Steelers' Mike Tomlin Says Lack of Minority Coaches in NFL Is 'A Joke'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Gail Burton/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin lamented the continued lack of diversity among the NFL coaching ranks.

"Succinctly, we just have to be better. Why sugarcoat it, Nate," Tomlin said Thursday on NFL Network's Good Morning Football (around the five-minute mark). "There's less than half minority coaches in the NFL today than there was in 2007, when I got my job. So from that perspective, it is a joke, and it needs to be addressed."

Tomlin said the necessary parties are "working diligently" to resolve the issue but that the sign of any progress will ultimately come from the hiring of minority coaches.

GMFB @gmfb

(Part 2) .@steelers HC Mike Tomlin joined #GMFB to talk about adjusting to the unique training camp, the opt out deadline (today at 4pmET), Big Ben, @TeamJuJu, @minkfitz_21 and so much more! https://t.co/CjuFZ9duvn

Tomlin is one of four minority head coaches in the NFL along with Ron Rivera, Brian Flores and Anthony Lynn. Chris Grier and Andrew Berry are the only two minority general managers.

The NFL adopted the Rooney Rule, named after one of the Steelers' owners, in an effort to boost its diversity on the sidelines and in front offices. Over time, it became clear, though, that the league would need to do more to adequately address the problem. Teams were either not following the Rooney Rule, or they were interviewing minority candidates they weren't seriously considering in order to simply satisfy the rule's requirements.

NFL.com's Jim Trotter reported in May the NFL was considering a plan that would improve a team's draft position in later rounds of the draft based on whether they hired a minority head coach and/or lead football executive.

That idea was scrapped, with owners approving a new set of guidelines to strengthen the Rooney Rule.

Teams will have to interview external minority candidates for a variety of front-office roles and one external minority candidate for the role of offensive, defensive or special teams coordinator. The league rolled back some anti-tampering rules to prevent teams from denying interested suitors the ability to interview their own coaches or executives.