Coach Mike Tomlin Believes Black Coaches are Not Given a Fair Shake

Coach Mike Tomlin Believes Black Coaches are Not Given a Fair Shake
Image © Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
✍️ Written by
Kuthula Magubane
🗓 Updated
May 19th 2023

On the 22nd of January 2007, Mike Tomlin became the 16th Pittsburgh Steelers head coach. He is the 10th African American head coach in NFL history and the first in the franchise's history. Tomlin was brought in to take over for Bill Cowher, who after spending 15 years with the team decided to resign.

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Tomlin sat down with the “The Pivot” podcast and during the interview, he shared, “what inspires me as a coach, to be blunt, my failures as a player, I could never live with. I wanted to be a great player and I wasn’t; I could never get over that…”.

Prior to him getting the job with the Steelers, Tomlin had also interviewed with the Dolphins in Miami, who eventually hired Cam Cameron. The head of the Diversity Committee for the NFL is Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was the one to create the proposition for the rule, requiring teams to interview minority candidates when selecting head coaches.

A lot of people credit Mike Tomlin’s rise to the top as an NFL head coach to the Rooney Rule, but Dan Rooney himself denies this, as he had already sat down with a minority candidate before interviewing Coach Tomlin.

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