The Las Vegas Raiders don't need to spend the next month looking for a new head coach. They don't need to get into a bidding war for the biggest name on the coaching market. They don't need to make a splash just for the sake of making a splash.
The Raiders should absolutely evaluate their situation fairly, but ultimately, how can they possibly move off of Antonio Pierce? The interim head coach has done a phenomenal job and, to this point, has kept the Raiders in the playoff race in the 2023 season despite the disaster we saw early in the season with Josh McDaniels.
The Raiders have gone the high-profile route with their last couple of hires. They had Jon Gruden in the building on a 10-year contract before he was forced to unceremoniously resign. They hired Josh McDaniels, an elusive candidate whose failure in Las Vegas was eerily similar to his failure in Denver with the Broncos.
Although Gruden seemed to have the team on the right track as far as on-field is concerned, neither Gruden nor McDaniels set the type of culture the Raiders as an organization can be proud of. Antonio Pierce has absolutely done that, and that's what you ultimately want from a head coach, right?
Pierce has shown himself to be quite the potential head coach candidate with the way he's led this team. The Raiders just won on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day. They buried the Los Angeles Chargers and got head coach Brandon Staley fired with a 63-21 blowout a few weeks ago.
Although it hasn't been perfect, we've seen the Raiders play some really good football without Josh Jacobs for a good portion of this season, and with Aidain O'Connell taking his lumps and showing a ton of improvement as a rookie. And O'Connell is looking like he could be a starter going forward for this team.
We're seeing the Raiders truly respond to Pierce's leadership and coaching style. We're seeing player development (including at the game's most important position) over an extended period of time. We're seeing the defense truly take a leap forward under his watch:
With Pierce doing as well as he has, why would the Raiders not give him at least another year to see how this team could actually develop if he's given the keys to the car for an entire offseason? Regardless of how this season ends up for Vegas, it's been an impressive job done by Pierce in that locker room, which was ailing under Josh McDaniels.
The Raiders were scoffed at for lighting up the cigars in the locker room after beating a bad New York Giants team, but the celebration wasn't just due to beating the Giants -- it was the fact that this team finally got away from horrible leadership. And perhaps now, they've stumbled into a great situation.
It's hard to say whether or not this is lightning in a bottle or whether it's something sustainable. If I were the Raiders, I'd be taking my chances that building upon what we've seen this season could work going forward.