There was enough pressure on the Colts quarterbacks coach this year, considering Andrew Luck retired during the preseason and they had to adjust on the fly.
But being an outlier made the job that much more difficult for Colts quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady.
He’s one of the two minority quarterbacks coaches in the NFL (along with Jim Caldwell of the Dolphins, who was out last year on medical leave), and knows that status creates a burden of expectation.
“I’m aware of being the only black quarterback coach, pretty much, in the NFL,” Brady said, via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I’m grateful for my opportunity, but I understand that, obviously, I’ve got to have success, and hopefully it brings opportunity for others.”
Brady was promoted from assistant quarterbacks coach last year, and remains one of the few minority coaches on the career track that fosters so many head coaching hires. There are only two minority offensive coordinators as well (Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy and Tampa Bay’s Byron Leftwich). The net number of minority head coaches stayed at four, with Ron Rivera fired by Carolina and hired by Washington.
So while there’s plenty of talk about what needs to happen, there’s still little action.
Steelers team president Art Rooney II has talked about expanding the rule named for his family to create more opportunities. Also, the Steelers hired a white quarterbacks coach last week who has no NFL experience.
Brady spent seven years in the CFL as a backup quarterback, and began his coaching career there, working his way up to offensive coordinator before Frank Reich offered him a spot on his staff in 2018. He understands his situation is rare, and like many others, believes the answer is in creating opportunities for young coaches at lower levels to get them in the pipeline.
“I’m not frustrated about it, but I know it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Brady said. “Hopefully, we’re working in that area. It’s going to be about guys getting opportunities and developing. . . .
“You’ve got to develop the young coaches, the young, black coaches. That’s where it starts. It’s where it starts for every coach. You start at the bottom, whether it’s quality control or GA, and you work your way up. You just learn.”
The difference for Brady is he got the chance. Most don’t.