February 4th, 2007 08:52 EST
Battle for coaching equality can finally end
This achievement is outstanding for Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith. It is terrific that black coaches have proven themselves equal if not superior in their industry. However, why does it seem like everyone wants to look at Dungy and Smith and complain?
I feel like Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are two of the best coaches in the league, and their results exhibit this. Marvin Lewis has done a marvelous job in Cincinnati, and Dennis Green has been a sought after coach for years. Herman Edwards was largely successful in New York and made the playoffs with Kansas City this year.
There were four black head coaches in the playoffs, out of twelve teams. Is that equal? Obviously not, but neither is the proportion of black players to white. Football is based on performance. Why would a team hire anyone based on the color of their skin? If a white candidate is more deserving than any black candidate on the market, a team should not be required to interview a candidate they are not going to hire.
Still, black coaching evangelists like Stephen A. Smith, Jason Whitlock, Scoop Jackson and Saunders cannot be satisfied when black coaches are given what could be seen as an advantage in getting head coaching jobs.
Mike Tomlin has secured the Steelers job; Mike Singletary appears to be in line for a head coaching position in the near future. When owners make a hire, they do it to win, not to be activists. Those who hire white coaches do it to win, not to be racist.
“Remember the Titans” is possibly the greatest sports movie of the past twenty years, and a terrific portrayal of the challenges of integration through the world of sports. Today, a black head coach will win the Super Bowl, the ultimate pinnacle of the climb pioneered by Denzel Washington’s real life character at T.C. Williams High School.
However, there will be no corrupt political schemes amongst referees. There is and was no controversy over the adequacy of the coach. And as I watched the movie last night, it reminded me of the beginning of this struggle that is now all but obsolete.
The integration of football coaching may have been slower than some other industries, but the process will be rightfully completed tonight, if it had not been already. The preaching and complaining can stop. The “Rooney Rule” can be an afterthought.
Tonight, a black coach will lift the Lombardi Trophy, and surely the race card will be played up by television announcers and newspaper columnists all over the country.
Maybe next time a coach is hired, he can be looked at for his name and career. Maybe next time a black coach is in the Super Bowl, we can focus on his strategy and record, instead of ethnicity. Maybe there will not be a single column on the topic of race in sports next time a black coach lifts a finger. Maybe Stephen A. Smith can analyze a story without quoting Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe, just maybe, the sports world can finally recognize equality.