The NFL will have three black officials in the Super Bowl, but still only have one black coach


Ron Torbert

Ron Torbert
Photo: Getty Images

This week, the NFL announced their crew on duty for Super Bowl LVI, which features three black men. On Thursday morning there were multiple reports that the Denver Broncos would be the first team to fill their head coach vacancy as they finalized a deal to hire Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett — another white male. Mike Tomlin is still the only black head coach in a league that is 70 percent black.

When the Super Bowl starts in less than three weeks, Ron Torbert will be in charge of the field as he will serve as the umpire. He will be accompanied by Referee Bryan Neale, Judge Derick Bowers, Lines Judge Carl Johnson, Field Judge Rick Patterson, Side Judge Keith Washington, Back Judge Scott Helverson, and Replay Official Roddy Ames.

Torbert, Johnson and Washington are all black, meaning the Super Bowl will have as many black officials as there were black coaches during the 2021 season before Brian Flores was fired in Miami and David Culley was fired after one season in Houston.

Always pay attention to the numbers.

According to“A umpire must have at least 5 years of seniority, have worked in the umpire position for 3 years, and have played a playoff game as a umpire in a previous post-season. The other members of the Super Bowl squad must have a Conference Championship game on their resume — or qualify for 3 of the last 5 postseasons — in addition to being at least a 5-year veteran.”

Last year, Sarah Thomas made history as the first woman to lead a Super Bowl. In 2015, she became the first woman to become a full-time NFL official and was the first to lead a playoff game in 2019. Super Bowl LV also featured Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust, two women who worked for Tampa Bay staff only once. Super Bowl after Katie Sowers became the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl as an offensive assistant with the 49ers.

Look, progress and diversity are valued in the NFL. The league just doesn’t appreciate it when it comes to head coaching, team president and ownership positions.

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