Browns’ Hire Adds to Concern Over Lack of Black NFL Head Coaches

Kevin Stefanski Browns Head Coach

Getty Former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski

Kevin Stefanski will be hired as the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

According to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator will claim the head coaching position in Cleveland and look to jump-start an offense that failed to meet many people’s expectations in 2019.

The Browns hire fills the last head coaching vacancy of this year’s coaching cycle and many NFL personnel are upset at the lack of diversity being represented in these head coaching positions.

Newly-appointed Washington Redskins head coach, Ron Rivera, was the only minority head-coaching candidate hired in this cycle and not one black coach was given an opportunity to resurrect a team as the leader on the sidelines.


NFL Coaching Diversity by the Numbers

The NFL currently has only three black head coaches employed. Those coaches are Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This equates to only nine percent of black head coaches in a league that has close to 70 percent black players. The discrepancy is alarming for many around the league.

According to a study by the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State, black coaching candidates are held to a higher standard when it comes to their football experience.

All of the head coaches of color hired since the 2009 season had documented previous playing experience in either the college or professional level. This was compared to only 91% of white head coaches having those same credentials.

Those study also says those same white head coaches are hired at younger ages than minority coaches.

Black head coaches were hired at an average age of 51.2 years compared to white coaches who were hired at an average age of 48.4.


Why Is This a Problem?

For many around the league, there is a feeling that black coaches are not being awarded the same opportunities as white coaches, as NFL.com’s Jim Trotter detailed.

The hiring of former Patriots wide receiver coach Joe Judge to coach the New York Giants was one of the most controversial hires of the offseason. Many feel that a black coach would not have been awarded the opportunity to become a head coach without first becoming at least a coordinator.

The numbers support this discrepancy.

As of the 2018 season, 12 NFL teams had not hired a minority head coach in close to ten years.

These teams were the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Redskins.

However, a few of these organizations had head coaches who were hired before the 2009 season and just never left their position.

An even more stunning statistic shows that four NFL teams have not hired a minority head coach, offensive coordinator, or defensive coordinator since the 2009 season.

These teams are the Cowboys, Rams, Patriots and Saints.

For some, the discrepancy between opportunity for black coaches and white coaches in the NFL is starting to draw a black cloud over the sport.

In an evolving social climate that is rightfully looking for equality in every hiring practice, the NFL is starting to stick out like a sore thumb. The league must find a way to employ more black head coaches or it will continue to face backlash.