Josh McCown played for nine different teams during his NFL career and ended things with the Houston Texans in 2020. With just a few years to go before retirement, the 43-year-old could rise to the top of the coaching ranks much faster than usual.
While McCown never played for the Texans in 2020, he was a key veteran in the locker room and a mentor to Deshaun Watson. Houston fell in love with the quarterback’s intelligence and leadership, and shared the belief of many in the NFL that he could one day become the head coach.
- Josh McCown career stats: 17,731 passing yards, 98 passing touchdowns, 79.7 quarterback rating, 23-53 record
Shortly after he ended his playing career, the Texans interviewed McCown for their position as head coach. He built his reputation within the organization, particularly with Ms. Cal McNair and general manager Jack Easterby.
Ultimately, the Texans hired David Culley and then immediately offered McCown the position of assistant head coach. He turned down the job of coaching his son at Rusk High School.
Houston fired Culley after the 2021 season and began a coaching search for the second straight offseason. Once again, McCown emerged as the front runner. He eventually became a finalist and appeared to be the favorite to replace Culley.
However, after the lawsuit against Brian Flores, things appeared to be changing. The former Miami Dolphins coach alleged racial discrimination in NFL teams’ hiring practices. The Texans eyed the possibility of hiring McCown, who had no professional coaching experience whatsoever, and promoted defensive coordinator Lovie Smith to head coaching position.
Although McCown did not become Houston’s head coach, he reportedly received requests from several teams. According to The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings have all tried to get McCown to join their coaching staff.
Josh McCown’s future in the NFL
It probably won’t be long before McCown makes the leap from coaching high school football to working on an NFL sideline. As Pompei authors, there’s a chance McCown will become NFL head coach in 2023.
McCown’s hiring will draw criticism. Just a few years after playing, he would make an unprecedented leap from player to head coach. The success rate for head coaches is low, even those with years of experience as a position coach and then a coordinator.
If McCown is hired in 2023, he’ll skip countless assistant coaches and coordinators who’ve worked their way up the ranks for years. Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s struggles also highlight the difficulties respected minds have in their freshman year, dealing with the media and dealing with in-game management and other responsibilities.
All of this would be new to McCown and he probably wouldn’t take on a team built for immediate competition. It would also raise questions as to why he was hired outright, while the likes of Eric Bieniemy, Byron Leftwich and Jim Caldwell appear to lack qualifications in the eyes of decision makers.
Ultimately, no one should be surprised if the rebuilding Texans finish the 2023 NFL Draft with a top-10 pick, fire Smith and name McCown their head coach this offseason.