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Like Graves, American University law professor N. Jeremi Duru, a longtime observer of the NFL’s hiring practices, is pleased that Black coordinators whose teams are still in the playoffs are drawing more attention than in past seasons from franchises searching for new head coaches. But just as in any competition, what matters most is who finishes first, Duru said.

“No matter what you’re looking for to create your team’s identity under a new head coach, there are coordinators in the playoffs who fit the bill,” said Duru, author of the definitive book on the struggle that led to the creation of the Rooney Rule, Advancing The Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.

“Those tacticians, those designers of the offense, the defense and the special teams … they’re right there. They’re waiting.”

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The Undefeated

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