View Full Version : GRETZ: Forward Movement

01-31-2007, 02:59 PM
GRETZ: Forward Movement
Jan 31, 2007, 3:59:18 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

I think this is the last time I’ll have to write about this subject.

For the first time in 41 Super Bowls a team led by a black coach – and in this case minority coaches lead both teams – will take part in the NFL championship game.

Like many themes during the week of the Super Bowl, this one will be hammered over and over until everyone has grown tired of the thought. That’s OK; because hopefully this is the final time the subject will be considered newsworthy. From here on out, everyone will carry the label NFL head coach. The color of his skin will no longer be part of the designation.

Several events in the last month have re-affirmed the notion that race as a factor in holding an NFL head-coaching job has all but disappeared. Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith have taken their teams to the championship game … Art Shell and Denny Green were fired in Oakland and Arizona because their teams could not win, not because of the color of their skin … Mike Tomlin was hired as the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers not because of the color of his skin, but because he impressed Steelers ownership and officials with his ideas and attitude.

Sports have always been one area of our society where opportunity and integration have been visible. Sometimes the progress doesn’t always come fast, but eventually it arrives because ultimately professional athletics is about the best competing against the best. There’s no color, origin or religion in being the best. Pursuit of victory these days will trump any sort of racism.

Amazingly, such is not the case in the businesses that cover professional sports. There’s a very good story in the Chicago Tribune this week about the focus on a pair of black head coaches in the Super Bowl, while the largest percentage of those writing and talking about the subject are white males.

In the previous 40 Super Bowls, only one African-American has sat in the booth doing the national broadcast of the game: Greg Gumbel handled the CBS-TV play-by-play duties in 2001 and 2004. It’s not just television either. According to the Associated Press Sports Editors group, only seven percent of the country’s sportswriters are not white males.

Seven percent. That’s the way it used to be in the NFL some 25 years ago. Just ask Dungy. He talked last week about when he got his first job coaching in the NFL, back in 1981 on Chuck Noll’s staff with the Steelers. He was one of 19 black assistant coaches among the 28 NFL teams. There were no black head coaches.

“I’ve had the chance to think about those guys that were coaching in the league then and the trail that they blazed for all of us,” Dungy said. “Guys like Earnel Durden and Jimmy Raye and Lionel Taylor.”

Check the list of black assistant coaches in 1981 and 2006 and the progress is obvious:

A word on the coaching totals: the number of coaches includes the head coach. It also includes those designated as offensive or defensive assistants. It does not include strength and conditioning coaches or those carrying the designation of special assignment coach. Clyde Powers in Baltimore and Romeo Crennel with the New York Giants both carried the title of special assignments coach in the 1981 season.

The number of coaching jobs has doubled in the last 25 years, while the league has grown by four teams from the 28 that were in place back in 1981. The number of black coaches increased nine times. In other numbers, back in ‘81, black coaches were just seven percent of the work force. Now, they are 32 percent. Twenty-five years and a 25 percent increase.

The growth is obvious. So is the fact that men like Dungy and Herm Edwards stepped into their current jobs not because of their color, but their success. What Dungy did in Tampa and what Edwards did with the Jets proved their ability to handle the job.

Now, thankfully, there should be no more questions, no more doubts. Good coaches come in all colors.

01-31-2007, 03:08 PM
Once again Gretz informs us all with already known information.

01-31-2007, 03:10 PM
Once again Gretz informs us all with already known information.

There's a great many fans, including some that post right here, that feel most of these coaches got their jobs solely because of their skin color.

01-31-2007, 03:32 PM
Im one..

01-31-2007, 04:18 PM
why hasn't affirmative action kicked in. :rolleyes:

01-31-2007, 05:37 PM
blah blah blah another boring article by Gretz

01-31-2007, 05:41 PM
once again journalists continueing to hammer out stories that should be non-stories.

Can we ever just get past this whole race thing?? Stop writing stories about it and dragging it out...

Nobody cares! They are NFL coaches period. Fans could care less what their race it. Its all about winning.

BTW.......how come no one ever complains about the lack of Asian and Hispanic head coaches in the league??