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Mike Tomlin is Black–And It Didn’t Matter

Late last night, Mike Tomlin became just the second black head coach in NFL History to win a Super Bowl.  There was no coverage of it.  No press conference.  No discussion of it during media day or after the clock read 0:00.

Race Not an Issue

Race Not an Issue

Just two years ago, Tony Dungy became the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

In fact, Tomlin’s race didn’t seem to factor into any discussion at all by the media and fans alike.  If anything, Tomlin’s age was a bigger eye opener.  At just 36–and in his second year as head coach–Tomlin became the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl.

On NFL Network last night, Deion Sanders brought up the point that age seemed to trump race this year.  Tomlin seemed happy that his race wasn’t a significant story regarding the Super Bowl, stating, “I’ll continue to get older,  but I’ll always be black.”

In a post Barack Obama world, one would like to hope that this becomes a trend.  That a black man or woman–or any minority–can ascend to the pinnacle of their profession and the surrounding discussion  will pertain to the quality of his or her performance rather than the amount of melanin in his or her skin.

It is well known that Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney is a big Obama supporter.  He also helped usher into the league the now famous “Rooney Rule”–which states that a team with a head coaching vacancy must interview a minority for the position.  It’s certainly possible that Mike Tomlin’s race–along with his resume–helped open the head coaching door for him.  Hired just two seasons ago, it’s not abundantly clear that Tomlin was the correct choice.

In that respect, the Rooney rule worked to perfection.  It allowed a man who might otherwise get passed over for a promotion to get an extra look.  It opened the door for him–but it was Tomlin’s job to walk through it and secure the position.  And he did. And oddly enough, from that point on, race didn’t matter.

Not even after a Super Bowl victory on the first day of Black History Month.

Now that is the epitome of progress.

February 2, 2009 - Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Great post Pacman. You’re right, there really wasn’t much coverage on Tomlin being black.

    And now that I see the photo you put up, people are right, he does kind of look like Omar Epps … Q!!

    Comment by Straight Cash | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Nice one Pacman.

    Comment by flymaster1 | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks guys.

    Comment by pacman3000 | February 2, 2009 | Reply


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