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  • Two black coaches make the Super Bowl

    CHICAGO (Jan. 21, 2007) -- It took 41 years for a black head coach to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.



    Lovie Smith did it Jan. 21 on a snowy afternoon in Chicago. Four hours later, his good pal and mentor Tony Dungy joined him. Not one, but two black coaches meeting in the nation's biggest sporting spectacle.

    It's historic. And it's about time.

    Change has come appallingly slow. But now two of the most decent, deserving men have pushed the NFL forward.

    And that is a very good thing.

    "It means a lot," Dungy said after his Indianapolis Colts beat New England 38-34 in the AFC title game. "I'm very proud of being an African-American. I'm very proud of Lovie."

    And Smith equally so of Dungy.

    "We have to play someone and, in my perfect world, I would like to see the Colts be that team," Smith said after his Chicago Bears pummeled the New Orleans Saints 39-14.

    "Tony Dungy has done an awful lot for our game," Smith said. "He hasn't had a chance to coach in the Super Bowl. I would love to see it."

    Now he will.

    It wasn't all that long ago that the NFL's best jobs were off-limits to blacks. Never mind that three-quarters of the league's rosters were filled with black players. Or that there were qualified black assistants. When the time came to hire a new coach, they were passed over, time and again.

    Meanwhile, white coaches who had done little to distinguish themselves in their previous jobs got additional chances. It was the old boys' network at its worst.

    There's been some progress over the last two decades. It's been far slower than it should have been, and it took an active hand by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue to pull it along.

    Art Shell and Dennis Green paved the way in the modern era, and Dungy took it a step further. Low key and humble, he would never be the type to grandstand and bluster about injustice. But he was honest about the league's inequalities, and knew that his success would go a long way in opening doors for others.

    One of those would be Smith, Dungy's protege in Tampa Bay. He, too, led by example.

    When the Bears and Colts take the field in Miami on Feb. 4, men of color who dream of being in the center on the grandest stages will see that the door has been blown wide open. Men of color who have been held back, told in words or deeds that they weren't good enough, will have not one, but two role models as they fight for equal footing.

    "Being the first black coach to lead this team, of course our players knew about it and they wanted to help us make history," Smith said. "So I feel blessed to be in that position.

    "I'll feel even better to be the first black coach to hold up the world championship trophy."

    If he doesn't, at least he'll have the consolation of knowing Dungy will.

    Whether he wanted to be or not, Dungy has long been the standard bearer for minority coaches. He was just 25 when he became the NFL's youngest assistant, taking a job on Chuck Noll's Pittsburgh staff. Three years later, he was the defensive coordinator and the odds-on favorite to advance.

    Oh, he got plenty of interviews. But somebody else -- somebody white -- always got the job.

    Smith's odyssey was equally bumpy: Tulsa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Tampa Bay, St. Louis. Those were only a few of the stops he made in his 20-year journey to become a head coach.

    Did both deserve shots before they were hired, Dungy by Tampa Bay in 1996 and Smith by Chicago in January 2004? Certainly. But instead of whining about life being unfair, they have done their part to make sure those who come after them will have an easier path.

    "When you have an opportunity like this, of course you want to take advantage of it," Bears running back Thomas Jones said. "Any time you're the first person to do anything, regardless of your race or anything like that, it's special."

    Smith and Dungy know the responsibility they carry. Unlike baseball or basketball, it is still news when a team hires a black coach in the NFL. Even bigger news when a black man is hired to run the front office.

    With every big victory, they remove another thorn of prejudice.

    "I'm happy for both coaches," Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said. "I hope we get to the point we don't have to hear about it."

    The day when a coach's skin is no longer an issue isn't here yet. But by making history together, Smith and Dungy have brought it a little closer.


  • #2
    Pretty sad that this has to come up, hopefully in the near future it will go away.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      who cares if theres 2 black, white, chinese, arab or whatever coaches in the superbowl. fact is that dungy and smith are great COACHES, has nothing to do with race and it shouldnt even be an issue

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BIG HOUSE
        who cares if theres 2 black, white, chinese, arab or whatever coaches in the superbowl. fact is that dungy and smith are great COACHES, has nothing to do with race and it shouldnt even be an issue
        I agree! It should be based on who can do the job.



        ----------------------------------------------
        I work at Vanderbilt University

        Where Jay Graduated!


        I tell you I love Elway! He was my hero growing up. I loved the way he threw the ball with velocity! I love that in a QB. This is why I am a Cutlerfan!!

