kind of footing Frazier is on in Minnesota but would anyone be surprised if he is fired by the Vikings if he has a sub par year next year?
Current status: Head coach, Minnesota Vikings.