There was five NFL head coaching firings and vacancies this season, and four of those spots have now been filled. The Washington Redskins hired Ron Rivera; the Dallas Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy; and on Tuesday, the Giants hired Joe Judge while the Carolina Panthers hired Matt Rhule. Of the four, only Rivera is a minority, while none of the coaches are black. 

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The hires of Rivera and McCarthy are mostly indisputable; both have winning records, a resume of success, and Super Bowl appearances. Rhule is young and has shown himself adept at rebuilding college programs as a head coach. 

The hiring of Judge may have been especially frustrating for black NFL assistant coaches to see.


Judge, 38, does not have any previous head coaching experience at any level, and he has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator. Seeing Judge get hired and Rhule fills another vacancy led to sentiments of frustration among black NFL coaches, according to several reporters. 

Multiple reporters passed along messages of frustration they received from black coaches, who reportedly feel like there is a ceiling for them in the NFL.

Black coaches have long struggled to find the same opportunities their white colleagues receive, regardless of experience or success.

Since 2009, nearly 40% of head coaches hired were former offensive coordinators, and at least 77% of those offensive coordinators each season were white. During 2010, 2011 and 2016 hiring seasons, every newly hired offensive coordinator was white; and since 2009, 91% of offensive coordinator hires have been white. At this time, Bieniemy and Tampa Bay’s Byron Leftwich are the NFL’s only black offensive coordinators.

Hopefully, the NFL players union sees this as a problem and this will be an issue addressed in the offseason.