Troy Vincent: Nepotism Partly to Blame for NFL's Lack of Minority HC Hires

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2020

FILE - In this May 22, 2019, file photo, Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president, speaks to the media during the owners meetings in Key Biscayne, Fla. Vincent, a former Buffalo Bills safety, was honored by the Niagara Frontier YWCA for his extensive work advocating against domestic violence and sexual assault. Vincent was presented with the association's 2019 Hero Award at a banquet in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, who played a strong hand in pushing diversity initiatives introduced by the league last week, said nepotism is among the biggest hurdles minority coaches face moving up in the ranks.

He told Peter King of NBC Sports:

"Other people would like to bring on their brother-in-law, or their brother, or work with their father. But it becomes a barrier to entry, a barrier to mobility. It's a fact that continues to grow. And now they share each other's kids. 'You hire my buddy or you hire my kid's son, you're my nephew and because they grew up in the same tree, got the same agent'...So it's not that it's unfair, but it's a challenge. We've got to recognize all of those things and try to break those barriers down."

Vincent said the other two main barriers were "self-preservation" and "agent monopoly." He said the NFL, himself included, is to blame for allowing self-preservation to run rampant.

Several NFL coaching staffs are littered with the sons or relatives of current coaches. King notes the Minnesota Vikings have three assistant coaches with fathers on their staff; Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick have two of their sons on staff in their respective locales; and Andy Reid's son, Britt, is the Chiefs' linebackers/outside linebackers coach.

None of those coaches paid the dues that are typical for those without connections in landing an NFL coaching job. Brennan and Nate Carroll have worked under their father for nearly their entire coaching careers. Brian and Steve Belichick have worked for the Patriots throughout their coaching careers. Prior to joining his father in Kansas City, Britt Reid served as a training camp assistant under him with the Philadelphia Eagles before spending three years at Temple.

It is worth noting that a majority of the coaching hires in the NFL are made with some previously existing relationship—working or personal. Additionally, these are only a few of the hundreds of coaching jobs available around the NFL.

That said, in such an insular business, it is more difficult for minorities to get their foot in the door. The NFL introduced a fellowship program for minorities and women last week, which is aimed at identifying promising young coaches who may have been previously kept out. All 32 teams will be required to host the program, with fellowships lasting one or two years.