Eric Bieniemy stands with head coach Andy Reid on the sideline

Head Coach Hiring Process in NFL Needs to Change

  • Anthony Lynn
  • Black Monday
  • Coaching Cycle
  • Head Coach
  • Head Coaches
  • NFL
By Michael Pallas January 11, 2021 0 Comment
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It’s time for the NFL head coach hiring process to change and expand the candidate field to include position coaches.

During the offseason, many people had suggestions for how to fix the minority head coach hiring in the NFL. None were better than what Anthony Lynn, previously employed as the Los Angeles Chargers’ head coach, had to say.

He told CBS Radio, “I understand the progression to become a head coach, but I really believe some of our natural leaders are assistant coaches or assistant head coaches.” He also finished with this, “I just think if we open up the pool, more minorities will have opportunities and I think our chances will be better of becoming head coaches.”

He is 100% right, but how do we open up the pool? There’s one way. Change our mindset.

As Lynn said, we believe the natural progression is from position coach to coordinator to head coach. That seems logical. It’s one step leading to the next and then, leading to the final one. However, like Lynn also said in that interview, being a coordinator isn’t necessarily a great stepping stone to being a head coach.

Frankly, a position coach can show head coach qualities without ever being a coordinator. All people have to do is some extra leg work. If he was a player in the league, ask former coaches. Also ask the players he currently coaches, and ask the coordinator and head coach what they see in the position coach.

2021 interviews

In the interview process this year, there were fourteen (14) coordinators either requested, have been scheduled for, or have been interviewed already. That’s fourteen out of a group of ninety-two (92). There are over 250 position coaches that have never been coordinators, and only one was even requested (Aaron Glenn, Saints defensive backs coach, by the Jets).  That is way out of proportion.

Let’s face the facts. We have a preconceived notion about the progression to head coach in the NFL. We need to change that, and then many candidate lists will grow. It may lead to fewer failures as a result, because of more candidates being vetted/ and interviewed.

In the end, we need to expand our idea of who is and isn’t qualified. Period.

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Michael has been covering the Jets since 2015 for various blogs, and he’s the host of Bleav in Jets.


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