Super Bowl LVII was a thriller involving all the drama and storytelling we have come to love in the NFL. We saw several great plays, heroism from the centre-back, and we were even awarded a controversial penalty that some feel should have been overlooked, even though it was clearly a penalty. Something else occurred in the weeks leading up to the game that feels like it should have been a bigger story than it was. Philadelphia brought in longtime defensive coordinator and ex-Denver Broncos coachVic Fangio, to help the defense prepare for their encounter with Patrick Mahomes.
At the time, there wasn’t much thought given to the situation, but looking back, there’s something odd about this setup that we could start to see more of if Roger Goodell’s office allows it to continue. We’ve seen teams bring in former coaches as consultants many times, but not in the same way Fangio did with the Eagles. The fact that Fangio had already accepted the DC job in Miami was another red flag. He was allowed to wait two weeks until the Super Bowl was over before officially signing with the dolphins.
You might be wondering why or how this could become an issue. There’s a little thing called the “Rooney Rule” that many NFL franchises love to ignore in the coaching hiring process. the eagles supposedly expressed interest in Fangio since they knew DC Jonathan Gannon would likely be up for a head coaching gig. But Fangio wasn’t waiting to see what happened and agreed to join Miami at the end of January.
So the plan to bring in the former head of Denver was in effect, and Philly would have two weeks to essentially “interview” Fangio before bringing him in as the official lead of the defense. This maneuver would have allowed the Eagles to circumvent the rule that they must interview a minority candidate. The head coach, general manager, OC, DC and now QB coach positions all fall under the umbrella of the Rooney Rule. It was changed in May 2022 to include potential QB coaches. There’s a reason this wasn’t widely publicized before the Super Bowl. It’s probably because neither Philadelphia nor the NFL wanted it open before the big game.
Don’t be surprised when this becomes the new fad way for organizations to hire new coaches without adhering to league “rules”. But the Rooney rule was always going to be difficult to apply. As long as the league commissioner is an employee of the men (NFL owners) he is “supposed” to watch over, they will continue to hire whomever they want, whenever they want, and put on a show for the league in interviews with minority candidates knowing they have no real chance. to get the job.
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It’s just another ploy by NFL owners to bypass minority coaches for head coaching jobs. Steve Wilkes did a great job at Carolina after they relieved Matt Rhule of his duties and was released after the season in favor of Frank Reich. After five years as OC in Kansas City, two Super Bowl wins and three appearances, Eric Bieniemy had to settle for making a sideline move to Washington, taking over as their new OC. Sure, he got a pay raise, but all those white coordinators get head coaching jobs after a year or two of doing almost nothing. It is blatant at this point that the owners are almost refusing to hire black/minority head coaches.
Unless you’re the Houston Texans, who are on their third black head coach in as many years after hiring the former San Francisco DC DeMeco Ryans. Hopefully he will have a real chance to build this roster, but this is the Texans. The NFL still has a long way to go to bring in more diverse head coaches and front-office employees. Yeah, you want the best person for the job, but when a guy like Nick Siriani gets a head coaching job and has never called plays as an OC, but that’s one of the reasons Bieniemy can’t be hired, it’s clear that someone (several people) don’t want him to reach the rank of head coach. Ditto for Wilkes, who got an unfair deal twice when white coaches in the same position would have ample opportunity.
Clear, Siriani tasted be a good coach, but had the opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. These other men, especially black trainers, aren’t even getting a chance to prove they can do the job.