The NFL should ensure that the limited opportunities to lead and shape the football activities of its franchises are available to all those who have the qualifications and resume. The recent firings of certain NFL coaches reduces the number of minority to coaches to 3, which is not statistically aligned to the percentage of minorities that make up the players that play for them.
The most qualified person should get any job, whether it is leading an NFL team, a business, or an organization. But, the process where decision makers source candidates may not be inclusive for all those with the resume and experience needed for the job. Ideally, decision makers would build a diverse enough pool of candidates for consideration to ensure they truly found the right candidate.
From an outside perspective, many NFL teams appear to identify a select few of head coaching candidates and focus efforts to land the top ranked candidate. For instance, the Miami Dolphins went all in on bringing in Adam Gase, a candidate many across the league had on their short list. A mere three years later he is once again available. In reality, the only coach still employed in the class is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who was the least heralded hire and only Super Bowl winning coach.
For the four coaches listed in the ESPN article, there should not be any surprise with the teams’ decisions. The coaches clearly under-performed and did not produce the desired results. There really is not a strong argument for continuing the relationships when Super Bowl victories are not in the forecast. While the results are not completely up to the coaching staff, the head coach is the one burdened with responsibility of the outcomes. The job security risk comes with the job description.
The focus needs to be on identifying effective ways for NFL teams to diversify their candidate pools so that minority candidates have fair access to elite positions. There is difficulty in forcing organizations to not zero in on a single candidate, but more likely than not, that person will not be the right one. The NFL needs to find ways to prevent teams from giving token interviews in favor of substantive evaluations of candidates record and potential.
The best people should get the jobs. The process needs to ensure organizations are able to see the best candidates.