There were only three Black head coaches in the NFL in 2021, and after the firings of Brian Flores and David Culley this week, Mike Tomlin is the only remaining Black head coach in the league.
Ron Rivera and Robert Saleh are the only other minorities who are currently head coaches in the NFL. Rivera is Puerto Rican and Saleh is Lebanese.
After a slew of firings this week, there are seven head coaching vacancies; the Texans, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. It's unclear whether the Las Vegas Raiders -- set to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round -- will retain interim head coach Rich Bisaccia when their season concludes.
It's possible that some of these vacancies will be filled by Black candidates, whether they are retreads or first-time head coaches.
For example, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle is already hearing that the Texans "are targeting" Flores to replace Culley.
Meanwhile, Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press reports that teams with openings have already requested to interview other Black assistants and/or former head coaches, such as Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.
Back in May of 2020, the NFL updated The Rooney Rule to say that teams now needed to interview at least two minorities from outside their own organization when they have an opening at head coach. In October of 2021, that rule was extended to also cover openings for coordinator jobs and general manager.
As of 2020, 57.5% of players in the NFL fell under the demographic of "Black or African American." And yet, there's currently only one Black head coach.