In terms of diversity, the 2020 head coaching cycle in the NFL was a complete failure.
A league where 70 percent of the players are black did not hire a single black head coach. Five teams made changes, and the number of minority head coaches remained stagnant at four, with Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic, trading the Carolina Panthers job for the Washington Redskins.
The case of Eric Bienemy was especially curious, as the offensive coordinator of the league's No. 2 offense did not get a job while Kevin Stefanski -- coordinator of the league's No. 10 offense -- did.
In total, there are three black head coaches among the league's 32, a percentage (9.38) that is not only far, far below the share of black players in the league, but below the percentage of black people among the overall United States population -- 12.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this level," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. "We have a lot of work that's gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It's clear we need to change and do something different."
The NFL enacted the Rooney Rule in 2003, requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for all head coaching and senior football operations openings. Seventeen years later, the NFL has the same number of black head coaches as it did in 2003.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for an increased minority presence on NFL coaching staffs and front offices, released a statement earlier this month calling the 2020 cycle "a blemish on the National Football League."
"We have about one-third of the coaches in the National Football League are from the minority communities," Steelers owner Art Rooney II said earlier this month. "That's really not a bad pipeline. And so, the question is, why aren't more of those people getting interviews?"
Rooney said the NFL will investigate the 2020 cycle by talking to the particulars on both sides of the interview table, and is also considering expanding the Rooney Rule to coordinator-level positions.
"There's no reason to expect we're going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes and we've already begun engaging in those changes," Goodell said. "Not just with our diversity committee, not just with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but others. And trying to figure out what steps we could take next that would lead to better outcomes."
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