Packers Head Coach Candidate: Darrell Bevell
During the two-year stretch when quarterback Brett Favre played for the Vikings, Packers fans often lumped Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell into the conversation when criticizing Green Bay.
Favre and Bevell both came from Green Bay, and the resurgence of Favre’s career in 2009 under Bevell’s tutelage created the ultimate “what if” in the minds of Packers fans. What if the Packers had promoted Bevell to head coach after firing Mike Sherman in 2005? Would Favre still be here, and would the Packers had won another Super Bowl?
Now, Bevell is a coach looking for a coaching opportunity. Will the Packers job be in his sights?
The details on Darrell Bevell
Most recent job: Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks (2011-2017)
Record as a head coach: 0-0
First job: Graduate Assistant, Iowa State (1997)
Packers connection: Coached quarterbacks for the Packers under head coach Mike Sherman from 2000-2005, including Aaron Rodgers’ 2005 rookie season. Vikings offensive coordinator during quarterback Brett Favre’s tenure (2009-2010).
The background on Darrell Bevell
Darrell Bevell first made his mark as the quarterback of the Wisconsin Badgers in the early 1990’s. Bevell led the Badgers to a 10-1-1 record in 1993 and a surprise appearance in the Rose Bowl – the school’s first since 1963.
Following stops at Iowa State and Connecticut, Packers head coach Mike Sherman added Bevell to his staff in 2000 as an assistant quarterbacks coach. By the end of Sherman’s tenure in 2005, Bevell was the team’s quarterbacks coach and was Aaron Rodgers’ first position coach in Green Bay.
Bevell joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 as offensive coordinator, coaching under Brad Childress. The former Badgers quarterback was coached by Childress in Wisconsin, and now the pair reunited across the Mississippi. In four years, Bevell’s coaching star rose as he guided the Vikings offense to success behind Adrian Peterson and (for two years) Brett Favre.
The next seven seasons were spent in Seattle as the offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll. Bevell continued to be a trendy name in coaching as he helped usher in the emergence of quarterback Russell Wilson, and saw the Seahawks win a Super Bowl. After the 2017 season, however, Carroll dismissed Bevell as he believed a new voice was needed as offensive coordinator.
Bevell was likely a casualty of Josh McDaniels’ last-minute withdrawal from the Colts head coaching position. Ian Rapoport noted the former Seahawks coordinator was a top target as offensive coordinator for Indianapolis under McDaniels, until the Patriots offensive coordinator had a change of heart and stayed in New England. Left without a dance partner, Bevell has spent the 2018 season with his family near Provo, Utah.
Darrell Bevell’s biggest moment
There are many highlights of Bevell’s football career – leading the Badgers to a win in the Rose Bowl over UCLA as a player or winning the Super Bowl as offensive coordinator of the Seahawks are two easy ones.
However, his legacy as it stands today is defined by one play in a Super Bowl the Seahawks lost. The controversial goal line call to pass instead of run against the New England Patriots. ESPN’s Brady Henderson explains what happened best:
The Seahawks trailed by four points with 26 seconds and one timeout left. They faced second-and-goal from the New England Patriots' 1-yard line after a first-down carry by Marshawn Lynch. As coach Pete Carroll would later explain, he determined that the only way the Seahawks would have time to run all three plays -- if they needed to -- would be to throw the ball on at least one of them, thereby stopping the clock should the pass fall incomplete.
With New England in its goal-line defense that included only three defensive backs, the Seahawks opted to throw on second down instead of having Lynch run into a stacked front that was set up to stop him.
In Darrell Bevell’s own words
Before the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl, it wasn’t inconceivable to envision Darrell Bevell as an NFL head coach as early as 2016. He had the credentials – a long-time offensive coordinator with success in multiple schemes and multiple teams – and was the position coach for Brett Favre in Green Bay.
When Favre was in Green Bay, being the team’s quarterbacks coach was almost surely an invitation to a head coaching position in the NFL later down the road. Steve Mariucci, Marty Mornhinweg, Andy Reid, and Mike McCarthy are four were Favre’s quarterbacks coach and went on to become a head coach. (And subsequently after this interaction, Ben McAdoo joined this group.)
Bevell was asked what he thought of the list of names.
"It's pretty good," Bevell said of the streak. "But it hasn't finished yet, right?"
What are the chances Darrell Bevell is the next Packers head coach?
Jon’s Rating: 0/5
Some coaches are just built to be coordinators. That seems like Darrell Bevell to a T. He had a good thing going with Pete Carroll, but after that ended he never caught on anywhere. It seems like it would be a big jump (and perhaps a bridge too far) to go from being out of the league to the top job for an organization that needs to find something as close to a sure thing as possible. Count me out of the Bevell sweepstakes.
Gary’s Rating: 0/5
The interception by Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl is one of the rare fulcrum moments in NFL history. So much changed as a result. At the time, Tom Brady had lost his last two Super Bowl appearances and was seconds away from his third. The Seahawks, had they won two straight Super Bowls, could have been heralded a dynasty as the Patriots have been.
Instead, the Seahawks haven’t made it back to the Super Bowl since. And Darrell Bevell’s reputation as a top-flight offensive mind and head coach candidate has faded. The league’s become more enamored with young, spread offensive concepts. The offensive style Bevell prefers became outdated overnight.
Bevell was nearly the Colts’ offensive coordinator under McDaniels, and seems more suited to fill that role for a team in 2019. While I believe he’s a long shot for the Packers head coaching job, it might make sense for him to return to Green Bay as an offensive coordinator under certain circumstances.