“The facts are, we have a broken system.” – NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent on the NFL’s minority hiring practices
“There must be a pipeline of good candidates, and that pipeline must have first-hand, hands-on exposure to those who make the decisions to hire coaches.” – Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on ways to improve minority hiring practices
“That’s fun. That’s suspenseful. Give me that, any day, over the onside kick.” – King on the proposed changes to turn the onside kick into a fourth-and-15 play
“We cannot fail this year…Those outcomes were not good for professional football. Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly.” – Vincent on the NFL’s learnings from last year’s pass interference replay-review rule
ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Offseason News and Updates; Florio & Simms on PFT Live Weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 25, 2020 – Peter King discusses minority hires in the NFL and speaks with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, and former NFL and current Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also breaks down the upcoming vote on proposed rule changes to the onside kick and the addition of the Sky Judge officiating position.
Tomorrow on NBCSN, Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico continues each weekday at Noon ET, followed by The Rich Eisen Show at 1 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Football Flex, a one-hour show featuring the most topical news and analysis from NBC Sports’ digital football content, begins daily at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide analysis and updates on PFT Live.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King on the NFL’s head coach and front office hiring practices: “What’s happening in the NFL is not right: 70 percent minority players, 13 percent minority head coaches, 6 percent minority general managers, 3 percent minority owners. What is wrong with this picture? You’re good enough to play, but not to coach, manage or own.”
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent on minority hires: “The facts are, we have a broken system…We don’t talk about it, we don’t like to talk about it.”
Vincent on the conversation surrounding minority hires: “When you talk about race, it’s disruptive. When people say, ‘Why are you injecting race into our game?’…Excuse me. Injecting? It’s who we are!…We’re a better society when we’re inclusive.”
Vincent on reasons for the recent reduction in minority hires: “Self-preservation, nepotism, and agent monopoly. Those are the realities, when you look at what has stunted the numbers. What we’ve done is, through the years, we, myself included, have allowed the self-preservation to take over. People start guarding their turf.”
King on nepotism: “Nepotism’s a tough one. Life is about connections in all businesses. But most staffs in the NFL have a coach or coaches with connections…I’m not saying what the coaches are doing is wrong. All I’m saying is it’s an advantage non-relatives do not have.”
King on former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: “When (Paul) Tagliabue took over as commissioner, there were no African-American coaches. Now 18 teams have hired at least one African-American head coach. So progress has been made. It’s been slow, but it’s not been invisible.”
Tagliabue to King: “I think there are two fundamental things needed. There must be a pipeline of good candidates, and that pipeline must have first-hand, hands-on exposure to those who make the decisions to hire coaches.”
King on Tagliabue’s suggestion: “One idea he thinks could help – but certainly not the only one: At the league meeting each year, each team brings two promising assistant coaches – some African-American, but certainly not all. Divide the coaches into four breakout sessions: 16 coaches on a panel, with eight teams (owner and GM/club president) in the audience.”
Vincent on Tagliabue’s idea: “That’s an area we need improvement in. We call that informal networking opportunities…Commissioner [Roger Goodell] has pushed us in this particular area – creating as many of those touchpoint opportunities as we can. Critical. Super critical. And we have not. We have not done that.”
King on timing of hires: “The league has to delay hiring till after the Super Bowl…Either coaches still coaching have to serve two masters and make commitments to coach-hungry teams during the playoffs, or they lose out on being head coaches.”
King: “There aren’t enough minority offensive coaching candidates to satisfy demand…The pipeline of talented young offensive minds, white and minority, needs a boost.”
Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards to King: “I know the NFL is going toward the offensive guys, but we have the same problem in the college pipeline with the young [minority] coaches.”
NFL RULE CHANGES
King on proposed rule changes to the onside kick and Sky judge: “The preseason rule passed in 2019 that made pass-interference replay-reviewable…does have something to do with the Sky Judge and the onside-kick proposals that will be heard at a special league meeting Thursday, then voted on.”
Vincent on how last year’s pass-interference rule impacts this year’s proposals: “We cannot fail this year. We saw, a year ago, when [the pass-interference rule] played out, starting with myself, what we put in place last year…Those outcomes were not good for professional football. Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly. The last thing people should be talking about is the way the game is officiated.”
King on the Sky Judge: “The coaches have been overwhelmingly in favor of an extra set of eyes in the booth…On the surface, it’s a good idea. But in calling around over the past few days, I hear the phrase ‘unintended consequences’ over and over.”
A longtime club executive to King on the Sky Judge: “My biggest concern is how often the booth official and the ref on the field will be in contact, or have conferences…The guy upstairs would need to be an experienced official, I would think, or he’d be stopping the game a lot more than the players and coaches would like.”
Vincent on potential personnel for the Sky Judge: “The concept of the eighth man in the booth has some merit. But we just don’t have the pipeline [of officials] today. Can we get there? Yes. But today, it could be a challenge.”
NBC Sunday Night Football Rules Analyst and former NFL official Terry McAulay to King: “Finding 17 people who have the skills to do the job and then clearly defining which rules can be enforced and which rules cannot be enforced are extremely problematic…Until there is a consensus on both of those issues, it would be difficult to imagine how this could be successfully implemented.”
King on the onside kick proposal: “The driving force for this is the recent futility of the onside kick…Owners will vote on a proposal to allow a team up to twice per game to follow a scoring play by running one play and trying to convert on fourth-and-15 from the offensive 25-yard line.”
King on the onside kick vote: “I think it could go either way… But I know the way I hope it’ll go. I want to see the great players on the field at the most important moment of the game…That’s fun. That’s suspenseful. Give me that, any day, over the onside kick.”
King on Joe Flacco: “Joe Flacco, neck surgery and all, seems like a marvelous fit, financial and otherwise, for the New York Jets. He may not be ready to throw at full velocity till Sept. 1 because of recent neck surgery, but Sept. 1 is not when the Jets would need him, if they do…You’re not buying a starting quarterback in Flacco. You’re buying someone who could win some games with the season on the line – because he’s won some big games in the past.”
King on ESPN’s upcoming nine-part Tom Brady documentary: “My guess is the next two months will be crucial for (filmmaker Gotham) Chopra and Brady to get a lot of the work done for the series, because Brady won’t want to take time during the season to invest in it.”
King on comparing the Brady documentary to “The Last Dance”: “Brady doesn’t seem to have the same cutthroat nature as (Michael) Jordan. Brady’s got some of it, as any high-achieving athlete must have. But I don’t think Brady has a Jerry Krause or a Horace Grant in his life.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Lunch Talk Live: NBC Sports’ hour-long, daily sports talk show, which is hosted by Mike Tirico, continues each weekday at Noon ET on NBCSN.
- The Rich Eisen Show: Rich Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, brings his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show to NBCSN on weekdays at 1 p.m. ET.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms continue to discuss offseason storylines.
- Simms Unbuttoned Podcast: Simms beings to unveil his Top 40 NFL quarterbacks, discussing Nos. 31-40 throughout the week.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.