The 2019 hiring cycle saw the pendulum swing sharply in the direction of Sean McVay. More specifically, anyone who has worked with him, worked for him, and/or shared an elevator with him.
Three of eight head-coaching jobs went to coaches with McVay connections, sort of. Two were direct — new Packers coach Matt LaFleur and new Bengals coach Zac Taylor worked for McVay in L.A. One was tenuous, but nevertheless mentioned by the Cardinals when hiring Kliff Kingsbury: He and McVay are friends.
So which of them will live up to the hype? LaFleur arguably has the best team, but also the toughest task of getting through to a locker room dominated by the presence of Aaron Rodgers. Taylor has low expectations as he takes over a team that has a feel of irrelevance and mediocrity; the low bar actually gives him a great chance to overachieve, since no one expects much from the Bengals.
Then there’s Kingsbury, who is essentially a crapshoot with the Cardinals. He wanted quarterback Kyler Murray, and Kingsbury got him. Now, the guy who was fired for not being good enoug in a so-so college conference has to navigate the toughest division in football.
With defensive-minded Vic Fangio getting his first head-coaching job at age 60 in Denver, the Broncos’ performance relative to Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Arizona will become a great litmus test for the new infatuation with young offensive minds. Depending on how things go this season, the pendulum could swing sharply in the other direction by January.