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What? There were two black coaches in the Super Bowl?
February 6, 2007 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Why having two African-American coaches in the Super Bowl is important. A postgame analysis of an over-analyzed subject.
posted by AVandalay (49 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought it was overstated, over analyzed, and done to death- particularly in the coca-cola commercial, which felt cloying and wrong.

Then I realized that the NFL didn't have an african-american head coach until 1989. I remember 1989 pretty darn well, it wasn't all that long ago. It took them forever to get to that point, and yeah, I think it was worth commenting on, remarking, and noticing that the world has moved forward.

The coke ad was still cloying and wrong.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:57 PM on February 6, 2007


I bet Denny Green had a full-on rage attack every time he heard about this during the past two weeks.
posted by aaronetc at 3:00 PM on February 6, 2007


Can't you just link to a Randy Newman song about this?
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:00 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with jenkinEar it was important to note - 1989! WOW.

But when can we say "Black" again because the use of "African American" is also cloying, inaccurate, and wrong.
posted by tkchrist at 3:02 PM on February 6, 2007


The English have class, us Canadians have language , Americans have race (the French have, well, everything). Can we all just please move on past our national hang-ups?
posted by GuyZero at 3:03 PM on February 6, 2007


Because white people get to be off the hook now?
posted by j-urb at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2007


It's important because, even though the NFL has made significant progress since 1989, college football is still a long way behind. Hopefully this can be a positive example for NCAA schools.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:27 PM on February 6, 2007


When are there going to be some black owners, though? Seems like coaching is kind of a red herring.
posted by luriete at 3:29 PM on February 6, 2007


Because white people get to be off the hook now?
j-urb
Huh? Could you explain this? Because it seems to me that the goal is to solve the current problems faced by minority groups, not to get revenge against white people.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:48 PM on February 6, 2007


I thought it was overstated, over analyzed, and done to death- particularly in the coca-cola commercial, which felt cloying and wrong.

Seriously cringe worthy.
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on February 6, 2007


Didn't the NBA have two black coaches meet in the finals in what 1975? It wasn't a big "historic" deal back then; somehow all the press about this feels a little off.
posted by French Fry at 3:52 PM on February 6, 2007


But when can we say "Black" again because the use of "African American" is also cloying, inaccurate, and wrong.

How is it inaccurate?
posted by delmoi at 3:53 PM on February 6, 2007


The success of black coaches is just a symptom of still-prevalent racism.
posted by kyleg at 3:54 PM on February 6, 2007


The thing is, I don’t know if it’s rightfully called progress. I mean there’s this whole concept of ‘noble struggle’ and such. Really, black people have had to struggle just to get to even - just to be considered ‘people’ (previously typically considered white). So it’s nice that we see the two coaches as just people, but we don’t really think about the struggle. And we should. Because for one, it was all so stupid and pointless. Not noble in the sense of striving for something more, but striving just for basic equality. Noble enough, but what a waste that it had to be done. And while I think this is something we should take for granted (- that is - of course an African-American can coach an elite team...why shouldn’t he?) we have to remember that the struggle was just for basic human decency. And that there was, in fact, opposition to that basic human decency. That’s not, to me, a cause for celebration. Certainly one can celebrate on any given day that we’re not personally assaulted or we’re healthy or any number of things. But that’s a day to day thing we should be thankful for certainly, but it should be taken for granted because in many ways - absent natural events and such - it’s our birthright. Of course we can walk down a road and not fear for our lives. We should be able to. But it wasn’t always the case. Same thing here. This is and always has been every black person’s birthright. It’s only that it’s been kept from them. That’s something to lament, not celebrate the conclusion of. But a long suffering patient will celebrate a return to health, for a while. And after a bit will remember that being healthy - while it requires maintainance - is a natural state.
I agree we have to keep doing the maintainance, but I look forward to taking this all for granted.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:56 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman- well said.
posted by AVandalay at 4:03 PM on February 6, 2007


I didn't care that they were A-As so much as that they seemed to be extremely clueful, quiet, modest, team- and mission-oriented guys. Dungy's that way, and even though he really got screwed at Tampa Bay, he didn't evince any lasting bitterness about it -- he focused on the mission. And he liked to pick people to work for him who also focus on the mission, which is where you get a Lovie Smith from.

