The Falcons have added Antonio Pierce to the list of candidates for their vacant head coaching position. Per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Atlanta has requested an interview with the Raiders’ interim HC.
After Las Vegas’ in-season firing of Josh McDaniels, Pierce galvanized a dejected locker room and guided the Raiders to a 5-4 record to close out the 2023 season, despite the up-and-down performance of fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell under center. Although Pierce’s coaching resume is quite thin — his first coaching job in the NFL came when the Raiders made him their linebackers coach in 2022, a position he held when he received the promotion to interim head coach this year — his leadership abilities have clearly caught the attention of execs around the league.
Pierce, 45, has also landed an HC interview with the Titans, and Raiders players are publicly pushing to have owner Mark Davis remove Pierce’s interim tag and name him the permanent head coach. Indeed, star pass rusher Maxx Crosby is reportedly prepared to demand a trade if that does not happen.
Davis is said to be impressed by Pierce, and the most recent reporting on the matter suggests that the former Washington and Giants linebacker has a strong chance to become the Raiders’ full-time HC. However, Davis is also rumored to be looking for a big name to lead his club, and just last week we heard that Las Vegas was making a push to land current University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Raiders have also been connected to former Patriots HC Bill Belichick.
As of the time of this writing, Davis has not actually conducted any HC interviews — he wants to hire a permanent GM first — while the Falcons are well into their interview docket. As shown on our head coaching tracker, Atlanta has compiled a mix of offensive- and defensive-minded targets, and there are rumblings that the team is an ideal fit for Belichick. After all, the Falcons have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball and could be a quarterback away from legitimate contention, which makes them an intriguing landing spot for any number of hot HC candidates.
Pierce would certainly qualify as an unorthodox choice for a club that could attract more accomplished talent, but the Falcons nonetheless want to take a closer look at the man who quickly earned the vocal and enthusiastic support of his charges.