A record 51% of NFL team employees identify as people of color and/or women, the league said Thursday in advance of its quarterly owners meeting next week.
The accounting includes people who work in football operations and business operations as well as on coaching staffs and in executive roles. It does not include players or members of the league office. According to separate data, 57% of league office employees identify as people of color and/or women.
"This is the first time that this has happened," said Jonathan Beane, the NFL's senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. "We are majority minority at the clubs. That's an all-time high, and we're very proud of the consistency of our increasing diversity."
According to data distributed by the league, 30% of team employees identify as people of color and 30% identify as women. (Some identify as both.) The rise to 51% overall has been driven primary by a sharp rise in executives who are people of color from 13% in 2020 to 22% in 2023. The number of women in football operations has also risen significantly, from 5% in 2020 to 11% in 2023.
NFL owners will devote part of next week's meeting to their diversity, equity and inclusion policies and will host a front office and general manager accelerator program that will include 42 front-office job candidates of diverse background. Nominated by the teams they currently work for, the candidates will network with owners and other executives who make hiring decisions and participate in practice interviews and personal development workshops.
The NFL has 10 general managers of color, including one who has the job on an interim basis, more than at any time in its history. Beane, however, noted two positions where the league needs improvement: head coaches and ownership.
There are seven head coaches of color, including one interim. But there are only five offensive coordinators of color, the position that most often leads to head-coaching jobs. Meanwhile, the total NFL ownership group among all 32 teams includes 35% women and 10% people of color, according to the league's data.