Second and even third chances are not unusual for NFL head coaches. During his career, several coaches have run three different teams, and most of them just had multiple success records before getting their third job. After all, if they have excelled in either of the previous two tasks, they can still achieve it.
The list of coaches who have run at least three teams without winning the Super Bowl includes John Fox, Ted Marchibroda, Wade Phillips, Dan Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner.
Football fans might notice something about that list: All the coaches on it are white. Not a single black person has ever been the head coach of three NFL teams. (Romeo Crennel was closest, serving as coach of two teams and interim coach of a third team, for part of the season.)
But there are certainly Black coaches whose track record matches those of white coaches who have had many coaching opportunities. Jim Caldwell, Marvin Lewis, Anthony Lynn, Lovie Smith, and for a period before that, Dennis Green and Art Shell all won more games than they lost and took the teams to the knockout stages. They never got a third chance or, in some cases, a second chance at being a head coach.
The Flores . case
Brian Flores seems likely to go this route. Three years ago, he took over the Miami Dolphins, after the team had only one win the previous season in 10. Under Flores, Miami has been on a winning streak for the past two years, reaching the near playoffs both times. However, the Dolphins fired him last month and no other team hired him.
On Tuesday, Flores sue the NFL for racial discrimination. It’s a remarkable act of defiance: Flores is only 40 years old, and he’s probably hurting his chances of getting another job in the conservative, conservative NFL – which also arguably lands country most popular form of entertainment.
“It’s hard to say,” Flores said on CBS yesterday. “But,” he added, “this is bigger than football. This is bigger than coaching.”
Robert Griffin III, a former quarterback, tweeted: “Brian Flores had to effectively terminate his opportunity to coach in the NFL to point out what we already knew about discrimination in the coaching hiring process. head coach in the NFL”
The details of the lawsuit read like something out of a TV series. These include screenshots of an alleged text exchange last month in which Bill Belichick, the league’s most successful coach, mistakenly congratulated Flores on getting the coach job. Chief of the New York Giants. (Belichick has not confirmed that the exchange happened.)
Flores believes Belichick wants to send a message to another coach named Brian – Brian Daboll, who is white. Flores said that when he received the message, he was preparing for his own interview with the Giants. When he realized the text wasn’t for him, he understood that Giants executives had picked someone else.
Why would the Giants want to interview Flores after deciding to hire Daboll? The NFL requires each team to interview at least one white candidate for any head coach job. By doing a format interview with Flores, the Giants are technically following the rule.
Lewis, former coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, said yesterday that he once had a fake interview with the Carolina Panthers. Lewis said that they decided to hire Fox – one of the white coaches who would eventually run three different teams.
Evidence of racism
Finding clear evidence of racism is rarely easy, especially in an individual case. And not every accusation of racism is accurate or fair. But the evidence that the NFL has engaged in a pattern of discrimination against Black coaches is clear:
ONE Academic Analysis in 2019 authorized by the NFL has confirmed that Black coaches are less likely to get a second chance. “In the NFL,” Jemele Hills of the Atlantic wrote recently, “Black coaches are expected to perform miracles quickly, and when they don’t, they often pay the price with their work.”
In a 32-team league where most of the players are black – and that’s been the case for a long time – only one current head coach is black. He’s Mike Tomlin, who has one of the highest win rates of any active coach.
Teams have also been reluctant to hire Black coaches as offensive coordinators – a job that often leads to head coaching positions, like Tyler Tynes note in The Ringer. An academic study conclude that the low rate at which black teams apply for coordinator jobs is the #1 reason white coaches dominate the league.
Even when Black coordinators are successful in those jobs, they are sometimes passed on to white candidates with weaker resumes. During last year’s Super Bowl, both offensive coordinators – Eric Bieniemy of the Kansas City Chiefs and Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – were black. Neither has become head coaches, even though 14 teams have hired new coaches since the end of last season.
The Times broke several email stories between famous NFL personalities – regarding Racist comment from Jon Gruden, a longtime coach; and a joke of the NFL’s top lawyer that reaching out to Latino fans will be less relevant after the construction of the border wall.
A programming note: Starting this weekend, The Morning expands to seven days a week. Melissa Kirsch will write on Saturdays about culture and German Lopez on Sundays about big stories and ideas.
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Hollywood’s Emancipation Era
There was a time in Hollywood, between the silent era and the summer of 1934, when actresses played roles with their pre-eminent insights into women, beyond the stereotype of a vampire or ingénue. Beatrice Loayza wrote in The Times that before the Manufacturing Regulation Authority introduced a strict censorship regime, “starting to create a roadblock for the industry.
Loayza writes: Pre-Code movies are not risky for the sake of progress, but rather to “engage audiences in a time of depression with sheer excitement.” However, that often leads to more complicated female characters, as in the 1931 TV series “Bad Girl”. After the character Dorothy (Sally Eilers) stays in a man’s place for up to four hours. In the morning, her brother kicked her out of the apartment they shared. Her brother’s girlfriend, Edna (Minna Gombell), a single mother, proceeds to get rid of him and bring Dorothy under her wing.
These figures “are not only more sexually emancipated than their Code-bound successors, they are also unapologetically independent and skeptical of or outright rejecting norms and institutions like marriage in ways that are not punishing,” writes Loayza.
If you are in New York: ONE film series at the Museum of Modern Art screening some headers before this Code.
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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/briefing/nfl-head-coach-brian-flores-racism.html NFL Race Matters – The New York Times