Antonio Pierce Hired As The Full-Time Head Coach Of The Las Vegas Raiders

By CJ Carlson

Antonio Pierce stepped into the head coaching job once the Las Vegas Raiders parted ways from Josh McDaniel’s. Pierce, despite being in the interim role, helped this team finish with a 5-4 overall record.  Though it wasn’t just the record that made the franchise stick with him, it was the confidence that he inspired into the players, who immediately stood by him when the season ended.

It really felt like the Raiders and owner Mark Davis were going to make the same mistake they did a few years ago. They fired a head coach, watched their interim option Rick Bisaccia take them to a playoff appearance, then let him walk in exchange for McDaniel’s. When the year ended, all reports were stating that the Raiders weren’t thinking of Pierce as their top head coaching candidate, instead looking at Jim Harbaugh. Immediately, the fan base and the players themselves rallied around Pierce.

The biggest example of the players having his back as the head coach came from their superstar edge rusher Maxx Crosby. When asked about his future on the team, Crosby seemed to heavily imply that he would be demanding a trade if they went in a different direction. Crosby believed in what Pierce was doing in Las Vegas and felt like they would be doing him and the rest of the team a disservice to ignore that. 

Antonio Pierce

Antonio Pierce Was Turning This Team Around

To give a little background on the swagger he provided this gritty team, he started his interim job with a dominant win against the New York Giants in his debut. A little later he crushed the division rival Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 63-21. Then, at the end of the year, he helped lead his team to a streak-breaking win over the Kansas City Chiefs. This team was completely different compared to the start of the season, and you could instantly tell with the way that the players handled themselves on and off the field.

With the job fully his now, he’ll have some work to do on the roster. It was reported that the majority of other coaches on this staff will likely get replaced. Leaving Pierce to build his own staff around him. He’ll also need to work on retaining running back Josh Jacobs, along with reinvigorating Davante Adams and Crosby to stick around. The biggest choice will come at the quarterback position, with Jimmy Garoppolo under contract again next year.

He has a large $28.5 million cap hit and didn’t even play a game with Pierce as the head coach. Pierce went with the youngster Aidan O’Connell, who wasn’t bad, but didn’t show an ability to turn this franchise around and be a cornerstone. 

At the end of the day though, Pierce was the right choice for a Raiders team that is hoping to restore themselves to the glory days of their franchise history.