FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA NOTES & QUOTES; WEEK 13
Dungy on State of Minority Head Coaches in College Football: “Disgraceful.”
Collinsworth on Concussions: “Roger Goodell wants to make it his legacy that player safety will come first and foremost.”
NEW YORK – December 6, 2009 – Following are highlights from NBC Sports’ “Football Night in America.” Bob Costas hosted the show live from University of Phoenix Stadium. He was joined on site for commentary by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-hosts Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and reporter Peter King were live from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios, covering the news of the NFL’s 13th week. Tiki Barber reported from Giants Stadium, site of the Cowboys-Giants game.
Bob Costas, Dan Patrick and Tony Dungy addressed the issue of minority head coaches in college football and its impact on the NFL.
In 2007, at Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith became the first two African-American coaches to lead teams to the Super Bowl. It was a milestone moment heralded as a triumph in a long uphill climb for minorities in sports, but three years later, the situation in “college” football lags far behind.
Of the 32 teams in the NFL, seven currently have African-American coaches and last year of course, Mike Tomlin became the second – after Tony Dungy – to win a Super Bowl title. Advancement for these coaches in the pros has been due in no small part to the “Rooney Rule,” long advocated by Steelers owner Dan Rooney, and established by the league in 2003. It requires all teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operations openings.
So in the NFL, there’s substantial progress. But in the college game, it’s a much different story. Roughly 48 percent of players are African-American. But out of the 120 bowl eligible schools, just seven have African-American coaches – that’s roughly six percent — and of the 65 teams in the major conferences whose champions automatically qualify for BCS bowl games, there is only one African-American coach — Miami’s Randy Shannon.
There’s also been virtually no sign of change. In the last two off-seasons, there have been a total of 22 job openings at these schools. All were filled by white candidates. Even teams looking for a fresh face have failed to break the status quo. Of the 11 jobs filled in the past year, nine of the new coaches had never led a top-level program before.
There has been talk of implementing the equivalent of a Rooney Rule in the college ranks, but in the meantime, many of the most qualified minority candidates have focused on building NFL resumes. Mike Tomlin, for example, wasn’t even granted an interview in his pursuit of a college job but he found a path paved for minority candidacy when he turned to the NFL. And two years after the Steelers hired him, Tomlin won the Super Bowl.
Until real change is implemented, and real progress made, the odds of that scenario repeating itself at a collegiate national championship game anytime soon seem slim.
PATRICK TO DUNGY
Is this anything other than institutionalized racism?
The numbers would tell you that it is. Of the BCS schools…one minority coach out of 65 in 2009. That is disgraceful.
You have a guy like Mike Tomlin. You recommended him to at least one BCS school.
One BCS school where I knew the athletic director personally. Mike Tomlin was the defensive coordinator with the Vikings. I said this is a guy you need to talk to. Mike didn’t even get an interview. A month later, he’s the head coach of the Steelers. That’s the difference between the NCAA and the NFL right now.
You find with a lot of African-American assistant coaches that they will talk about this glass ceiling, that you’ll only go so far, that you’re not going to be promoted to head coach. And then they’ll go to the NFL. They have an easier chance of being an NFL head coach than a college coach?
That’s what people think. The colleges are losing a lot of good minority coaches to the NFL because of that. Raheem Morris was a defensive coordinator for Kansas State. He left there to be a position coach in the NFL feeling like he had a better chance for advancement.
It lies with the presidents. I was at an athletic directors meeting in Indianapolis and they told me all about boosters and alumni and all the different people that go into the decision making. But it comes down to the presidents. They are the leaders of these universities. They’ve got to step up and say, ‘We’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to hire qualified people. We’re going to hire the best man for the job regardless of what boosters or anyone else has to say.’
What’s the pecking order in power here?
I know boosters have a lot to do with it and contribute a lot of money. But the president still is in charge of the university. He’s got to step forward and so far they have not done that. Next month, a lot of changes will happen in college football jobs. We have to see what’s going to happen.
ON REDSKINS KICKER
Dungy: “I’d have to cut him before he cost me my job but it may be too late for that.”
Harrison: “You’ve got to cut him.”
Harrison on the Patriots: “I don’t recognize these guys.”
Dungy: “Bad football can also be coaching decisions. They had the chance to kick a field goal. They went for it on fourth down. Taking points when it’s going to be a tight game is the way to go…I would have kicked the field goal knowing it’s going to be a low-scoring game.”
