MOBILE, Ala. (Dec. 31) – California’s Bay Area will be well represented in Alabama’s Bay Area in January as the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have been selected by the NFL as the two coaching staffs for the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
This marks the 70th year the NFL will send two of its full coaching staffs to the game’s premier all-star and pre-draft event. Reese’s Senior Bowl week starts on Monday, January 21 and concludes with the 70th Annual Reese’s Senior Bowl on January 26 at 1:30pm CT at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
“The Reese’s Senior Bowl is excited to have the two Bay Area teams coaching in our 70th annual game,” said Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy. “The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers are both iconic franchises. With eight Super Bowl victories between them, the Raiders and Niners are historic brands of the league and the Senior Bowl is honored to have them at our game this year.”
The 49ers, who will coach the South team, have coached the Reese’s Senior Bowl five times, last coaching in the game in 2008, ending a stretch of three consecutive coaching appearances (Mike Nolan 2006-08). They also coached in 1975 (Dick Nolan) and 1981 (Bill Walsh).
The Raiders, who will lead the North team, have also coached in the Reese’s Senior Bowl five times previously – 1992 (Art Shell), 1999 (Jon Gruden), 2005 (Norv Turner), 2008 (Lane Kiffin) and 2013 (Dennis Allen).
Both the Raiders and 49ers finished with 4-12 records in 2018. The 49ers hold the second overall pick and the Raiders will select fourth in April’s 2019 NFL Draft.
Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden will be coaching in the Reese’s Senior Bowl for the fourth time. He coached the North team as the Raiders head coach in 1999, falling to Bucs’ coach Tony Dungy and the South, 31-21. He then coached in the game twice as the head coach of the Bucs, in 2005 and 2007, going 1-1 in those games.
“We’re fired up to have Jon Gruden back in Mobile,” Nagy said. “He brings such rare energy and passion to the game of football. This is a unique opportunity for our fans to see and hear coach Gruden at field level during our practice week.”
Gruden, 55, returned to coaching this season after spending nearly a decade in the broadcast booth. Gruden compiled a 95-81 (.540) regular season mark in his 12 seasons as a head coach with the Raiders (1999-2001, 2018) and Bucs (2002-2008) and a 5-4 postseason mark, which includes a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
When he was initially hired by Al Davis with the Raiders in 1998, he was the youngest coach in the league at age 34 and posted a 38-26 record, leading the silver and black to back-to-back AFC West titles in 2000 and 2001, including a trip to the AFC Championship game in 2000.
“The Oakland Raiders are excited to coach in the premier all-star game in the land,” Gruden said. “The opportunity to interact with the Senior Bowl rosters and help these great young men achieve their dreams has the entire Raider staff galvanized. We could not be more pumped to get to Mobile.”
Shanahan, 39, who will coach the South, will be making his head coaching debut in the Senior Bowl, but coached twice in the game previously as an assistant.
Ironically, his first coaching experience in the Reese’s Senior Bowl was in 2005 as the Offensive Quality Control Coordinator for Gruden with the Bucs. In 2012, he returned to Mobile as the Offensive Coordinator of the Washington Redskins, under his father Mike Shanahan.
“Our players are lucky to have the opportunity to be around coach Shanahan and his staff for a week,” Nagy said. “He is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game today and the Reese’s Senior Bowl is excited that our fans will get an up-close look at how he prepares players. In addition, we are excited to have a great football man like General Manager John Lynch around our game all week, as well.”
“The Senior Bowl is a tremendous opportunity for NFL teams to get a firsthand look at some of the top college prospects, and the City of Mobile has always been a gracious host,” Lynch said. “The opportunity to coach these young men is an invaluable asset to our evaluation process and one that we are excited to have. We look forward to getting to know these guys personally while working with them on the practice field, in meetings and even in the dining facilities.”
Shanahan has 15 seasons of coaching experience in the NFL, the past two as the 49ers’ head coach, where he has compiled a 10-22 record.
Prior to his first head coaching position, he served as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons (2015-2016), Cleveland Browns (2014), Washington Redskins (2010-2013) and Houston Texans (2008-2009).
Following the 2016 season, in which the Falcons appeared in Super Bowl LI, Shanahan was named the Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year.