The New York Giants will go up against an old friend making his head-coaching debut on Sunday afternoon.
Former linebacker Antonio Pierce, who played for Big Blue from 2005-2009, was elevated to interim head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders following the dismissal of Josh McDaniels on Tuesday night ahead of their Week 9 meeting with the Giants.
The 45-year-old was in his second season as the Raiders’ linebacker coach after spending five seasons at Arizona State as linebacker coach, associate head coach, and defensive coordinator. Out of his nine-year NFL playing career, five were spent with the Giants where he recorded 377 solo tackles with seven sacks, six forced fumbles, and four interceptions.
He was a central figure of a Giants defense that upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, delivering New York its first Super Bowl title since January of 1991.
The Raiders sit at 3-5 in 2023 following a Monday night loss to the Detroit Lions on the heels of an 18-point loss to the lowly Chicago Bears. McDaniels was 9-16 across two seasons with Las Vegas. Their 126 points scored ranks 28th in the league this season — though it’s considerably better than the Giants’ 95 points scored, which ranks dead-last in the NFL.
Their defense hasn’t been much better, ranking 24th in the league. It could lay the groundwork for a breakthrough for the Giants’ offense, which might finally be getting Daniel Jones back after a three-week absence due to a neck injury.