Even when you’re twice – and sometimes three times – as good, it still doesn’t matter. Because in the NFL, owners would rather lose with someone that looks like them instead of winning with a Black head coach.
“Black Monday” is here, as the day after the regular season concludes has become an annual tradition in which multiple head coaches get served their walking papers. We already knew that coaching changes would be taking place in Denver, Jacksonville, and Las Vegas, due to reports that Vic Fangio was done with the Broncos before Monday even began, Urban Meyer being fired last month, and Jon Gruden’s resignation in October. Matt Nagy (Chicago), Mike Zimmer (Minnesota), and Brian Flores (Miami) also lost their jobs this Monday morning.
But, this column isn’t about the guys that will get fired this week. It’s about all the ones that should get hired but might not because NFL owners are fixated on giving mediocre white coaches countless opportunities to prove that they’re mediocre, or obsessed with younger white coaches with paper-thin resumes.
Enter Bill O’Brien and Kellen Moore.
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According to reports, O’Brien is being targeted for the offensive coordinator position with the Carolina Panthers, as well as the head coaching vacancy in Jacksonville.
White men always get to fail up.
In case you forgot, the last time O’Brien was an NFL head coach things went terribly wrong. Because despite his 52-48 record during the regular season, the Texans were 2-4 under him in the postseason, as O’Brien repeatedly wasted the talents of J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, and DeAndre Hopkins.
During his tenure in Houston, O’Brien traded away Jadeveon Clowney, gave Miami two first-round picks and a second-round pick for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, and got rid of DeAndre Hopkins – one of the best wide receivers in the league. And if that wasn’t bad enough, O’Brien allegedly made insensitive comments to DeAndre Hopkins during a meeting about his “baby mamas” – coded language that’s negatively used to describe Black people, and had a “verbal blowup at practice” with Watt because the coach had “lost the team.”
But yet, somehow people think that O’Brien deserves to be back in the NFL because he’s in charge of a loaded and ridiculously-talented offense at Alabama that basically runs itself.
Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is also being interviewed by the Jaguars, which was destined to happen in September when ESPN analysts were trying to jump him to the front of the line just three weeks into the season.
“This is a guy whose name you’re gonna hear when people are interviewing for head coaches next January,” ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano said of Moore on Max Kellerman’s This Just In, as the chyron at the bottom of the screen for the segment read, “Chances Kellen Moore is offered a head coach position in NFL.”
“Kellen Moore’s play-calling with the zone scheme, and the different schemes they have, for their offensive line … He’s putting the game in the hands of the quarterback, which is what you want when you’re on the field,” added Jeff Saturday.
Ironically enough, the last two offensive coordinators that have won Super Bowls could make it back there, as Eric Bieniemy’s Kansas City offense is the No. 2 seed in the AFC, while Byron Leftwich’s Tampa Bay offense is the second seed in the NFC.
But, you need more than a shiny resume and adulation from your players and coaches when you’re Black to get a head coaching job in the NFL. That’s just the way it is.
And while Bieniemy and Leftwich have been reported as targets for positions and will also get interviewed, there’s nothing different about this year than the previous ones that left them without head coaching jobs. But, what do you expect from a league that’s run by owners that showed us their hands weeks – and months – ago, as they’d rather lose with the ones they “feel more comfortable with” than invest in “diversity.”
Black Monday may be a gloomy day for white coaches, but it’s just another day of the week for the Black ones.