Diversity in NFL hiring circles has always been an issue. One that led to the Rooney Rule being put in place, ensuring teams interview minority candidates for every opening.
Black head coaches in particular are in the spotlight now that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is the only active one following the firings of Brian Flores and David Culley.
Winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal for any head coach. Teams seem to be a bit impatient with black head coaches if they don't have success right away. So has a black head coach ever won the Super Bowl?
How many black head coaches have won an NFL Super Bowl?
It took all the way until 2007 for a black head coach to win a Super Bowl. Tony Dungy holds that honor after his Indianapolis Colts took down the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. The Bears were coached by Lovie Smith, meaning whoever won the game was going to be the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl. The fact it took so long remains a jarring surprise and historical fact.
Two more years was all it took for another black head coach to reach the NFL mountaintop. That was Tomlin, who won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers with a 27-23 final over the Arizona Cardinals.
Dungy and Smith reaching the Super Bowl was history in itself as a black head coach had not even made it that far up until that point. Tomlin was next, followed by Jim Caldwell during Super Bowl XLIV. Caldwell, like Dungy, reached the Super Bowl leading the Colts.
NFL fans may be shocked that the total is so low. But it does start to make sense when noting the fact Tomlin remains the only active black head coach in the NFL. Minority coaches have always been at a disadvantage, seemingly on a shorter leash than their counterparts.
Flores is the most recent example of a black head coach who was fired after a winning season. Caldwell suffered a similar fate with the Detroit Lions in 2017. He had back-to-back winning seasons, only for the team to fire him and hire Matt Patricia, and the team has not recovered since.
Dungy may have set the mark much sooner if he had not been fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2001 season. Jon Gruden showed up a year later and led the team to a title. Like with the other black coaches mentioned, Dungy was fired after a winning season and a run of success.
A new black head coach will have to be hired in 2022 to become the next candidate to make history by winning a Super Bowl.