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Since the inception of the National Football League, there have been over 500 head coaches over that time. However, only 24 of those coaches were black.

Although the League tweaked the Rooney Rule to expand diversity, at the time of this writing there is currently only two Black head coaches of an NFL team.

Recently, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores, filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL, and three teams citing racial discrimination as the reasoning behind it.

The NFL has a long way to go to be more inclusive and diverse, however let us shine a light on those great few that trailblazed their way on the field! Check out the FULL list below!

  • 1. Frederick Pollard

    After the Akron Pros appointed him as co-coach in 1921, Fritz Pollard became the first African-American head coach in NFL history.

    However, before becoming the first Black coach of an NFL team, Pollard broke the color barrier earlier by being one of the first NFL players, according to the NFL official website.

    Pollard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

  • 2. Art Shell

    Art Shell head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders against the Los...

    Art Shell head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium circa 1994 in Anaheim,California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

     

    Shell became the first Black head coach since the 1920’s. Coaching the then LA Raiders from 1988 through 1994, when the team moved to Oakland, CA.

    Shell was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

  • 3. Dennis Green

    Dennis Green, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, during a NFL...

    Dennis Green, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, during a NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 6, 1992 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Green was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings for 10 seasons from ’92-2001. According to an article on Sportscasting.com, not only was Green the first Black head coach of the Vikings, but also the first to become head coach without playing in the NFL!

    Green passed away in 2016 and has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

     

  • 4. Ray Rhodes

    Head coach Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles watches from the...

    Head coach Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles watches from the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in the 1995 NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 7, 1996 in Irving, Texas. The... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Over the course of his career, Rhodes coached in various capacities for nearly 40 years, including five years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and later as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

    Rhodes is a 5x Super Bowl champ and was named NFL Coach of the Year 1995.

  • 5. Tony Dungy

    Head coach Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on from the...

    Head coach Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on from the sideline as he watches a play during the Buccaneers 17-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Houlihan's Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    In a career spanning more than 40 years, Dungy first coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996, and then famously went to coach the Indianapolis Colts.

    Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

  • 6. Herman Edwards

    Head coach Herman Edwards of the New York Jets looks on before a...

    Head coach Herman Edwards of the New York Jets looks on before a football game against Seattle Seahawks at Giants Stadium on December 19, 2004 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 37-14. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Edwards coached in the NFL for over 20 years. He was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2001-05, soon after joining the Kansas City Chiefs.

  • 7. Marvin Lewis

    Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis looks on as players warm...

    Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis looks on as players warm up for the NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cincinnati Bengals on October 28 at Paul Brown Stadium in... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Lewis was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2003-2018.

    Lewis is a 1x Super Bowl Champ and was named AP Coach of The Year in 2009.

  • 8. Lovie Smith

    Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches the action during the...

    Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches the action during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeted the Lions 26-24. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Smith coached the Chicago Bears for 9 seasons from 2004-2012, before coaching the Tampa Bay Bucs for a brief stint.

    He was named AP Coach of The Year in 2005.

    As of February 8th, 2022, Lovie Smith was announced as the new head coach of the Houston Texans.

  • 9. Terry Robiskie

    Washington Redskins interim head coach Terry Robiskie watches his...

    Washington Redskins interim head coach Terry Robiskie watches his team lose to the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium, 10 December 2000, in Irving, Texas. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    In his nearly 40-year career coaching in the NFL, Robiskie served as interim head coach twice, once for the Washington Redskins during the 2000 season, and again with the Cleveland Browns during the 2004 season.

  • 10. Romeo Crennel

    Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel on the sidelines during a...

    Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel on the sidelines during a game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 27, 2005 in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota won the game 24-12. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Crennel coached the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2008, and he later coached the Houston Texans for one season.

    Crennel is a 5x Super Bowl Champ, and is currently the Senior Advisor for Football Performance for the Texans.

  • 11. Mike Tomlin

    Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin smiles in the first half...

    Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin smiles in the first half during the 2021 NFL preseason Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on August 5, 2021 in... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Tomlin has been the head coach of the Steelers for 15 seasons since 2007. He is the only Black head coach in the NFL at the time this list was published.

  • 12. Emmitt Thomas

    Coach Emmitt Thomas of the Atlanta Falcons watches play against the...

