What black coaches broke the glass ceiling in professional football?

In professional football, Arthur “Art” Shell Jr. (1946–) became the first black head coach in modern NFL history, as coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1989. Raymond “Ray” Earl Rhodes (1950–) became the Green Bay Packers’ first black head coach, in 1999. The first black coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship was Anthony Kevin “Tony” Dungy (1955–), on February 4, 2007. When Super Bowl XLI was held in Miami, Florida, Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts, the AFC champions, to the win. Friends since their stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dungy and his opponent Lovie Smith (1958–), the black coach of the Chicago Bears, became temporary foes on that day. They were also the first two black coaches to lead their teams to a Super Bowl. Tony Dungy is also the first coach to lead a team to the playoffs for ten consecutive years and the first NFL head coach to defeat all thirty-two NFL teams. After retiring from the Colts, he became an analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Lovie Smith continued his head coaching post with the Bears. Mike Tomlin (1972–) of the Pittsburgh Steelers twice led a team to the Super Bowl and won the contest in 2009.

Robert Griffin III is an award-winning quarterback for the Washington Redskins.


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