I wanted to address the allegations that racism was responsible for Marvin Lewis not being hired as the Bills head coach. We, in Western New York, had an opportunity to meet Gregg Williams in a press conference last Friday and I, for one, was blown away. Williams is everything Wade Phillips was not; intense, well-organized, thoughtful, hungry, and deliberately humorous. He came off as a no-nonsense, blue collar coach. In other words, a perfect fit.
Tom Donahoe, by all accounts, a man of unassailable integrity, introduced Williams as the "best candidate I've ever interviewed." Keep in mind that list includes Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green, Bill Cowher, Bobby Ross, Dave Wannstedt, and Kevin Gilbride. Isn't that what equal opportunity is all about? The best candidate for the position, period.
In my estimation, the hiring of Williams proves the interview process was legitimate. Gregg Williams was an afterthought who nobody thought had a shot, yet he was selected. It was Marvin Lewis that everyone thought had the inside track, due to his previous relationship with Donahoe. It was Marvin Lewis who may have bought into his own hype causing him to become overconfident and demanding.
Granted, he may have had little time to prepare, but it is the NFL system that penalizes playoff coaches, not some inherent racist network. I find it interesting that Tom Donahoe and the Bills are being accused of racism when they were the only team to wait to interview both Marvin Lewis and John Fox. If anything, the choice of Williams demonstrated Donahoe's willingness to think outside the box and go against conventional wisdom.
Should there be more African-American head coaches in the NFL? Of course. Is racism to blame in some instances for qualified candidates not being selected? Absolutely. But to cry racism where none exists devalues the problem and diverts energy from the instances where it should be addressed.