TAMPA — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was not satisfied with this year’s head coaching hiring cycle, a year after he pledged to increase diversity in the role.
Just one of the league’s vacant head coaching positions went to a diverse candidate this year, with the New York Jets hiring former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The league unveiled a plan in November to boost diversity among head coaches and executive staff.
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“It wasn’t what we expected and it’s not what we expect going forward,” Goodell told reporters at his annual State of the League news conference ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Florida.
“For us, we want to continue to look and see what went right, what went wrong,” he added. “That has to happen with individual discussions with candidates – both successful and unsuccessful candidates – the clubs, and try to understand exactly what went right and what went wrong.
“They’re not the outcomes we wanted.”
Among notable snubs during the hiring cycle, an annual period during which low-performing teams look to appoint new leadership, was Eric Bieniemy, the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator who has now led the team to two consecutive Super Bowls and was once seen as a prime candidate to pick up a head coaching job.
Head coach Andy Reid told reporters this week he was “curious” to know why Bieniemy, who is Black, was passed over.
“This guy doesn’t miss a beat,” said Reid.
“So, I don’t understand everything, I’m not an owner, I don’t sit in those meetings to interview head coaches, but I would just tell you that whoever gets him whenever they get him will be very, very lucky.” (Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond/Peter Rutherford)
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