Jacksonville Jaguars announce hiring of former Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson as new head coach

By David J. Lopez and Travis Caldwell, CNN

    (CNN) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars named Doug Pederson as their head coach on Thursday -- the first such hire in the NFL since former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores initiated a class-action lawsuit against the league alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices.

Pederson enters the role with head coaching championship experience. His Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in 2018 for the title, yet he was fired by the team at the end of the 2020-21 season and has not coached in the league since.

Before becoming a head coach, Pederson played quarterback in the NFL and was on the Green Bay Packers squad that won Super Bowl XXXI in 1997.

"Doug Pederson four years ago won a Super Bowl as head coach of a franchise in pursuit of its first world championship," Jaguars team owner Shad Khan said. "I hope Doug can replicate that magic here in Jacksonville, but what is certain is his proven leadership and experience as a winning head coach in the National Football League. It's exactly what our players deserve. Nothing less."

The job is the fifth head coach opening to be filled this year -- all by White men. One out of 28 head coaches employed in the NFL is Black -- Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Four job openings remain.

The hiring of Pederson comes two days after Flores, who is Black, sued the NFL, the Dolphins and two other teams, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. The Dolphins fired Flores last month.

The 58-page lawsuit castigates the culture of the NFL and the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview two external minority candidates for head coaching positions. The lawsuit says the rule hasn't worked to increase the hiring of coaches of color.

The NFL and all three teams deny wrongdoing, with the league calling the allegations "meritless."

Roughly 70% of the players in the NFL are Black. There are two other non-Black minority coaches -- one of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent and one of Lebanese descent.

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