Super Bowl XLI will be played in Miami a week from Sunday, and history will be made because, for the first time, the head coach of either team is an African-American. In fact, both coaches are black. In post-game interviews Sunday both Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were asked about it, and neither seemed to make a big deal about it.
It is a big deal, though. For all the qualified black coaches who were passed over for important jobs in decades past, this truly is a milestone. Both Dungy and Smith acknowledged that those who came before had helped them get to the title game.
Art Shell was the first black head coach in the modern era. And that was not so long ago — 1989. Nowadays black coaches get hired and fired with little fanfare. Finally, the new normal.
Still, there are few African-Americans in charge of pro football teams. Ozzie Newsome became the NFL's first general manager in the fall of 2002. Milestones, yes, with many miles to go.
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By Harry Smith