Brian Flores left out of NFL head coaching hires as cycle comes to end

Fired Dolphins coach passed over by every team that interviewed him
Brian Flores, former Dolphins head coach, Jan. 9, 2022
Posted at 12:51 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 15:58:04-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Brian Flores will not be a head coach again in the NFL next season.

With the last of the available NFL head coaching positions now filled, Flores was left without a top job for 2022.

The former Miami Dolphins head coach, who was fired last month despite leading the team to consecutive winning seasons, interviewed for open jobs with the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, but he was not among the hires in this latest coaching cycle.

One possible reason could be that Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, Dolphins, Giants and Denver Broncos last week, alleging racial discrimination in the league's hiring practices.

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores works with receiver DeVante Parker during warm-ups before game vs. New England Patriots, Jan. 9, 2022
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores works with wide receiver DeVante Parker during warm-ups before a game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Texans and Saints were the last remaining NFL teams to have settled on new coaches after interviewing Flores for the job.

Houston recently announced the hiring of Lovie Smith, who previously led the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while New Orleans has promoted Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

The Minnesota Vikings are the only team left to hire a new head coach, but they're reportedly waiting until after the Super Bowl to hire Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. Minnesota did not interview Flores for the job.

Miami has hired San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, who is biracial.

San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel at news conference, July 29, 2021
San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel speaks during a news conference at training camp Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Santa Clara, Calif.

With the additions of McDaniel and Smith, who is Black, they join Robert Saleh (New York Jets), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders) as the NFL's only minority head coaches.

The attorneys for Flores, who interviewed twice for the Houston job, released a statement after Smith's hiring.

"Mr. Flores is happy to hear that the Texans have hired a Black head coach, Lovie Smith, as Mr. Flores' goal in bringing his case is to provide real opportunities for Black and minority candidates to be considered for coaching and executive positions within the NFL," Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis said. "However, we would be remiss not to mention that Mr. Flores was one of three finalists for the Texans' head coach position and, after a great interview and mutual interest, it is obvious that the only reason Mr. Flores was not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the NFL."

Flores was 24-25 in three seasons in Miami, but the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs during that span. His lawsuit alleges that his relationship with owner Stephen Ross soured in 2019 when he refused to "tank" games in order to secure a higher draft pick.

Brian Flores introduced as Miami Dolphins head coach in 2019 with owner Stephen Ross and general manager Chris Grier
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, new Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier pose for a portrait before a news conference Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Davie, Fla.

The longtime New England Patriots assistant coach also alleged that the Giants had already decided to hire former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who is white, by the time Flores interviewed for the job.

Flores' lawsuit went on to say that Broncos representatives didn't take his 2019 interview seriously. The job ultimately went to Vic Fangio, who is white, and Flores instead landed with the Dolphins.

The fact that Flores has stated he won't drop his lawsuit, even if he were to get another job, might have been a deterrent for any team teetering between him and another comparable candidate.

Flores admitted that he wants to coach again, but that's not likely anytime soon.