TAN makes jokes and broad sweeping generalizations in Shirts & Skins, his weekly exploration of race and sports. His opinions, like this tagline, may change at any moment.
Is there a more beloved head coach in professional sports than Tony Dungy?
Belichick may be a genius, but falls short on the love meter. Ditto Phil Jackson. Joe Torre was beloved, but the bloom is surely off that rose as he heads to LA, Land of Apathetic fans.
But everyone loves Tony (except the gays). And the decision of The Greatest Black NFL Coach Ever to spend at least one more year steering the Colts, along with the recent MLK holiday, and the arrival of the first black GM in the Super Bowl, and, like, Obama, has that sweet smell of melanin in the air. We are living the dream. Holla!
The interesting sidebar to Dungy's Deal or No Deal drama was learning Jim Caldwell, black man, would assuredly be the next coach after him. That would make Caldwell, who's been with him since the TB days, the first "legacy hire" for black head coaches. The minority "old boys network" just put down their first NFL power move! We're moving Jimmy in, and that's that. The ROC is in the building!
It was only a few years ago (2003) that the NFL felt they had to exercise The Rooney Rule, the NFL's affirmative action coaching policy, and fine the Detroit Lions for not interviewing a minority candidate. Now we're up in Super Bowls, and two black assistant coaches you probably never heard of (Tomlin, Caldwell) have come out of nowhere to land high profile gigs. So what does this mean for The Rooney Rule? If black head coaches are starting to walk on their own, is it time to lose the crutches?
This week we're doing a Rooney Review to determine if we are in need of Rooney Reform. There will be other "R" words. We'll also figure out how to tie Tony Dungy back in since that's what I used to lead off this column. After the jump sexy words and exclamation points about NFL affirmative-action policy making. Aw yeah ...
Shirts & Skins: Long Live The Rooney Rule [AOL Fanhouse]