Every offseason, several teams in the National Football League (NFL) make coaching changes. Whether because of retirement or a firing, there is seemingly a never-ending carousel of coaching jobs available immediately following the end of each NFL season.
This offseason, there were nine teams that made head coaching changes. Those teams were the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos.
One firing that made headlines was with the Miami Dolphins and their former Head Coach, Brian Flores. The Dolphins fired Flores after three seasons and a 24-25 record, including a 9-8 season in 2021.
“Flores’s tenure ended controversially,” said sophomore Ethan Dubrosky. “We’re going to see what really went down when the lawsuit begins in the courts.”
Flores has filed a lawsuit against the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, as well as the NFL, arguing that he was fired by the Dolphins last month and was not hired by the Giants earlier this offseason because of his race.
Minority representation in coaching positions has been a hot topic in and around the NFL recently as only 2 of the 32 head coaches in the NFL are African-American. According to NBC, 71% of the players in the NFL are African-American.
“Unfortunately, I’m not surprised with this side of racism.” said sophomore Justin Alter.
Flores was able to find a job in the NFL for this upcoming season as he was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach. This is notable because Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is one of the two black head coaches in the NFL.
The Dolphins ended up hiring Mike McDaniel as their new head coach. McDaniel has worked as an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers since 2017 and was their offensive coordinator in 2021.
“I am excited for the Dolphins after hiring McDaniel. He is a highly talented offensive mind who will provide a needed spark to the offense. The players also seem to enjoy the hiring.” said Dubrosky.
The other head coaching vacancies were filled by Nathaniel Hackett (Broncos), Lovie Smith (Texans), Doug Pederson (Jaguars), Josh McDaniels (Raiders), Dennis Allen (Saints) and Matt Eberflus (Bears)
Some hirings got significant praise, such as the Giants hiring of Brian Daboll and the Vikings hiring of Kevin O’Connell.
“I thought [hiring Daboll]was a very wise decision because he’s worked with our GM in the past, so that will help them build chemistry, which is really good for our franchise because that is what we really need.” said sophomore Molly Jacob.
O’Connell was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams the past two seasons, and is coming into Minnesota as a Super Bowl champion after the Rams defeated the Bengals in the 2022 Super Bowl.
“I love the [O’Connell] pickup,” said Alter. “I think it’s really good for the Vikings. We are talking about the offensive coordinator that won the Super Bowl.”
Some hirings were not as well received.
“Doug Pederson won’t be enough to save Jacksonville from itself. It’s doomed to fail just by the nature of the Jaguars organization.” said Dubrosky.
The Giants have also hired two female coaches this offseason, according to the New York Post. Laura Young was hired as the director of coaching operations and Angela Baker was hired as an offensive quality control coach.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” said Jacob. “It’s inspiring for me being a woman going into sports. It gives me that extra motivation that it is possible. It’s not about your gender, it’s about your love for the game.”