NFL Matchup Only Time This Season Two Black Coaches Compete
For the first time this season — and maybe the last — two Black NFL coaches will compete against one another.
According to ESPN, The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off Sunday (October 16), with two Black head coaches leading their teams: the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and the Bucs’ Todd Bowles.
Despite the history being made in the matchup, Coach Bowles doesn’t put any emphasis on race.
"I have a very good relationship with Tomlin," Bowles said in a statement when asked about them being two of the league's four Black coaches. "We don't look at what color we are when we coach against each other, we just know each other.”
The other two coaches include Steve Wilks who coaches the Carolina Panthers on an interim basis this week and Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans.
"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."
Over the years, the NFL has been under scrutiny due to the underrepresentation of Black coaches in the league. ESPN states that roughly 70% of the league’s players are Black.