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There were four minority NFL head coaches when the 2020 regular season began and, with several coaches getting fired at the end, many thought it would lead to a more diverse league.
But as six head coach positions opened – and later a seventh when the Philadelphia Eagles fired Doug Pederson – only one minority head coach was hired. The New York Jets hired Robert Saleh, who is believed to be the first Muslim-American head coach in NFL history.
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The Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars each had head coach positions open as well.
The Falcons hired Arthur Smith to replace Dan Quinn and interim head coach Raheem Morris. The Chargers hired Brandon Staley to replace Anthony Lynn. The Jaguars hired Urban Meyer to replace Doug Marrone. The Lions are reportedly expected to hire Dan Campbell to replace Matt Patricia and Darrell Bevell.
Essentially, the NFL is back where it began but with only two Black coaches in Miami Dolphins’ Brian Flores and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, one Latino coach in Washington’s Ron Rivera and the Jets’ Saleh.
CHARGERS HIRE BRANDON STALEY AS NEXT HEAD COACH
Teams started to draw some criticism in the days leading up to the Chargers hiring Staley. And even more so as Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is seen as a hard coaching candidate, remains an assistant on Andy Reid’s staff despite guiding the team’s potent offense.
The NFL announced in May new policies in hope to increase diversity in the league.
The league requires teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for their head coach roles and at least one minority candidate for a coordinator job, according to NFL.com.
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“The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement at the time. “While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”