Raiders Interim Antonio Pierce Admits He’s ‘Racing Time’ on Coaching Job

Interim Antonio Pierce (right) and Raiders owner Mark Davis

Getty Interim Antonio Pierce (right) and Raiders owner Mark Davis

As the Las Vegas Raiders head, mercifully, into their Week 13 bye, carrying two straight losses against Super Bowl contending teams with them, interim Antonio Pierce knows that he might well be running out of time. There will be five weeks left when the Raiders, now just 5-7, return.

Their playoff chances are looking slimmer and slimmer. As it stands, they are 12th in the AFC playoff picture, just a game-and-a-half out of the seventh and final postseason spot, but with four teams stacked ahead of them in the hierarchy.

Ultimately, interim Antonio Pierce would like to be just plain old coach Antonio Pierce, and he might not get that chance if he can’t rally the team down the stretch into the playoffs. It won’t be easy—the Raiders close with the Vikings, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts and Broncos, teams with a combined 30-26 record.

Pierce knows he has five weeks to secure this job. So he is going to take advantage of the bye to get himself “right.”

“Get right. Got five weeks,” he said at his press conference this week. “Get right. If I don’t get right, I will have a lot more time off—52 weeks.”

AP Gets Philosophical on Coaching Job

As an interim, Antonio Pierce has had some freedom to be a little more open and honest with the media than most coaches can be. That was the case on Monday as the Raiders licked their wounds from the 31-17 loss to the Chiefs the previous day.

Pierce was philosophical about his plight. If he runs out of time, if he does not secure the Raiders job, he knows he will still be better for having had the experience.

“Each and every game you get better, right?” Pierce told reporters Monday. “Hopefully. Some people say you’re getting worse. That’s cool. Everybody got an opinion. You know what that is. But for me, overall, it’s just understanding how we operate. Working with Pat [Patrick Graham], working with Tom [McMahon], being side by side with Bo [Hardegree], working with Matt Sheldon with the game management. That takes time.

“And I get it; I’m racing time now, right? The clock is ticking, right? It’s almost over. I get it. But the best part about it, I know whenever this is over, I’ve gotten better. It will be a better AP whenever that happens. So, I’m fine with that.”

Interim Antonio Pierce Could Be Helped by the Bisaccia Experience

One thing that Pierce has working in his favor is the experience the Raider had with popular former interim Rich Bisaccia, who took over for Jon Gruden five weeks into the 2021 season, finished 7-5 to lead the Raiders to the playoffs, then was not given the opportunity to keep the job thereafter. Owner Mark Davis instead hired Josh McDaniels.

If this year’s interim Antonio Pierce makes the playoffs, somehow, the presumption is that Davis won’t make that mistake again.

That was a point made earlier this month by Raiders legend Howie Long on the “Up and Adams” podcast.

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.”





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