The Pulse: Help Wanted

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.

Story of the Day: Coaching Changes

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera ran a defense that kept opponents from making much progress on the gridiron. So what's keeping Rivera, rated by SportsNation as the best minority head-coaching candidate, from making much progress off the field?

Rivera is just one of many NFL assistant coaches who appear to have the talent needed to run an entire team. Of course, even with 10 job openings this offseason, the odds were against just about all of those assistants actually landing a job. But is there something more than statistical probability at play when not one of the seven men hired as an NFL head coach for the first time is a minority?

With only the Oakland job still up for grabs, Herm Edwards stands as the lone minority candidate to find employment as a head coach, the same position he filled last year for the Jets.

So do SportsNation voters see the glass as half-full or half-empty? Perhaps based on the interest in Edwards, 41 percent of voters say this offseason was at least a small step forward for minority candidates. Even of the 59 percent who leaned the other way, only 19 percent feel this offseason was a "big" step backward and perhaps most surprisingly, 82 percent of voters chalk it up to either coincidence or a lack of good candidates.

Which do you think most explains the lack of minority first-time head coaches this offseason? (31,078 votes)
54.3% Lack of good candidates
27.7% Coincidence
11.8% Overt prejudice
5.9% Ineffective NFL policies

One year ago, while pausing to remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, we asked SportsNation to assess the racial landscape in pro sports. And 38% of voters rated the NFL as "unsatisfactory" for diversity in coaching and management positions, considerably worse than the NBA, MLB or NCAA basketball. Only college football, which 51% of voters labeled unsatisfactory, fared worse.

  • See the full results

    Which minority coach are you most surprised has not yet landed a head-coaching job in the NFL? (4,564 votes)
    49.8% Ron Rivera
    16.8% Tim Lewis
    15.2% Ted Cottrell
    9.9% Donnie Henderson
    8.0% Maurice Carthon

    What do you think this offseason's hirings represent for minority coaches in the NFL? (37,618 votes)
    38.4% A small step backward
    25.8% A small step forward
    19.9% A big step backward
    15.6% A big step forward

    In which sport does the head coach or manager matter most? (50,638 votes)
    30.8% NFL
    30.8% College basketball
    23.2% College football
    11.4% MLB
    3.6% NBA

    SportsNation's Show: Expert Opinion
    BennyT (Washington, D.C.): Were you surprised that there were no minority coaches hired from the staffs of teams like the Bengals, Colts, and Bears? Usually assistants from successful teams get looked at first for vacancies.

    Chris Mortensen: I'm surprised and I'm a disappointed. The process is better, but the results are very disappointing this year. But owners and GMs have the right and duty to hire the best fit for them. I also am disappointed by what I perceive to be some age discrimination.

  • Click here for Mortensen's transcript

    Not only do 78% of voters think Mike Sherman would have been a better choice than Dick Jauron in Buffalo, but 59% don't think the Bills can win with J.P. Losman at QB.

    "[M]ost league insiders (coaches, execs) believe the Bills have messed up running two outstanding football men out of town in Tom Donahoe and Mike Mularkey."
    Chris Mortensen in chat

    Jim (San Francisco): Any chance the Raiders hire Art Shell back as head coach, then bring in a quality OC like Mike Martz?

    Len Pasquarelli: Hey, the Raiders always have something up their sleeves. It looks like they are going to wait until after the Super Bowl to talk to Ken Whisenhunt of Pittsburgh, but as I told Chris Mortensen on Monday night when we were kicking around the Raiders' situation, I won't be shocked if they bring Art Shell back. Please note, that's just speculation, nothing more.

    Dave (Hollywood): Which minority candidate do you think was the most deserving of a head coaching position?

    Len Pasquarelli: Either Ron Rivera or Tim Lewis.

  • Click here for Pasquarelli's transcript

    Dedrin (Fort Worth): Shouldn't the NFL be very concerned over minority hiring? This seemed like the year where 1-3 minority coaches had a very good shot. Chances are out of the nine head coaching vacancies (not counting Herm Edwards), not one will be a minority.

    Jeremy Green: They should be very concerned. What is even more troubling is the majority of the guys being touted have been, or could be, fired. Donnie Henderson has been let go, Tim Lewis could be let go if Coughlin wants to hire Dom Capers, and Jerry Gray could be let go by a new coach in Buffalo. That would lend itself to there not being many candidates next season.

  • Click here for Green's transcript

    Voice of the Fan: Coaching Changes
    I don't know anything that inspires confidence like a good Dick Jauron hiring. Good luck, Bills.
    Kevin (Virginia)

    Is Mike Martz enough of a rebel for Al Davis? The idea of Martz teaming with Randy Moss in Oakland appears to intrigue SportsNation. Asked to predict Oakland's move, 41% picked Martz, 38% predicted Steelers offensive whiz Ken Whisenhunt and 21% picked from a group including Jim Fassel and James Lofton.

    I just think there's a lot of concern about Mike Martz running a football team right now, with how the last year played out in St. Louis. As brilliant as he is as an offensive coach, there have been some off-the-wall circumstances that probably concerned some teams.
    Scouts, Inc.'s Gary Horton in chat

    As a Bills fan, I am sick to my stomach that Mike Sherman is not our new coach. It is getting worse in Buffalo, not better.
    John (Buffalo)

    Gary Kubiak gives the Texans instant credibility in the running game. They have a solid running back, so trade the No. 1 pick and get an offensive line for him to coach.
    Jay (Pittsburgh)

    If I were a Bills fan, I would be furious. Just more years of mediocrity for you. Recycled coaches are preposterously lame.
    Sham (wbl)

    Gary Kubiak has the hype, but I don't know much else about him. As for Jauron, is this a cruel joke on upstate? Could a more passionate fan base have received a less inspired coaching hire?
    Mark (Washington, D.C.)

    Isn't Gary Kubiak a junior offensive coordinator, with Mike Shanahan being the senior offensive coordinator? And wasn't Dick Jauron a huge failure as a coach in Chicago? Both are awful choices.
    Paul (Cleveland)

    I shared an elevator with Bill Belichick once. Think I can land the Oakland job?
    Mike (Washington, D.C.)

    Well, it's about time Sean Payton got a head coaching gig, after engineering those powerful Giants and Cowboys offenses of the past few years ... oh, wait.
    Tim (San Antonio)

    The Saints can't make a good hire. Bill Belichick wouldn't have success there. I feel sorry for Sean Payton. That place is going to be a black hole for the foreseeable future.
    Jim (West Lafayette, Ind.)

    Someone needs to hire Mike Sherman! From a Green Bay fan's perspective, he is a good coach who got hosed by our GM Thompson.
    Brian (Madison, Wisc.)

    I understand not going with retreads, but it seems GM's are just throwing darts and hoping they strike gold. Some of these guys never had a coordinator position. Favre working with the guy from the worst offense last year is looking real good.
    Keith (Pennsylvania)

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