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NFL Hiring More Black Coaches

By Rasheed Lateef

Four minority head coaches have been hired this year — Atlanta’s Raheem MorrisNew England’s Jerod MayoLas Vegas’ Antonio Pierce and Carolina’s Dave Canales — bringing the number of coaches of color entering the 2024 season to nine, the most in league history for one season. Seattle and Washington have yet to fill their vacancies, according to the Associated Press.

This is huge, considering in the 103-year history of the league, there have only been 27 Black head coaches in league history, and only two Black head coaches have ever won a Super Bowl (Tony Dungy with the Colts and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers). Fritz Pollard became the first Black head coach in NFL history after the Akron Pros appointed him co-coach in 1921. And let’s not forget most of the players are Black.

Also, for the first time in NFL history, two Black quarterbacks played in an NFL championship game to decide who would go to the Superbowl. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens faced off Jan. 28 for a chance to punch their teams’ ticket to Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas. 

What’s significant is that Mahomes and Jackson and recently others have stomped the criticism that Black athletes don’t make good quarterbacks. Ultimately, Kansas City won 17 to the Baltimore Ravens’ 10. Last year’s Super Bowl in Glendale was the first time in NFL history the Super Bowl would have two starting quarterbacks that were Black, with Jalen Hurts and Mahomes putting on an all-time classic in SBLVII. Unfortunately, two Black quarterbacks are not in the cards for Superbowl 2024. The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are officially headed to Super Bowl LVIII, which kicks off Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

But getting back to Jackson … while his team didn’t win the divisional championship, he was thrust into the headlines in December when Fox Sports radio host Monse Bolanos said, “I want my quarterbacks to be quarterbacky” and “To me, Lamar Jackson’s just a great athlete.” Bolanos was promptly roasted on social media for her comments that were perceived as Jackson didn’t know what he was doing and he should just stick to being an athlete.

However, many would consider Jackon a “great athlete” who’s led the league in passing touchdowns, been in the Top 10 in passer-rating completion percentage, and already has won league MVP and is potentially closing in on his second one this season. Mahomes has also been criticized for his treatment towards referees, not just from the Chiefs’ regular season loss to the Bills, where he and coach Andy Reid were fined $150,000 for criticizing referees, but throughout his career. We can also pinpoint the criticism that Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick received as well while playing in the league for their playing styles and celebrations after scoring touchdowns. 

Ebony Huerta Wells has over 25 years of writing and media experience. She was a former business journalist with a major newspaper and worked for other niche publications.

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