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Two former HBCU football coaches are set to join NFL coaching staffs, a small but calculated step toward fulfilling the NFL’s slogans of unity, diversity, and acceptance while the league battles in court against Brian Flores.
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Tuesday that they hired HBCU Alcorn State alum, Isaac Williams, as assistant offensive line coach. Williams coached North Carolina Central University’s offensive line in the 2021 season when the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school went 6-5. Before that, he coached tight ends, offensive linemen, and was the run game coordinator for Morgan State University, another MEAC program.
Movin’ on up!
The 2021 Super Bowl champion, L.A. Rams, have also hired K.J. Black. The former offensive coordinator for the Rattlers of Florida A&M University will work as an offensive quality control assistant working with quarterbacks. Black also played college football at an HBCU, quarterbacking Prairie View A&M to the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship once upon a time.
While it’s undoubtedly good news for Coaches Black and Williams, Brian Flores is fighting so that their next move isn’t their last one.
In yet another fumbled field goal, the NFL again comes up short when it matters most.
HBCU coaches are finally getting an opportunity.
African Americans have long assumed these roles as an assistant, special team coach, offensive or defensive coordinator. Even with sustained excellence, they are still routinely overlooked and ‘under-qualified’ to become Head Coaches.
Eric Bieniemy has been the Super Bowl-winning and offensive record-smashing Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator – yet he has been embarrassingly passed over by job after job when interviewing for a Head Coaching role. Even amid litigation, Brian Flores has been hired as Pittsburgh Steelers Senior Defensive Assistant/LineBackers coach under longest-tenured Black Head Coach, Mike Tomlin.
With right-wing supporters bashing everything from half-time shows to Colin Kaepernick, a huge chunk of the NFL’s MAGA fan base at large reflects its owners who prioritize mediocre good ol’ boys over proven qualified candidates any given Sunday. Until NFL ownership, front office, and head coaching changes reflects its Black players and fan base, its slogans, much like Aaron Rodgers, will continue to say one thing and do another.