Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Todd Bowles makes light of consideration on coaching matchup with Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles on Wednesday made light of the consideration on his upcoming coaching matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, one of the few games this season that will feature two Black head coaches.
“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin,” Bowles said Wednesday when asked about them being two of the league’s four Black coaches, a group that now includes Steve Wilks, who replaced the fired Matt Rhule on an interim basis this week in Carolina. “We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other, we just know each other.
“I have a lot of very good white friends that coach in this league as well, and I don’t think it’s a big deal as far as us coaching against each other, I think it’s normal. Wilks got an opportunity to do a good job, hopefully he does it. And we coach ball, we don’t look at color.”
Bowles then, at that point, was gotten some information about the effect of portrayal and how it affects hopeful coaches who are minorities to see NFL coaches who “looks like them” and perhaps “grew up like them.”
“Well, when you say, ‘They see you guys,’ and ‘look like them and grew up like them,’ it means that we’re oddballs to begin with,” Bowles said. “I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well.”
The NFL has gone under expanded scrutiny in recent years for its absence of Black head coaches when generally 70% of the league’s players are Black. Following Wilks’ promotion, there are four active NFL head coaches who are Black: Wilks, Bowles, Tomlin and Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans. Beside those four, three extra head coaches are people of color: the Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel, who is biracial; the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent; and the Washington Commandants’ Ron Rivera, who is Latino.
In February, former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and a few teams charging racial discrimination in its hiring practices. Wilks, who was the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach for one season in 2018, and Ray Horton, a NFL collaborator starting around 1994 who interviewed for the Tennessee Titans’ head-coaching job in 2016, later joined Flores’ suit as plaintiffs.