Against all odds, the Las Vegas Raiders made the playoffs as the fifth seed in the AFC. The season didn’t end how they wanted, though, as they fell to the Cincinnati Bengals 26-19 on Saturday, January 15, in the Wild Card round. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia kept the team on track during a tumultuous season, but that doesn’t automatically mean he’ll get the “interim” tag removed from his title.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday, January 17, that the Raiders will do a full coaching search before deciding on who will lead the team in the 2022 season. Bisaccia will be considered, but the latest odds show that it’s no guarantee that owner Mark Davis will hire him. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman said on January 5 that some of his sources suggest Jim Harbaugh would consider leaving the University of Michigan if the right NFL opportunity were to become available. Harbaugh began his NFL coaching career in 2002 as the Raiders’ quarterback coach.
Harbaugh is a premier head coach at the college level, and it would seem difficult for the Raiders to say no to him if he were to want the job. According to SportsBetting.ag, Harbaugh is indeed the favorite to get the job with Bisaccia coming in second place.
It’s important to note that these odds are not made on a whim. A lot of research goes into them. It’s not a guarantee that Harbaugh is coming to Las Vegas, but it’s certainly notable that SportsBetting.ag believes there’s a strong chance it happens.
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Other Interesting Names on the List
It’s notable that Doug Pederson and Mike Tomlin have decent odds for the Raiders job. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports suggested on January 9 that the team wants a “rock star” head coach and mentioned that Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ longtime head coach, fits that description. The Steelers were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, January 16, in a 42-21 Wild Card loss and are expected to lose their quarterback of 18 years, Ben Roethlisberger. In 15 years as head coach, Tomlin has never had a losing season in Pittsburgh.
There hasn’t been anything substantial linking Pederson to the Raiders but it would make sense if he gets an interview. He won a Super Bowl in 2017 and is one of the stronger candidates on the market. If the Raiders want an offensive-minded head coach, he’d be a good fit. At this point, it’s hard to imagine Davis seriously considers a first-time head coach for the job.
Does Bisaccia Deserve the Job?
Based on the team’s performance under Bisaccia, he deserves to be the head coach. However, it’s not that simple. Davis hired Jon Gruden in 2018 because he wanted a powerful voice to control the football operations. Davis is not his dad. He doesn’t want to control too many aspects of the team.
Bisaccia is a great leader and players love him but he’s not going to be running the personnel side of things. That’s fine if Davis believes that general manager Mike Mayock can get the job done but it’s difficult to know if he does. Also, interim coaches who get the full-time job rarely have success. The Raiders tried this with Tom Cable only to fire him after two full seasons. Bisaccia could be an excellent head coach but does Davis want to take that risk when a guy like Harbaugh could be available? That will be the biggest question of the offseason for the Raiders.