More than half of the Las Vegas Raiders’ wins this season have come with Antonio Pierce at the helm.
The Raiders fired Josh McDaniels after a 3-5 start this season and going 6-11 last year, giving the former NFL linebacker the interim job after he served as the team’s linebackers coach.
And he’s been quite impressive. In his head-coaching debut, he got a victory over the team he won a Super Bowl with in the New York Giants.
Now, after an upset victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas, his record is 4-3 and the Raiders are 7-8 in a season that seemed dead when McDaniels was let go.
It’s clear the Raiders are playing for their new coach, and after early success, he doesn’t seem like he’s shying away from the opportunity to have the interim title dropped.
“I’m going to keep saying it: As long as it looks right, sounds right and smells right, I’m fine with it,” Pierce told reporters on Tuesday, per ESPN. “Win, lose or draw, and I’m going to be me, and [the players] are going to be them. And when this bad boy’s over with, hopefully it all works out and we’re together for more years to come.”
“And hopefully [Raiders owner] Mark Davis sees improvement and growth within our team; he sees the style and play that he wants from the Raiders; he sees a fan base that’s behind us; he sees a building that loves coming to work and loves being here and people that’s covering the team, enjoying covering the team. And at the end of the day, we got to win. And right now, my record, our record, is 4-3.”
Pierce made his NFL coaching debut last year with the Raiders after he spent the previous four years at Arizona State in various roles.
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He was a Pro Bowler in 2006 and racked up almost 700 tackles in a nine-year career. But now, he’s bringing that competitive edge to the sidelines.
Pierce has no idea what his future holds, but he says that “the best thing that happened for me was the opportunity.”
“My resume’s on the grass, which, I can put up a fancy presentation, I’ve seen that before. I can put up stats. I can put up my resume,” Pierce said. “And like I said, maybe last week, the worst day I was going to be as a head coach was my first day. … I really take pride in growing each and every day to get better. No different than when I was a player, get better, and by the end, you look at it, whatever your career was and whatever my coaching career is, that you sit there and say, ‘Look, this is what he was.'”
Pierce will get two more cracks at the permanent head coaching job against the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos before the season wraps up.
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