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        • #5
          Why is this even a big deal? Seriously who the hell cares? I don't care what color they are or anyone is for that matter.

          It's topics like this that get brought up that keeps the race wars going. Because all I see are two talented coaches taking their teams to the Superbowl.
          The new website is about as ugly as Paris Hilton. Put the blue back!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DawgFanatic
            Pretty sad that this has to come up, hopefully in the near future it will go away.
            That was exactly what I was going to say

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            • #7
              Its kind of weird that such a big deal is made about this. Its sort of saying "Wow...even though they're black, they actually made it to the Superbowl." This shouldn't be a surprise considering there are plenty of good black coaches in sports today.

              I can see why a big deal was made about the first black head coaches, because that had more to do with black people being allowed to be a head coach, but this is more just celebrating that 2 black head coaches were actually good enough to reach the Super Bowl.
              2 of the top 3 NFL QBs of all time have been Broncos

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              • #8
                I agree. I never really thought about it before but the media just a big deal about it yesterday.

                I see great coaches, not skin color.
                :usa: *** God Bless Our Military Men And Women*** :usa:

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BroncoManiac_69
                  I agree. I never really thought about it before but the media just a big deal about it yesterday.

                  I see great coaches, not skin color.
                  Yet more proof of how out of touch the media is. I honestly wouldn't have even thought about it if they hadn't started talking about it every two minutes.
                  Only fools bet against Tim Tebow.

                  Team Tebow #108

                  Yards, without points, mean nothing.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RBDynasty
                    Why is this even a big deal? Seriously who the hell cares? I don't care what color they are or anyone is for that matter.

                    It's topics like this that get brought up that keeps the race wars going. Because all I see are two talented coaches taking their teams to the Superbowl.
                    Exactly...

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                    • #11
                      Who the hell cares black white right handed left handed. This isnt the 60's and this is a stupid topic

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                      • #12
                        *Sigh*

                        Why do they have to make race an issue? Why?!

                        Two coaches took their teams to the Super Bowl. Enjoy the Super Bowl and hope whatever team you are rooting for wins! Enough with this darn race junk.
                        The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

                        The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

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                        • #13
                          If you are a good coach and your team plays well for you, it should never matter what color the skin of the coach is.

                          Congrats to both coaches and their team for reaching the Super Bowl.
                          Emancipate your mind!
                          The People's Poster

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                          • #14
                            I agree with everyone. This should not be a big deal. But it is, which is exactly the point.

                            This is huge in the African American community. It was a long, difficult and often painful process just to get a black man to be named a starting quarterback, much less being offered a head coaching position and GM. That's why Doug Williams' name is always brought up whenever a black QB starts in a superbowl.

                            Blacks still feel unfair in some circles when it comes to opportunity to lead in the NFL. If not, then teams wouldn't have to induct the Rooney Rule and interview at least 1 minority candidate. It would be automatic. So this is a big deal to those who struggled before Dungy & Smith, just as it was for those who came before Doug Williams.

                            It doesn't go unnoticed. I noticed it as soon as Lovie received his Gatorade shower. And even though I wanted the Saints to win, I felt happy for Lovie because I know how he feels, as a leader of a team and a role model for those in the leauge who still feel that the deck is stacked against them.

                            To give you an example, if Minnesota has made the Superbowl instead of Atlanta, Elway and crew would've been virtually non-existant prior to the game because a black head coach and black QB would've been in the Superbowl. Big strides. Big news. Some of you say big deal, and indeed it would've been. If and when a black QB & coach go together in the Superbowl, the same attention will be given as it is being given now to Lovie & Dungy and was given to Williams & McNabb.

                            Will all the attention to color go away? Probably not anytime soon. So when will the media not say "a black coach does such and such." Probably as soon as black coaches are no longer few and far between. And this Superbowl will remind people of how wrong all owners & GMs before the current class were when they saw color, and not human. In the annals of time, it will be in the first paragraph, perhaps the first sentence before the plays are described. It shouldn't be, but it is. And that's probably the point, not to make it a point.

                            Now with that said, let's go Colts!
                            Last edited by DevilSpawn; 01-22-2007, 06:03 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I hate how, Media likes to throw out stuff like first two Black Coaches to make it to a Superbowl, First Black QB, First black this and that. It is kinda Degrading. I dont care waht color oyu are, it doesnt mean anything if your black,white,red, and etc. We are all people and we need to judge each other by character.

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