Antonio Pierce
Photo: Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing a deal to make Antonio Pierce their full-time head coach.

The former linebacker is the league’s sixth active Black head coach, joining Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), and Jerod Mayo (New England Patriots).

Pierce took over as the Raiders’ interim head coach after the dismissal of Josh McDaniels in late October. Following the team’s 3-5 start under McDaniels, Pierce led the group to a 5-4 record over nine games. Las Vegas beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the team’s second win in Arrowhead Stadium since 2012 and also scored a franchise-record 63 points in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Pierce began his professional coaching career with the Raiders as a linebackers coach in 2022.

The Super Bowl XLII champion linebacker was a favorite among the players. At one point during the Raiders’ head coach hiring process, star edge rusher Maxx Crosby reportedly threatened to request a trade if Antonio Pierce was not hired as the head coach.

Image for article titled Raiders remove interim tag, hire Antonio Pierce as head coach

Photo: Getty Images

“I want to be a Raider … but if we go in a different direction, there is nothing that is off the table,” Crosby said, regarding the decision to hire Pierce.

Pierce also particularly drew the ire of former head coach McDaniels. In one incident, Pierce tried to motivate the team by citing the 2007 Giants’ mindset when they beat the New England Patriots. While it clearly motivated the team, McDaniels chewed him out for mentioning the Patriots.

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