Josh McCown played for nine different teams during his NFL career, finishing in 2020 with the Houston Texans. Just a few years after his retirement, the 43-year-old could rise to the top of the coaching ranks much quicker than normal.
While McCown never played for the Texans in 2020, he served as an important veteran locker room presence and mentor to Deshaun Watson. Houston fell in love with the quarterback’s intelligence and leadership, sharing the belief of many in the NFL that he could one day become a head coach.
- Josh McCown career statistics: 17,731 passing yards, 98 passing touchdowns, 79.7 quarterback rating, 23-53 record
Shortly after his playing career ended, the Texans interviewed McCown for the head coaching vacancy. He bolstered his reputation within the organization, especially with owner Cal McNair and executive Jack Easterby.
Ultimately, the Texans hired David Culley and immediately offered McCown’s associate head coaching job. He turned down the job to coach his son at Rusk High School.
Houston fired Culley after the 2021 season, kicking off a coaching search for the second straight offseason. Once again, McCown emerged as the leading candidate. He eventually became a finalist and seemed like the favorite to replace Culley.
However, things seemed to change after Brian Flores’ lawsuit. The former Miami Dolphins coach alleged racial discrimination in hiring practices by NFL teams. Faced with the prospect of hiring McCown, who lacked professional coaching experience, the Texans promoted defensive coordinator Lovie Smith to head coach.
While McCown did not become the head coach in Houston, he reportedly received inquiries from multiple teams. According to Dan Pompei of The Athletic, the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings all tried to lure McCown to join their coaching staff.
Josh McCown’s future in the NFL
It likely won’t be long before McCown makes the jump from coaching high school football to working on an NFL sideline. As Pompei writers, there is a possibility that McCown could become an NFL head coach in 2023.
Hiring McCown will invite criticism. Just a few years after he stopped playing, he would be making an unprecedented jump from player to head coach. The success rate for head coaches is low, even those with years of experience as a positional coach and later as a coordinator.
If McCown is hired in 2023, he will bypass countless assistant coaches and coordinators who have spent years climbing the ranks. Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s struggles also highlight the difficulties respected minds have in their first year, dealing with the media and handling game administration along with other responsibilities.
This would all be new to McCown and he likely wouldn’t be taking over a team built to compete right away. It would also raise questions about why he was immediately hired, while the likes of Eric Bieniemy, Byron Leftwich and Jim Caldwell seemingly lack the qualifications in the eyes of decision-makers.
Ultimately, no one should be surprised if the rebuilding Texans end up with a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, fire Smith and name McCown their head coach this offseason.