It has become less unusual to see teams hire young head coaches in recent years and those teams have often paired those coaches with more experienced assistants, but the Bengals went a different way when they hired an offensive coordinator to go with Zac Taylor.
Taylor is 35 and Brian Callahan is 34, which gives the Bengals the youngest head coach/offensive coordinator duo in the league for 2019. Callahan said this week that he doesn’t “think age really matters” for the pair because both gained football experience by growing up as the sons of coaches and that their 22 combined years as coaches amounts to much more because of the demands of the NFL.
“I think years in this league are like dog years,” Callahan said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The amount of experience you gain in one year in the NFL, I think, is different than the traditional work environment. It’s so high stress. There are so many things that happen and move so fast. The amount of things that go on into a 16-game season and through the course of an offseason, you learn at an accelerated pace. I think that’s why you have so many younger coaches being able to handle these things. The lessons you learn happen so much quicker.”
The Bengals haven’t hired a defensive coordinator yet and the list of candidates suggests that they will be moving in a similar direction on the experience front. Should that approach succeed, Callahan’s view on age and experience will likely get more popular around the league.