In the NFL, incompetence in front offices isn’t just par for the course — it’s expensive.
According to a recent report, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is on the hook for around $85 million after firing head coach Josh McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and other members of his coaching staff. The game of musical chairs continues for that franchise, as Antonio Pierce is now the 12th human being to coach a game for the Raiders in the last 20 seasons — that is not a typo.
In 2021, Jon Gruden resigned after an email hack showed he doesn’t like Black people, gay people or women. He was in the midst of a 10-year, $100 million contract, despite his winning percentage being barely over .500 and only making the playoffs five times in his 15 years as a head coach. Rich Bisaccia took over when Gruden was fired. He was not retained and McDaniels was brought in. Former General Manager Mike Mayock was let go after being “Gruden’s guy” and was replaced by Ziegler. And now Pierce is the interim head coach in Vegas. For how long, who knows? Being a Black interim coach in the NFL is a death sentence.
To say Davis has an interesting relationship with his fortune would be an understatement. This is the same man who made Becky Hammon the highest-paid coach in the WNBA until misogyny messed that up when the Phoenix Mercury hired Nate Tibbetts, a man with no experience coaching women’s basketball. Davis was also under investigation earlier this year for “making under-the-table payment offers to both current players and free agents the team has pursued.” It’s alleged that he was trying to circumvent the salary cap. And then there’s the whole thing about how some feel that Davis gave Tom Brady a discount on his buy-in deal for a minority stake in the Raiders.
Rich (white) men and their money are always curious tales.
Last season, the NFL tried its best to help its owners realize just how much money they were wasting, as they informed them that they’d spent $800 million on coaches and front-office executives who don’t even work for them anymore over the previous five years. The report detailed how at the time, the Panthers, Colts and Titans, were paying a minimum of $69 million with 12 years remaining on the contracts of former employees. The Giants were the worst, as they were paying three different coaching staffs in 2022.
Mediocrity ain’t cheap.
With the firing of McDaniels, the Raiders will either promote Pierce or be making another hire in the coming months. If you look around the league, the Patriots, Titans, Commanders, Giants, Bears, Chargers, Packers, Falcons, Cardinals, and even the Broncos, could also be looking for someone new. Job security rarely exists in this league.
But no matter what Mark Davis or his colleagues do over the next few months, we know two things are certain: The continued infatuation with hiring white men to be head coaches and general managers will continue at an insanely high rate, and millions more will be wasted due to the owners’ decisions. It’s a reminder of just how rich the owners are and how much of a cash cow the NFL has become. Because if you’re willing to spend almost a billion dollars on people you’ve fired, then how much are you bringing in for these costly learning lessons to have never taught you a single thing? Too much.