Antonio Pierce went from being the interim head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders to the club’s full-time head coach, and he’s set two lofty goals in the early days of this offseason.
“At the end of the day, I want to be on that Mount Rushmore of coaches who’ve done it with the Raiders and led this organization to the promised land,” Pierce wrote for a piece published by The Players’ Tribune on Monday. “I want to be holding that Lombardi Trophy with one hand and a cigar in the other.”
The legendary John Madden holds the Raiders’ franchise record of 103 victories accumulated by a head coach. To compare, Pierce went 5-4 as an interim coach this past season. He quickly became a favorite among his players; stars such as pass-rusher Maxx Crosby and All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams publicly campaigned for the former linebacker to be kept on as Las Vegas’ full-time coach.
Crosby reportedly even threatened that he’d request a trade if Raiders owner Mark Davis hired somebody other than Pierce.
“And believe me, I fully realize how fortunate I am to have this opportunity,” Pierce added. “This isn’t something too many people would’ve predicted. I’m an African-American. I came from an urban environment. I was undrafted. Too small. Too short and everything else. Then I was told I was gonna s— the bed as an interim head coach. I was told the odds were against me to get the job. I was told I couldn’t be a leader of men. But now, you know what? Here we are.”
Pierce is no stranger to success at the highest level as he was part of the New York Giants squad that defeated the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
But the path to another title, as well as long-term success in LA, may be tougher. And they start with locating his club’s next starting quarterback.
ESPN’s Matt Miller predicted in his latest mock draft that the Raiders will use overall pick No. 13 to land Michigan Wolverines signal-caller J.J. McCarthy.