When Stephen Ross’ Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores on Monday, it sent shockwaves around the NFL. For some reason, fans of all genders and races were stunned that Flores was unemployed as if Ross doesn’t have a long history of being a contradictory figure. This is the NFL, a place where Black coaches get treated like third-class citizens.
Over the next few days and weeks, multiple teams will be conducting interviews to fill their head coaching vacancies. And while that happens, the lack of Black coaches will be the most discussed talking point.
Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Houston’s David Culley are the lone Black head coaches in a league that’s over 70 percent Black. It’s reminiscent of the end of the 2018 season when five black head coaches were fired and were replaced with five white coaches, leaving Tomlin and Anthony Lynn as the only Black faces, at the time.
And since America loves to ignore blatant racism unless they can watch it on video or it can be quantified into numbers, Deadspin took a look at the plight of Black coaches in the NFL over the last 20-plus years. In 2000, there were three Black coaches in the league. Dennis Green took the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. Tony Dungy led the Bucs to a Wild-Card Game. And Terry Robiskie served as an interim head coach in Washington – as the interim position would be the highest level he ever reached in his career.
Below is a look at every Black coach that’s been hired since then and a snapshot of their story.