That did not last long. Three weeks into the tenure of interim head coach Antonio Pierce, and it appears that flighty Raiders owner Mark Davis has, once again, been caught on camera with a less-than-flattering criticism of his coach. We were used to that kind of thing under coach Josh McDaniels, who was fired by Las Vegas three weeks ago. It’s new for Pierce.
With 7:40 to play in the Raiders’ Week 11 loss to Miami on Sunday, the team had the ball at the Dolphins’ 31-yard line, with a fourth-and-3 situation. The Dolphins led, 20-13, so the Raiders could have attempted a 48-yard field goal that would have given them a chance to win the game with a touchdown. Instead, they went for it, and failed.
When cameras showed Davis apparently angrily saying, to no one in particular, “Why the f*** didn’t he take the three?” it was interpreted that Davis was criticizing Pierce for not making it a 20-16 game. But he could have been (and this is more likely, logically) talking about not taking the three yards.
Remember, the play that the Raiders ran in that situation was a deep throw from rookie Aidan O’Connell to Jakobi Meyers down the left sideline. It was a bold call, but also a foolish one when the team do desperately needed a first down—so desperately needed three. As in, yards.
Raiders’ Mark Davis Said to Be Happy With Antonio Pierce
Still, the status of the Antonio Pierce-Mark Davis relationship will be something that bears watching throughout the remainder of the Raiders’ season. Davis will ultimately make the decision on whom his next coach is to be, after cycling through McDaniels, interim Rich Bisaccia and Jon Gruden in the last three years before arriving at this chance for Pierce.
At least until Sunday, all signs pointed toward Davis at least being happy with what he’d seen from Pierce.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport wrote on Sunday that, “While Mark Davis has not specifically stated what interim coach Antonio Pierce needs to do for the full-time job to be his for the 2024 season and beyond, sources say Davis has noticed the energy in the building that Pierce brought when he was elevated following McDaniels’ firing on Oct. 31. While pleasantly surprised in how the team has responded with back-to-back wins, Davis is said to be impressed, sources say.”
Josh McDaniels Took Some Owner’s Box Abuse
But in-game profanity from the owner’s box has not been a good omen in the past when it comes to Raiders coaches this season.
Remember the Packers game on Monday Night Football in Week 5? In that one, Mark Davis was caught on camera, with a national audience, apparently yelling, “What an a**hole,” toward the field after McDaniels opted to kick a field goal late in the first half. The Raiders won that game, but no one was all that happy, and McDaniels was fired five weeks later.
As for Antonio Pierce, he does have one backer in Raiders legend Howie Long, who told Kay Adams of the “Up and Adams” show that he thinks Pierce has a shot at keeping the Raiders job.
“Love it,” Long said. “Love the story. … Time will tell. I think (Pierce’s) eyes are wide open in terms of, it’s an opportunity. And I think the Rich Bisaccia situation a couple of years ago when they got into the playoffs, and surprised some people, he closed out the year really well and he seemed like he had a grasp of who the team was, there was an identity, there was a culture. I think Mark Davis probably learned something from that.”