Football season is back, so it’s time for another installment of Company Men. I forgot to write this newsletter until new Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett did the absolute worst job I’ve ever seen of late-game management. In this mini-series, I take a look at the new head coaching hires in the NFL and see the type of person that gets rewarded with one of the 32 best jobs in football. This season, this list should be under extra scrutiny after Brian Flores filed a discrimination lawsuit against the league regarding its hiring practices. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s esteemed list.
- Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears — Eberflus served as the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts for the past three seasons. The Colts failed to make the playoffs last season as the last playoff spot would end up going to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the last game of the season, the Colts somehow found a way to lose to the 2–14 Jacksonville Jaguars in a 26–11 blowout.
- Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos — Hackett spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. During that time, the Packers were lauded as one of the best offenses in the entire league, so it was extremely odd when they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs 13–10 to the San Francisco 49ers.
- Lovie Smith, Houston Texans — Smith spent last season as the Texans’ defensive coordinator, where they put up remarkable defensive numbers. That wasn’t enough to win ball games in the wake of the Deshaun Watson sexual assault investigation as the team would finish the season with a 4–13 record. The Texans parted ways with previous head coach David Culley but made the astute decision to promote Smith to oversee both sides of the football.
- Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars — Previous head coach Urban Meyer was fired midseason after a frankly embarrassing and tumultuous tenure with the franchise. The organization made the move to bring in Super Bowl champion coach Pederson to attempt to turn around the team. Pederson, a former quarterback during his playing career, has been brought in to attempt to salvage the professional career of Trevor Lawrence, who couldn’t motivate me to cook dinner.
- Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders — Similar to Meyer’s situation with the Jaguars, Jon Gruden unceremoniously resigned in the wake of racist and sexist allegations during his tenure as head coach of the Raiders. The Raiders promoted their long-term special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the interim role and he lead the team to the playoffs, where they lost to the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. Bisaccia was not offered the permanent position and was instead hired by the Packers as their special teams coordinator. He was then replaced by McDaniels, who had been the offensive coordinator and play-caller for the New England Patriots for the past decade. The Patriots’ offense failed to show up for the final game of their season, losing by 30 points to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
- Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins — Rapper Logic spent the previous four seasons with the 49ers as their offensive coordinator. His tenure with the team ended with their loss in the NFC title game to the eventual Super Bowl Champions Los Angeles Rams.
- Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings — Speaking of the Champion Rams, O’Connell spent the previous season as their offensive coordinator. He thoroughly deserves this shot at being a head coach after the historic season they’ve had.
- Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints — Allen spent the previous seven seasons as the Saints’ defensive coordinator and was part of Sean Payton’s coaching staff when they won Super Bowl XLIV. Allen was also the secondary coach during the infamous Bountygate scandal. Allen took over the head coaching role following Payton’s retirement and attempt to go coach Tom Brady with the Dolphins.
- Brian Daboll, New York Giants — Daboll spent the previous three seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator. Daboll and the Bills lost a barnburner to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs in his final game with the team but did a remarkable job of turning them into a dynamic offense centered around Josh Allen. Daboll is perhaps best known as the “other Brian” that Bill Belichick meant to send a congratulatory text message that instead went to Brian Flores and started him down the path of his discrimination lawsuit.
- Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Bowles spent the previous three seasons with the Buccaneers organization as the defensive coordinator before Bruce Arians’ abrupt retirement this past offseason. Bowles has built up an outstanding reputation as a defensive coach and was a key ingredient in their Super Bowl LV triumph over the Chiefs.
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