Jerry Jones taught me to kinda hate the NFL, but Dungy is teaching me to appreciate it again.
posted by pax digita at 4:06 PM on February 6, 2007


How many black NFL team owners has there been?
posted by loquacious at 4:10 PM on February 6, 2007


And how many have won the Superbowl? Etc.
posted by loquacious at 4:11 PM on February 6, 2007


How many black NFL team owners has there been?

How many black MLB, NHL, or NBA owners have there been?

... I'm thinking zero, zero, zero, and zero.

The commentary itself seems rather shallow. This might have been better as an AskMe (though I know it doesn't allow such questions).
posted by mrgrimm at 4:18 PM on February 6, 2007


mrgrimm writes "How many black MLB, NHL, or NBA owners have there been?

"... I'm thinking zero, zero, zero, and zero."


Almost, but Bob Johnson is principal owner of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team (he also owns a network)
posted by fair_game at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2007


mrgrimm writes "How many black MLB, NHL, or NBA owners have there been?"

I know this was a rhetorical statement, but...the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) are owned by a black dude named Robert Johnson.
posted by mullacc at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2007


Damnit.
posted by mullacc at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2007


Jay-Z is part owner of the New Jersey Nets does that count too?
posted by X-00 at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2007


jinx! i demand a coke
posted by fair_game at 4:33 PM on February 6, 2007


And is Michael Jordan still part owner of the Wizards?
posted by gyc at 4:51 PM on February 6, 2007


Man, that was a shitty article. Every link went to wikipedia! It's like a tacit admission that he had nothing to back him up.
And, yeah, all of these points were raised before the game.
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on February 6, 2007


Yeah, this "essay" read like a high school English assignment. That will be getting a C+.

The celebration of two black coaches making it to the Superbowl was definitely appropriate, I thought--though that Coke commercial was pretty painfully awful.

What offended me was having to hear the Colts owner and Tony Dungee proselytize their religion when accepting the Lombardi trophy. Ugh, man--I don't want to hear about your bedroom habits, I don't want to know about your hygiene problems, and I for sure don't need to hear about your religion. TMI.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:05 PM on February 6, 2007


Remember that the week before the Superbowl is the most desperate of times for sports journos. None of the players got caught with a hooker, neither of the head coaches' sons died of an OD, etc. So the first black head coaches in the Superbowl was a nice story for obvious reasons, IMO, but hugely overdone.

The NFL has come a long way, as has the rest of the country. But c'mon, racism is still everywhere. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.
posted by bardic at 5:20 PM on February 6, 2007


It's important because, even though the NFL has made significant progress since 1989, college football is still a long way behind. Hopefully this can be a positive example for NCAA schools.

One big reason college football is behind is that the NFL not only required that minorities be interviewed for head coaching positions, they also actively promoted hiring minority assistants. In college football, though, you haven't seen that nearly as much. And as a result, not a lot of experienced candidates for minority coaching jobs. And it's still a good-ol'-boy system. For as much as the SEC has come around on race in the last 30 years, it says something that only this decade have we seen a black head football coach in that conference, while the Pac-10 and Big XII had them in the mid-90s.

And there's all that alumni pressure as well, some of it racist. The running of Ty Willingham out of South Bend was one of the more disgraceful moments in Notre Dame history.

Was the Super Bowl a big deal? Yeah, I guess so. Maybe the endless bitching shows we've come forward.
posted by dw at 5:27 PM on February 6, 2007


neither of the head coaches' sons died of an OD, etc.

Uhh... you might want to check that again.
posted by dw at 5:28 PM on February 6, 2007


delmoi : How is it inaccurate?

Because not all black people originated in Africa.
posted by quin at 5:36 PM on February 6, 2007


Unless you want to go back really far, in which case, I could pose the argument that we are all African-whatever.
posted by quin at 5:38 PM on February 6, 2007


But when can we say "Black" again because the use of "African American" is also cloying, inaccurate, and wrong.

