Warren Moon spoke to a group of media at a Tristar Productions autograph signing in Houston on Saturday, February 5, 2022. He was asked about the Brian Flores lawsuit and spoke candidly about the need for more African American coaches in the NFL.
The Need for African American Head Coaches
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon spoke to the media at a Tristar Productions event in Houston on February 5, 2021. He responded to several questions, including a few regarding the recent lawsuit filed by Brian Flores, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and the low number of African American coaches in the NFL.
“I think it was something that needed to be done because it seemed like the Rooney Rule and everything else they’ve tried to do to increase the number of African-American coaches or minority coaches just wasn’t working,” said Moon, who played much of his NFL career with the Houston Oilers.
“So this is the next step to take it legally and hopefully this will ruffle some feathers and get some people’s attention that we’ve got to do something about our hiring practices in the National Football League when it comes to coaches and hopefully that will do it.”
Number of Black Coaches Down Since Warren Moon Played
Moon also pointed to the fact that the number of African American coaches has dropped dramatically. “I think we got up to as many as eight African American coaches at one time,” he said. (There were eight Black head coaches in the NFL in 2011.) “Now it’s all the way down to one.”
He added that there were more African American coaches in the NFL when he played than there are now. “So things have gotten worse,” he stated.
At the time this is being written, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is currently the only African American head coach in the National Football League. There are now three other minority head coaches: Ron Rivera, Robert Saleh, and, post-Flores lawsuit, Mike McDaniel (see below).
Moon also looked at things from a culture-building perspective. “You would think a sport that has 70 percent or more African-Americans on the team, they would want a culture builder to be another African-American man to bring these guys together.”
NFL’s Missed Opportunity
“We had nine jobs open this year,” Moon said. “You would hope and think that they were aware of that, ‘Okay, we need to do something about this problem.’ This would have been a great time to do something about it by increasing that number (of Black head coaches in the NFL).”
He noted that most of this year’s vacancies have already been filled by white coaches. “It doesn’t leave a lot of spots open for the African Americans.”
Moon pointed to the need for the NFL to examine the situation. “We’ll see what happens, we’ll see how this plays out, but the league has really got to look at this closely because it’s not working.”Embed from Getty Images
NFL Head Coach Openings
Since Flores filed the suit and Moon made his statements in Houston, Lovie Smith has reportedly become the leading candidate for the Houston Texans job. After Flores filed his lawsuit, the Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel, who identifies himself as bi-racial.
The New Orleans Saints job also remains open. All other vacancies have already been filled.
Flores was fired after guiding the Dolphins to winning seasons the past two consecutive years.
A list of open coaching slots after the 2021 NFL season:
Bears – Matt Eberflus (hired)
Broncos – Nathaniel Hackett (hired)
Texans – Josh McCown was top prospect, now Lovie Smith appears to be the new coach after Flores’ lawsuit was filed and Warren Moon made the above statements in Houston on Saturday.
Jaguars – Doug Pedersen (hired)
Raiders – Josh McDaniels (hired)
Dolphins – Mike McDaniel (hired)
Vikings – Kevin O’Connell (hired)
Saints – Open — since lawsuit filed
Giants – Brian Daboll (hired)Embed from Getty Images
Above: Brian Flores