NFL's Troy Vincent Says There's a 'Double Standard' for Black HCs Being RetainedJanuary 11, 2022
There are just two remaining Black head coaches in the NFL after the Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores following their 2021 campaign, and the league's executive vice president of football operations believes there is a "double standard."
Troy Vincent discussed the lack of diversity among coaches and pointed to the previous firings of Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell and Steve Wilks as examples, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post:
"There is a double standard, and we've seen that. And you talk about the appetite for what's acceptable. Let's just go back to Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame was fired after a winning season. Coach Dungy was let go in Tampa Bay after a winning season. So we have seen this. ... Coach Wilks, just a few years prior, was let go after one year. And then the things that happened today.
"There is a double standard. I don't think that that is something that we should shy away from. But that is all part of some of the things that we need to fix in the system. We want to hold everyone to why does one, let's say, get the benefit of the doubt to be able to build or take bumps and bruises in this process of getting a franchise turned around when others are not afforded that latitude? ... We see it at the collegiate level. And we've seen that in history at the [professional] level."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Dungy after a 9-7 season in 2001. The Hall of Famer had a winning record in four of his six seasons with the Buccaneers and went on to win a Super Bowl amid seven straight winning seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Detroit Lions made the playoffs in two of Caldwell's four years but fired him after they went 9-7 in 2017. They have made the playoffs just one other time since the 1999 campaign.
Wilks was given just one season with the Arizona Cardinals and was fired after going 3-13 in 2018.
Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and David Culley of the Houston Texans are the only current Black head coaches after Miami shockingly moved on from Flores. The Dolphins were widely considered one of the worst rosters in the league when Flores took over before the 2019 season, but they went 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 this past season.
They also didn't quit following a 1-7 start to the 2021 campaign and played their way back into playoff contention with seven straight wins.
However, ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported Flores' relationship with general manager Chris Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa "had deteriorated."
There is a lack of diversity, though Maske pointed out that the league has "made a strong push to attempt to improve its minority hiring practices" with rule changes in recent years. Notably, teams can receive draft picks if they develop candidates of color who are eventually hired by other teams.
The NFL also allowed teams to interview candidates during the final two weeks of the 2021 regular season.