I am trying to hasten this day by using African Englishman in any situation where I feel society demands "African American."
posted by sourbrew at 5:44 PM on February 6, 2007


sourbrew writes "I am trying to hasten this day by using African Englishman in any situation where I feel society demands 'African American.'"

Does that work at all? Wouldn't it be African Briton?

But yeah, I've heard Americans refer to Black citizens of the UK as "African American" more than once. Pretty funny, that.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:54 PM on February 6, 2007


Because not all black people originated in Africa.

You don't have to go THAT far either.

FI: While Jamaicans may trace their roots back to Africa, when they move HERE, and become let's say third or fourth generation Americans, still calling them "African American" is not only a stretch but insulting.

If we are going to add these descriptors it would be "African-Jamaican-American?" or would it be Jamaican American.

It gets pretty silly. "_______ American" When we really mean "Black" or "white." And even that ain't that accurate.

I was brought when black was cool. When we had Black Power. African American seems like something for white people not black people. When we say "African American" it really means:
"I 'm not one of THOSE white people. I'm the good kind!"
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on February 6, 2007


"FI: While Jamaicans may trace their roots back to Africa, when they move HERE, and become let's say third or fourth generation Americans, still calling them "African American" is not only a stretch but insulting."

In my experience when Jamaicans or other blacks from the diaspora are called "African American" but the context of the discussion is black issues in general then we get it and there is no problem. But when we are defined as African American, i.e., our distinct cultural heritage is negated, then some of us may feel insulted. As a British born (Lewisham!) Jamaican I don't mind being called African American or black or my fav... high-yellow bitch. ;)
posted by hojoki at 7:09 PM on February 6, 2007


dw, please read the dateline. That was two years ago.
posted by bardic at 7:45 PM on February 6, 2007


Not once did I hear Lovie Smith referred to as the first black coach to lose a Super Bowl.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:48 PM on February 6, 2007


tkchrist : You don't have to go THAT far either.

It sticks in my head because I briefly worked with a guy who was Aboriginal Australian. The company we worked for, in an effort to be politically correct, was flummoxed with what to identify him as. They suggest Australian-African-American.

It was a source of much amusement to him.
posted by quin at 9:10 PM on February 6, 2007


dw, please read the dateline. That was two years ago.

You said "None of the players got caught with a hooker, neither of the head coaches' sons died of an OD, etc."

One of the head coaches' sons did die of an OD -- in fact, the very one the article refers to.

And they mentioned that a number of times over the last two weeks, anyway.

And also, it happened during the regular season. Eugene Robinson got picked up the morning before the Super Bowl.

/nitpick
posted by dw at 2:04 AM on February 7, 2007


J-urb: Because white people get to be off the hook now?

Wait, what was I on the hook for? Being white?
posted by spaltavian at 7:16 AM on February 7, 2007


One of the head coaches' sons did die of an OD

Where are you getting that? He died of suicide, and I can't find anything that suggests James Dungy's death was the result, either directly or indirectly, of an overdose. The closest I can find is that he was treated for an overdose of painkillers about two months before his death.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:47 AM on February 7, 2007


the intimation that i would be on the hook for anything on account of my skin color is racist and offensive.
posted by bruce at 12:02 PM on February 7, 2007


bardic : "But c'mon, racism is still everywhere."

What, didn't you hear? We just had two black coaches in the Super Bowl! Racism is over.
posted by graventy at 12:45 PM on February 7, 2007


Wow. Way to misquote me. I wrote: neither of the head coaches' sons died of an OD

My larger point being that it was a relatively slow news-week leading up to the Superbowl, and hence the "first black coaches" thing got over-played. Which is fine with me. At least nobody got arrested or died.

Literacy guys, look into it.
posted by bardic at 3:54 PM on February 7, 2007


"still everywhere" is an overstatement on my part, so I take it back.

"Institutional barriers to black coaching jobs and ownership positions still exist due to the overt racism which existed in the NFL up until the 1980's."

Something like that.
posted by bardic at 3:56 PM on February 7, 2007


I can't believe I didn't know Charlotte had a new NBA team. I feel old.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:00 PM on February 7, 2007


Literacy guys, look into it.

Physician, heal thyself.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:27 AM on February 8, 2007


IANAD.
posted by bardic at 3:40 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


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