By Alvin A. Reid
The NFL season opens on Thursday night, Sept. 8, 2002, with three Black head coaches. That is three out of 32. The league can talk all the diversity it wants, but it doesn’t show up when it comes to the head guy on the sideline.
Mike Tomlin, the dean of Black NFL head coaches, is entering his 15th year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has never posted a losing record, and his team is predicted to reach the postseason.
Every game lost by the Steelers is an opportunity for the Tomlin haters to jump out of their holes and talk ‘he should be fired’ nonsense. Among them is Hall of Fame quarterback and all-around buffoon Terry Bradshaw.
Tomlin keeps winning, keeps the Steelers relevant, and keeps plugging for an elusive second Super Bowl title.
As training camp rolled on, Tomlin did not name his starting quarterback and toyed with media members trying to stir up trouble. “Quite frankly, we will give that information at our leisure,” Tomlin said defiantly.
The Steelers signed free-agent Mitch Trubisky, and then drafted former Pitt star QB Kenny Pickett. Pickett played well in the preseason, as did Trubisky. While other coaches could have let this so-called drama get out of control Tomlin was in command.
On Tuesday he announced, “Mitch Trubisky is our starting quarterback and our captain. We’re really comfortable with what Mitch has shown us.”
Todd Bowles takes over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after Bruce Arians retired/was forced out by Tom Brady/quit following a divisional round playoff loss to the L.A. Rams.
Brady booked on his team for a couple of weeks during training camp to take care of “personal stuff.”
I wish Bowles had more to say on that, but he let it go. That was in his best interest, seeing that he is one of three Black head coaches in the entire league.
In an interview that will air before the Sunday night game featuring Tampa Bay at Dallas, Bowles tells former NFL head coach and Super Bowl champion Tony Dungy, he thinks Brady bolting, “was a good thing.”
“It kind of helped us develop our run game a little more. And we figured out that we’re a team and not just one guy and a team,” Bowles said.
A familiar face, although he now sports a white beard like Santa Claus, is in charge of the lowly Houston Texans.
Lovie Smith won a Super Bowl as the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator and took the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl before losing to Dungy’s Indianapolis Colts.
He was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach following the Texans’ disastrous 2021 season. Gone now is quarterback Deshaun Watson and all the controversy that surrounded him. It has moved to Cleveland.
But Smith is left with the worst team in the NFL, and he will be lucky to win more than three games.
“Any of us that were here last year remember what happened and we feel like as coaches we’ve addressed all those issues that we had,” Smith said.
“Now it’s about doing it. If a player is still here right now, we feel like they buy in to what we needed to do to catch the people that went ahead of us. I think it’s as simple as that.”
Good luck, dude, you will need it.
The Reid Roundup
Konnor McClain, Shilese Jones and Jordan Chiles made history on August 21, 2022, at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Tampa, Florida. The trio became the first ever set of Black women to share the podium in the 59-year history of the event. McClain, 17, Jones, 20, and Chiles, 21, won gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively. They will next compete at the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships, beginning Oct 29 in Liverpool, England…Hugh Evans, a highly respected NBA referee who worked from 1972 to 2001, was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last weekend. He is the 17th referee to receive the honor, and just the seventh to be enshrined for his work in the NBA…Thirty-seven years after moving on to the NFL without graduating from Temple University, Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles fulfilled a promise to his late mother and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland last week. According to the university, Bowles began taking online courses in the summer of 2020.