By Allan Erickson
I’ve got a few things on my mind, today. Number 1- my Carolina Panthers just made Matt Rhule the SIXTH highest-paid Head Coach in the NFL. If you’re scratching your head about that sentence, think, read it again, and act accordingly- flabbergasted. The five other head coaches with higher pay all have one thing in common, they’re Super Bowl Champions. While this is being praised in the press as a great hire by the Panthers and owner David Tepper (which I agree, in time Rhule will take the Panthers to the promised land,) the league’s “Rooney Rule” is again in the news for the wrong reasons.
Mike McCarthy, Matt Rhule, and Joe Judge have all been hired by teams this week. Joe Judge is a head coach in the NFL. Without looking it up, the average fan wouldn’t know who Joe Judge is, let alone where he came from, and now he’s the head coach of the New York Giants. Yes, they’re all coaches and have been for some time; but there’s a huge problem with these hires right now. There are currently 3 minority head coaches in the NFL – Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera, and Anthony Lynn. The problem is that there are minorities in other positions, who’ve performed tremendously in their roles this season, and aren’t being considered for open head coaching jobs in the NFL. While the league had good intentions implementing the “Rooney Rule,” it’s clearly failing the National Football League, and something needs to be done about it immediately.
Eric Bieniemy is a great offensive mind who’s worked under Andy Reid for some time; Robert Saleh is the fiery defensive coordinator for the league’s best defense in San Francisco; Byron Leftwich ran a potent offense in Tampa Bay this season, all want to be head coaches, at least they’ve publicly expressed interest, and their phones aren’t ringing. Meanwhile, McCarthy spent this season out of football, Rhule was the head coach at Baylor, and aforementioned Joe Judge is, quite frankly, a nobody in the NFL. Bieniemy, Saleh, Leftwich, and others have much better cases to be head coaches in the National Football League than a college coach, a wide receiver coach, and a coach who just got off the couch and flew into Dallas.
Again, as a Panther fan and season ticket holder, I believe in Matt Rhule. He’s a great motivator, his players will run through a brick wall for him, and he’s someone who will make the Panthers a great team. But the “Rooney Rule” was put in place to create equality throughout the NFL and promote those who have proven results. If that’s still the point of the written rule, then there’s no way in hell that Mike McCarthy and some guy named Joe Judge get head coaching opportunities over some of the great coordinators in the NFL today, who happen to be minorities. We learned a lot about the NFL today, and it hasn’t been a good lesson. The league needs to take control of the issue at hand, and create a level playing field for some of these guys who’ve expressed their interest in being head coaches somewhere, have all the accolades to earn them a job, and get passed over the way they have.
Until next time, y’all Keep Pounding.