Rooney Rule Time: Tokens, anyone…

Two more games remain in the 2016 NFL Season and the coaching carousel and firing squad has already ensued. The next batch of can’t miss coordinators are on team’s in desperate need of direction, short list. But before NFL teams can hire the guy they want for the job, a minority must first be ‘interviewed’. Last season the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Duce Staley before the organization hired the guy they wanted all alone. The interview was met with league wide criticism because Staley was never considered a viable HC candidate in league circles.

A rule which once provided opportunities to minorities has become a sham that has been reduced to a box organizations check before proceeding with business as usual. Last nfl-hc-candidatesseason Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn turned down multiple HC interviews because he believed he was merely being interviewed to satisfy the Rooney quota. With another season nearly in the books the usual suspects of minority candidates will be mentioned for interviews: Cleveland Browns DC Ray Horton, Detroit Lions DC Teryl Austin, Arizona Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin, and Miami Dolphins DC Vance Joseph.

But I wonder, despite their impressive resumes will any of the gentlemen mentioned have an introductory press conference announcing them as the new head coach of your favorite team? Although I am sure there are several viable white HC candidates out there like the Atlanta Falcons Kyle Shanahan, and the Detroit Lions Jim Bob Cooter. But before HC retreads like Mike Smith, Josh McDaniels, Jon Gruden,  Tom Coughlin and Jim Schwartz get their second and third tries can a qualified minority HC get one shot?

What McDaniels has done with a Gronk-less the New England Patriots squad is nothing tom-coughlinshort of remarkable but the Belichick coach tree has not produced any winners last I checked (O’Brien, Crennel, Mangini). Shanahan offensive genius may be unrivaled, but the success Goodwin has had in the desert has largely gone ignored. Before the bidding war for a coach who missed the playoffs 4 of the 6 seasons that Gruden was in Tampa can Vance Joseph who turned the Dolphins defense into a playoff force get some consideration?

In a few short months it will be interview season in the NFL, some candidates  will be interviewed simply based on their merit while others will be interviewed to check a box. token-interviewLynn doubted the sincerity of a few front offices, will others do the same?

I have had my fare share of ‘token’ interviews and each time my optimism was met with a harsh dose of reality. It took Lynn a lot of courage to say no to being the token. Will Goodwin, Joseph, and others take that risk even if it’s the opportunity of a lifetime? Token anyone? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Texas Longhorns Reality Check

elite football coachesWhen big time college jobs become available a who’s who’s list of coaching royalty is assembled. Names like Nick Saban, Jon Gruden, Les Miles, Urban Meyer and Chip Kelly find themselves mentioned very every coaching vacancy that comes available at so called elite programs. However, the elite coaches are always missing when the school has their press conference to announce their next coach.

These coaching vacancies provide a harsh reality check to programs, boosters, and fans, letting them know that they are not as glamorous or as appealing as they had been led to believe. USC Athletic Director Pat Haden was dealt a similar reality check when their A-list of texas fightprospective hires all said no despite Haden’s promise to pay $6 Million annually. Now, don’t get me wrong Steve Sarkistan may turn out to be a home run hire but initial impressions certainly left more to be desired.

Now as the coaching carousel makes a pit stop in Austin the usual list of elite caliber coaches are mentioned to fill the vacancy. Everyone claims to have well placed sources connecting coaches like Mike McCarthy, Jim Mora, Jim Harbaugh, and even Mike Tomlin to the vacancy at the so-called most premiere college football program in the country.

hookem hornsHowever, just like small town beauty who realizes they are not the dime that they had been lead to believe, the Texas Longhorn football program is due to experience a similar fate. Despite Forbes Magazine declaring them as the highest grossing sports program in the nation, they will not be exempt from hearing the harsh two letter word N-O !!!

Once the dust has settled and the dream hires decline or uses the vacancy to get another raise or extension a la Saban, a real candidate will be welcomed with little fan fare and a few shades of disappointment.

longhorns winThe next coach of the Longhorns will likely not have won a conference championship, a National Championship, or even appeared in a BCS Bowl game.

Who fits the bill? Vanderbilt HC James Franklin? Clemson OC Chad Morris? Fresno State HC Tim Deruyter? Only time will tell. Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast