Few were surprised when it was first reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had hired Lovie Smith to be the next head coach. However, many were surprised the deal came together so quickly and now other minority coaches will benefit greatly.
As a former head coach with a strong resume, Smith was an ideal candidate for this off-season head coaching vacancies. As an African-American, Smith would have also allowed teams to easily satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching vacancies.
Of the six coaching jobs available, Smith did interview with the Houston Texans before accepting the job with Tampa Bay. Smith could have also used the other vacancies as leverage during his negotiations with the Bucs.
Now the remaining four teams with vacancies must interview a lesser-known minority coach that may not have originally been on their radar.
In Minnesota, the Vikings will reportedly interview Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals. Perry Fewell, the defensive coordinator for the Giants will interview for the head coaching job in Cleveland. The Redskins have also asked for permission to interview Fewell. Meanwhile, the Lions will reportedly interview Ravens offensive coordinator and former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell.
Even if the teams have no plans to hire those coaches, the experience will benefit them down the road and just having their name associated with an opening puts them on the radar for future jobs.
More importantly, if any of the coaches are not the first choice entering the interview, they now have a chance to wow those teams, change their minds, and maybe win the job.
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