The number of black head coaches in the NFL is once again on the rise

Since the end of the NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos hired Vance Joseph and the Los Angeles Chargers hired Anthony Lynn to be their respective head coaches. Those two coaches are the latest additions to a growing number of minority coaches in the NFL.

In 2003, the NFL instituted the "Rooney Rule," requiring NFL teams to interview minority candidates for vacant head coaching positions. At the time, there was one minority head coach. Over the next eight years, that number grew, peaking in 2011 at eight. However, in recent years the number had been dropping again and there was a growing concern that the pipeline was drying up with the retirement of Tony Dungy (who had previously mentored a number of young minority coaches) and with so few minority coordinators in the NFL, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

But after dropping to just four minority coaches in 2013, the number is again rising, and is now once again back up to eight, including seven African-American coaches (continued below).


Cork Gaines/Business Insider

The biggest reason for the growing number of minority coaches appears to be patience. Teams have shown an unprecedented level of patience with minority head coaches over the last 14 years.

Not including Jospeh and Lynn, of the 11 minority coaches hired since the start of the Rooney Rule, six are still head coaches in the NFL now. That list includes Marvin Lewis who was hired prior to the 2003 season, Mike Tomlin (2007), and Ron Rivera (2011).

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