As the 2018 National Football League (NFL) season comes to an end, the annual coaching cleanse is in full swing. In just this season alone, there have been seven head coaching jobs that have come to an end.
All coaches look for the opportunity to shape and coach the next championship team, and build their own dynasty. Sadly, not every team can have this, as there is only one Super Bowl champion each year. Football in its entirety is a business. Teams want to be the best year in and year out, and for coaches, this results in heartache more times than not.
The key to being successful as a coach is to win. Teams like the Broncos, Bengals, Packers, Browns, Dolphins, Jets and Cardinals all had back-to-back losing seasons. All seven of these teams fired their head coaches. According to CBS Sports, other teams, like the Ravens with Jim Harbaugh, are looking to keep their head coach in order to avoid the same crisis other teams are facing. Mike McCarthy, former head coach of the Packers, and Marvin Lewis, former head coach of the Bengals, were both fired this year after spending over a decade with their team. Both coaches had a respectable number of winning seasons, one of McCarthy’s resulting in a Super Bowl win. Sadly, they started losing, and if you lose, you’re out.
According to The New York Times, an average, 6.5 coaches have been fired every season in the NFL, many of whom are African-American. The NFL is being scrutinized for not following or enforcing the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule was put in place so that teams are required to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. At the end of the 2018 regular season, only three ethnic coaches are left in head coaching positions, when 70 percent of NFL players are African-American. Hue Jackson, Vance Joseph, Steve Wilks, Marvin Lewis, and Todd Bowles are all African American Coaches who were fired this season, leaving Ron Rivera, Anthony Lynn, and Mike Tomlin as the only ethnic coaches left in the NFL. The NFL needs to do a better job of enforcing this rule on its teams, not only to avoid scrutiny and possible lawsuit, but to keep the sport we love more diverse.
This coaching carousel isn’t just prevalent in the NFL, but in college football as well. Many teams are without a coach in all divisions of college football. Some didn’t even have a coach for their bowl game. Miami’s head coach, Mark Richt, abruptly retired a week before their bowl game after a 35-3 loss to Wisconsin, leaving Miami to have to scrounge to keep their assistant coach to stay as head, which resulted in an unwanted lawsuit and more money than they wanted to spend. On top of that, they didn’t have a coach for their bowl game.
Some teams fall under a lot of pressure for reasons that aren’t their own. Urban Meyer from Ohio State, who has led them to numerous top ten rankings and many bowl wins, is being forced to retire due to health reasons from a previous arachnoid cyst in his brain.
For some teams, this carousel can be a good thing. Appalachian State brought in former NC State offensive coordinator, Eli Drinkwitz, who has a long career of being on winning teams, and is even a possibility up for an empty NFL spot. Along with App. State, Georgia Tech has brought in Geoff Collins, a well renowned recruiting coach who has worked all along the southeast. They are looking to bring in some of the top recruits to start the rebuilding process. Texas Tech is another team who proved lucky in landing Matt Wells, two time Mountain West Coach of the Year, after they fired Kliff Kingsbury from the head coaching position.
Football is a business. You either win, or you lose your job. The NFL needs to do a better job of leading teams to hire or interview people from ethnic backgrounds. Players are so diverse themselves; this needs to follow through to the coaches and coaching staff. As for college, coaches need to hold up their contract, especially if there is one game left, instead of opting out because they have a bad record. Sports are built on integrity, drive and competitive spirit, which are sadly losing their reputation. This coaching carousel is ruining the game of football, and is not fair for players or fans.
By: Lucas Kinsey, Feature Writer