When the N.F.L. completed the third annual Quarterback Coaching Conference to address the lack of equity in the 32 lead coaches of the League, two things were imminent: optimism and caution.
It is by no means a criticism against the Ligue Office and the Football Hall of Fame Black College, which arranged a two-day virtual event for around 90 pro and college trainers. For those who were ready to climb the ladder, the knowledge and conversations were critically important.
There is no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for the opportunity to be head coaches and coordinators, and this was a great pick after the N.F.L.’s two-day quarterback coaching summit.
A version of their meeting, a third-year effort to boost the quality of the Liga, was organized earlier this week by the League and the Black College Football of Fame. There engaged hundreds of football pro and college teams as well as assistants.
Washington Redskins executive Doug Williams, who co-founded the Black College Football Hall of Fame with James “Shack” Harris expressed his displeasure about how there is “nobody in the pipeline” almost all the time.
“I hope after (the Summit) that we get away from the pipeline and realize we’ve got a bunch of guys in line. All they’re asking for is an opportunity. The pipeline is full. The most important thing is to open up the valve.” He said.
There are 3 Blackhead trainers (MIKE Tomlin, Anthony Lynn, and Brian Flores), two black general managers (Chris Grier and Andrew Berry), two black attack coordinators (Eric Bieniemy and Byron Leftwich) and 2 Black quarterback trainers (Pep Hamilton and Marcus Brady) in the N.F.L. In the N.F.L.
At the talk on Monday and Tuesday, Lynn, Bieniemy, Leftwich, Hamilton, and Brady were among the attendees. The members got briefed by San Francisco 49ers security coach Robert Saleh, a Lebanese-American.
Bieniemy, who spoke of teamwork and the creation of a winner ‘s atmosphere with the Eagles, Browns, and Giants previous to his innovative program, guided Kansas to a victory of 31-20 in a super bowl over the 49ers.
“True direction within an organization is born with a vision,” he said. “It begins when a leader accepts it. It gains acceptance when a leader models it. It becomes a reality when people respond to it.”
Eight coaches lose their employment following the 2018 season. A minority nominee, Flores in Miami, filled just one position.
After last season five jobs were opened, and Washington hired a minority, Ron Rivera. This makes 4 of a possible 32 minority head coaches in the League.
The N.F.L. last month amended the Rooney Law to allow further consultations with minority nominee representatives and assistants. The League would enable clubs to recruit at least two minority applicants for head coach positions outside the association. For a coordinator’s position, at least one minority nominee will be interviewed.
This season Flores, the former defensive play-caller with previously the New England Patriots, will be one of only four quirky assistants in a League of 32. Eight color head coaches were kept in the N.F.L. last season.
With the quarterback importance in the N.F.L., owners are now increasingly seeking offensive coaches to fill the top jobs and especially the coaches that played essential roles in developing passers. But in these positions, the League has few color coaches.
Commissioner Goodell also acknowledged the need for the N.F.L. to get the right type of coaching with the appropriate kind of experience with teams as head coaches. “We must do that.” He said.
According to him, the preference is for offensive coaching now. To fix the situation, the N.F.L. and Football Hall of Fame of Black College organized the Summit.
The Summit is one of the N.F.L. projects geared at developing recruitment and human resources infrastructure and promoting equity across the League.
Diversity in the League is significant, especially in these times when issues of Racism have raised its neck— it’s more like an uprising, and sooner or later, if things are not put into proper place, it may not go so well the N.F.L.