Saints to interview Chiefs’ Bieniemy on Sunday, as Goodell calls NFL’s lack of head coach diversity ‘unacceptable’

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is shown before an NFL football game...
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is shown before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. Passed over innumerable times for head jobs over the past few seasons, Eric Bieniemy is again a hot commodity as the Chiefs prepare for a divisional-round matchup with the Bills on Sunday night. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 10:41 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Saints’ interview with head coach candidate Eric Bieniemy has been pushed to Sunday, according to a report, while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams in a memo Saturday (Feb. 5) that the lack of diversity among the league’s top coaches is “unacceptable.”

“Racism and any form of discrimination is contrary to the NFL’s values,” Goodell wrote in the memo to team owners and presidents. “We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas.

“However, we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches, the results have been unacceptable.”

At present, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin is the only Black head coach among the NFL’s 32 teams. Of the nine head coaching opportunities that opened near or after the end of the regular season, the first six jobs already have been filled by white candidates. Only the Saints, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans still have head coaching vacancies to fill.

“We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender,” Goodell continued in his memo. “We are retaining outside experts to assist in this review and will also solicit input from current and former players and coaches, advocates and other authorities in this area.

“Our goal is simple: Make our efforts and those of the clubs more effective, so that real and tangible results will be achieved.”

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen still is considered the favorite to succeed the retired Sean Payton in New Orleans, given his prior head coaching experience with the Raiders, his success and familiarity leading the Saints’ defense, his established relationship with the team’s front office, and his engineering of an impressive 9-0 shutout of Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Payton was sidelined by COVID-19 on Dec. 19.

Bieniemy would join former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn as the third minority candidate interviewed as a potential Payton replacement. The Saints also have interviewed Allen, Saints special teams coach Darren Rizzi and former Super Bowl winner Doug Pederson, who has since been hired as Jacksonville’s head coach (and yes, it’s Pederson, not Peterson).

Bieniemy’s interview, first believed scheduled for Saturday, has been pushed to Sunday in New Orleans, according to NFL insider Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Bieniemy is believed to be the last candidate the Saints intend to interview, and an announcement of their coaching hire could come Sunday or early next week.

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