The Las Vegas Raiders have removed the interim tag and named Antonio Pierce as their new permanent head coach, according to multiple reports. The team is finalizing a new contract with Pierce to make him the full-time leader of the Silver and Black.
Lead Up to Pierce’s Hiring
Pierce took over as Raiders interim head coach in Week 6 last season after the firing of Josh McDaniels. He led the team to a 7-6 record down the stretch amidst adversity, earning the respect and support of players like star defensive end Maxx Crosby.
The Raiders conducted an extensive coaching search over the last couple weeks, interviewing multiple big name candidates like Sean Payton and DeMeco Ryans. However, Pierce’s rapport with the locker room and his performance as interim head coach made him the frontrunner throughout the process. Players actively campaigned for his return, with Crosby even threatening to demand a trade if Pierce was not retained.
In the end, new Raiders owner Mark Davis opted for continuity by removing Pierce’s interim tag. Pierce brings passion for the Silver and Black as a former player under Al Davis. His embodiment of the Raiders culture and established relationships with key players made him the top choice despite his limited experience.
Contract Terms and Staff
The Raiders and Pierce are finalizing a new 4-year contract to make him the permanent head coach. Financial details have not been disclosed, but the deal likely puts Pierce among the higher paid coaches in the league after his successful interim stint.
Long-time NFL coach Marvin Lewis is expected to join Pierce’s staff as an assistant. Lewis brings a wealth of experience from his 16 seasons as Bengals head coach. He will provide veteran leadership on Pierce’s staff to help the first-time permanent head coach.
Reaction Around the League
The Raiders’ decision to retain Pierce has drawn praise from various corners of the league. Former Giants teammate Tom Coughlin congratulated Pierce, saying:
“Antonio was an extension of the coach on the field and in the locker room all the way through his career. I saw firsthand leadership skills that will serve him well.”
Cardinals head coach Deion Sanders also applauded the hiring, tweeting:
“My dog Antonio Pierce will do an outstanding job as the Las Vegas Raiders new HC. Congrats Prime!”
Meanwhile, Crosby took to Twitter to reiterate his strong support:
“Great news!!! Let’s work @Coach_Pierce!!!”
Other key Raiders also expressed excitement about Pierce’s return to build on the foundation established last season.
What Happens Next
Now that Pierce has the permanent job, expectations will heighten for him to return the Raiders to contender status. His first full offseason offers an opportunity to reshape the roster to fit his vision.
The Raiders hold the #7 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Pierce and new GM Graham Harrell must decide whether to use that selection on a quarterback of the future or address other positions of need like offensive line and linebacker. They will also evaluate the roster to determine if veterans like Derek Carr and Davante Adams still fit long-term plans.
In addition to the draft, Pierce and his staff will implement new schemes on both sides of the ball tailored to the personnel. They strive to duplicate the success of the back half of 2022 over a full 17-game slate next season. With established relationships already in place, Pierce won’t need an adjustment period to get up to speed.
Expectations will be high for Pierce to quickly turn the Raiders into a playoff contender again. His familiarity with the team and locker room support give him a strong starting point. But Pierce must now translate that into consistent on-field success in his first full season at the helm.
| 2023 Raiders Final Standings |
| Record | 7-10 |
| NFC West Standing | 3rd |
| Offensive Rank | 18th |
| Defensive Rank | 20th |
The Raiders are entrusting Antonio Pierce to lead the Silver and Black back to prominence. He provided a spark in interim duty last season and earned the opportunity for a larger sample size. Pierce’s passion resonates in the locker room, now he must prove himself over a full season. With his contract locked up, the Pierce era officially begins in Las Vegas.
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