    Coach Emmitt Thomas of the Atlanta Falcons watches play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium on December 16, 2007 in Tampa, Florida. The Bucs won 37 - 3. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    During the middle of the 2007 season, Emmitt Thomas was named interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons following a sudden resignation. Thomas coached the Falcons for just four games before the team hired someone else in the offseason.

    Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

  • 13. Mike Singletary

    Head Coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from...

    Head Coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park November 21, 2010 in San Francisco,... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Singletary coached the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons from 2008 to 2010.

    Mike Singletary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

  • 14. Jim Caldwell

    Detroit Lions head football coach Jim Caldwell watches the action...

    Detroit Lions head football coach Jim Caldwell watches the action late in the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Jim Caldwell has served as head coach of two NFL franchises: the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011 and the Detroit Lions from 2014 to 2017.

    Caldwell was mentioned in Brian Flores’ lawsuit as an example of a Black NFL head coach who was terminated despite his success.

  • 15. Raheem Morris

    Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches on...

    Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches on during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    From 2009 to 2020, Raheem Morris served as the head coach of two different teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011, during which time he also managed the defensive unit. He served in the same double capacity with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.

  • 16. Perry Fewell

    Head Coach Perry Fewell of the Buffalo Bills watches his team against...

    Head Coach Perry Fewell of the Buffalo Bills watches his team against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville defeated... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    The Buffalo Bills had Perry Fewell as their head coach for a single season in 2019. Fewell was also interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers in the 2019 season.

  • 17. Leslie Frazier

    Head Coach Leslie Frazier congratulates Adrian Peterson of the...

    Head Coach Leslie Frazier congratulates Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings after a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    In an NFL coaching career spanning nearly 20 years, Leslie Frazier was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2010 to 2013.

  • 18. Eric Studesville

    Denver Broncos RB's Jeremiah Johnson Montee Ball C.J. Anderson listen...

    Denver Broncos RB's Jeremiah Johnson Montee Ball C.J. Anderson listen to running backs coach Eric Studesville as he explains the drill during training camp July 29, 2013 at Dove Valley. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Studesville was the head coach of the Denver Broncos during the final four games of the 2010 season. Recently, he served in the role of defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under then-head coach Brian Flores during the 2021 season.

    Studesville is also a 1x Super Bowl Champ.

  • 19. Mel Tucker

    Head coach Mel Tucker of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action...

    Head coach Mel Tucker of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field on December 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

     For the final five games of the 2011 season, Tucker was named the interim head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is currently the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans.

  • 20. Todd Bowles

    Interim head coach Todd Bowles of the Miami Dolphins on the sidelines...

    Interim head coach Todd Bowles of the Miami Dolphins on the sidelines during their NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Miami won... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Bowles was a head coach in the NFL for five seasons. First as the interim head coach of Miami Dolphins in the 2011 season and four other seasons leading the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018.

    He’s also a 3x Super Bowl Champ. One as player, executive and coach.

  • 21. Hue Jackson

    Head coach Hue Jackson of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field...

    Head coach Hue Jackson of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Raiders won... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Hue Jackson led as an NFL head coach with two franchises for four seasons. He coached the Oakland Raiders during the 2011 season and then the Cleveland Browns from 2016 to 2018.

  • 22. Anthony Lynn

    Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on before...

    Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on before they play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Inglewood, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    In the span of five seasons, Lynn was a head coach in the NFL for two teams. He led the Buffalo Bills for one season in 2016 and soon was hired by the Los Angeles Chargers the following season and served in that capacity through the 2020 season.

  • 23. Vance Joseph

    Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos reacts to a play during...

    Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos reacts to a play during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Denver Broncos hosted the Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos Stadium at Mile... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Vance Joseph was the head coach for the Denver Broncos for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. It was recently reported he interviewed for the Miami Dolphins head coaching job that was left vacant after Brian Flores was fired.

  • 24. Brian Flores

    Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to the...

    Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to the game against the New York Giants at Hard Rock Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

    Brian Flores was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019 through the 2021 seasons, after which he was fired. Recently Flores has filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams, alleging racial discrimination during the hiring process.

  • Lovie Smith