Todd Bowles, Kevin O’Connell and Doug Pederson are the only postseason head coaches this year who earlier in their football lives also played in the league.
They all are completing their first seasons as head coach of their respective teams.
The Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell is completing his first season as head coach on any level. After a three-year career (2009-11) as a backup quarterback for the Jets, he did some television work before returning to the league. He joined the Browns coaching staff in 2015 and then moved to the 49ers the following year. He went East to the Redskins from 2017-20 and then his big break occurred when Sean McVay signed him as the Rams offensive coordinator in 2020. He helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl title last season and the Vikings made him head coach a few days later.
The Buccaneers Todd Bowles and Jaguars Doug Pederson are both serving as head coaches for the second time. Bowles previously was head coach of the Jets from 2015-18 after an 18-year career as an assistant coach in the college and NFL ranks. He joined the Bucs as defensive coordinator in 2019 and was promoted to head coach last March when Bruce Arians moved to the front office. As a player, Bowles was a starting safety for the Redskins and 49ers from 1986-93. He earned a winning Super Bowl ring as a player with Washington and as a coach with the Bucs in 2021.
Doug Pederson led the Jaguars to the AFC South title earlier this month. After a 13-year (1992-04) playing career as quarterback for four NFL teams, Pederson turned to high school coaching in Louisiana for four seasons. He joined the Eagles staff in 2009, was the Chiefs offensive coordinator from 2013-15 and then returned to Philadelphia where he led the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl title in his second season. Pederson was released by the Eagles in 2021 and took over as head coach of the Jaguars last February.
We wish playoff success starting this weekend to all three of our alumni brothers!