Olbermann on Brady’s final interception: “Channing Crowder sees the pressure and ends the game. That’s good Crowder.”
Dungy: “As a coach, you really couldn’t afford to listen to the player. Every player came to me and said, ‘I can play.’…That’s why they take that baseline test. But even now, I know players who are fudging that test, sandbagging it so in case they get a concussion they’ll be able to come back. It doesn’t make sense.”
ON MICHAEL VICK
Dungy on Vick throwing more: “That could be coming. Mike has told me for several weeks that they have more stuff in that they haven’t used. I felt Andy would give him a chance to do some things in Atlanta. I also think he’s setting some things up for defenses having to worry about down this playoff stretch.”
King on speaking to him after the game: “Extremely emotional…I thought he was going to start bawling when we were on the phone because, you didn’t hear this today, but in the Georgia Dome, there was a chant after the early boos, ‘We want Mike. We want Mike.’ He said it totally blew him away, gave him Goosebumps. One of the best days of his life.”
Collinsworth: “It’s almost unbelievable what’s happened to this football team.”
Harrison: “The secondary is just playing terrible. The safeties have all the interceptions. The cornerbacks aren’t playing very well. They’re blowing fourth quarter leads. They allowed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter today alone.”
ON THE GIANTS
Olbermann: “As the Cowboys visited the floundering Giants the question was, which would be a pile of rubble first? Giants Stadium or the Giants?”
COLLINSWORTH INTERVIEWS FAVRE: Cris Collinsworth interviewed Vikings QB Brett Favre in prior to the game.
ON HAVING FUN
Well, I don’t think you can fake it for too long. I’ve never wanted to play the game and be fake. I can never guarantee I’ll be good, but as long as I play, I can guarantee I’ll have enthusiasm and passion for the game. You can’t fake the passion. And more than anything, I think people and teammates respect that.
ON PLAYING IN HIS 283RD CONSECUTIVE GAME, A RECORD
It means a lot. If you had asked me before I joined Atlanta or Green Bay way back when, “Okay, you’re gonna start. How many games you think you’ll play?” I say, “I’ll play forever.” You know, I’m tough. It’s pretty hard. I mean, a lot of luck is involved. It’s not that I haven’t had injuries. I was pretty naive back then. But it’s a matter of debate. I told Jim [Marshall] today, I said, “You know, you hit every play. Sometimes I hand off, and I watch. I don’t get hit. So I think for you, it’s even more amazing.” And not to mention, he played in a era with concussions? “Get back out there. We don’t want to hear it.”
ON THE PACKERS SENDING HIM TO THE JETS AGAINST HIS WILL
I don’t want it to sound like, “Oh, okay, I’ll go to the Jets.”…But it made more sense for me to go to Minnesota. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that…it wouldn’t have stung on either side if there would’ve been a mutual agreement. So let me go in whatever direction I choose. But that was not the case. That’s what really stung. It wasn’t that, “What, they don’t want me?” That was okay. “But we don’t want you to play at certain places.” That stung a little bit.
It’s funny because I like to do crossword puzzles. Ever since I quit drinking12 years ago, I started doing crossword puzzles. And after that deal came out, right at the end of camp, “schism” — not real sure what that means. But (laughs) doesn’t sound like it’s good. I get it in one of my crossword puzzles. The clue was, like, “Church separation. I got a couple of the other ones around it, and I’m like, “Is this what I think it is?” Sure enough, it was schism. So, if anything, it helped me in my crossword puzzles.
ON THE 49ERS GAME-WINNING TD
The schism was over. If there was not enough pressure as it was, as I’m droppin’ back, I’m thinkin’, “This is your chance to end the schism.”
If I had to make that pass again, I think 10 out of 10, it doesn’t work. We probably won’t even get there. So many things can happen. But the stars were in line. And, , I’m thankful for that. But, yeah, I think that ended the schism.
I have no idea what Brett Favre will do…I wouldn’t say confused. This year has been great, obviously. The expectation level’s high. And I also know how quickly physically, after last year, it can go down. I’m not 30. Little things that I used to recover (SNAP) from just like that. I go out Wednesday and I’m like, “Oh boy, arm feels great but the rest of me feels terrible.” I’d be a fool to think next year, I’ll recover quicker. So I’m trying to give everything I can each week, and hopefully at the end of this year we achieve the ultimate goal. That would make my decision a little easier. [You would walk then?] I hope I have that decision to make.”