Occupational Mobility Patterns: A Case Study of Leadership and Access in the National Football League


This short report provides an overview and analysis of data on coaching mobility patterns in the National Football League (NFL). Previous studies in this area have generally focused on the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule (for example, analyzing the hiring process and proposing new strategies to increase the number of non-White head coaches) and comparing the win/loss records of White and non-White head coaches (for example, determining whether non-White coaches are provided with a meaningful opportunity to turn around a team with a losing record). This report focuses on whether Whites and non-Whites face systemic and socio-cultural access barriers after one or more stints as a head coach in the NFL. The findings of this study indicate that, historically, NFL teams have been reluctant to hire a non-White individual for a head coach, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator position after a non-White individual has previously been fired or has resigned from a head coach position in the NFL.

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Harrison, C. & Bukstein, S. (2013). Occupational Mobility Patterns: A Case Study of Leadership and Access in the National Football League. Sociology Mind, 3, 264-267. doi: 10.4236/sm.2013.34035.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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