© Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC
The Cincinnati Bengals are set to make one of the youngest hires in the history of the NFL in Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor. They hope to catch the wave of potential in the 35-year-old and ride it to the next generation of teams.
The proposition is risky, to be sure, though the rest of the NFL is going along the same lines with young, offensive-minded coaches popping up around the league this hiring cycle. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona) and Matt LaFleur (Green Bay) are both 39. They follow along with Taylor in the lineage of the youngest coach in NFL history, Los Angeles' Sean McVay.
When assessing the history of hiring young coaches, you'll find the boom-or-bust candidate is a definitive reality. The success stories have defined franchises. The failures set them back years. There's almost no in-between.
Let's take a look at the youngest coaches hired in the Super Bowl era.
Sean McVay, Rams
- Age at hiring: 30 years, 11 months
- Record: 24-8, back-to-back playoff appearances
- What happened: Everyone wants a piece of McVay's friends after two years of leading the change as a face of the next generation of the NFL.
Jon Gruden, Raiders
- Age at hiring: 34 years, 5 months
- Record: 42-38, 2-2 in postseason
- What happened: Started slow with back-to-back 8-8 seasons, then caught fire, ripping off a 22-10 record over his final two years, stunned by the Tuck Rule during his best season. Went on to win a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2002, his first year after leaving Oakland.
Bill Cowher, Steelers
- Age at hiring: 34 years, 8 months
- Record: 149-90-1, two Super Bowls appearances, one title
- What happened: Spent 15 years with the Steelers, winning double-digit games in five of his first six years. Captured Super Bowl XL in 2006.
Mike Tomlin, Steelers
- Age at hiring: 34 years, 10 months
- Record: 125-66, 8-7 in playoffs, two Super Bowl appearances, one title
- What happened: Tomlin picked up the Cowher torch and ran with it, winning the Super Bowl in his second season and advancing to the big game in his fourth. Currently in a run of five straight winning seasons.
Lane Kiffin, Raiders
- Age at hiring: 31 years, 8 months
- Record: 5-15
- What happened: Made it four games into his second season before the house came crumbling down.
Raheem Morris, Bucs
- Age at hiring: 32 years, 4 months
- Record: 17-31, no playoffs
- What happened: Did manage a 10-6 season his second year, but sandwiched by disastrous season, including a 4-12 campaign his final season where Tampa gave up the most points in the league.
David Shula, Bengals
- Age at hiring: 32 years, 7 months
- Record: 19-52
- What happened: Bengals fans don't want to rehash these memories. Shula was the fastest to 50 losses in NFL history.
Josh McDaniels, Broncos
- Age at hiring: 32 years, 8 months
- Record: 11-17
- What happened: Went 8-8 his first year, but then was booted 13 games into his second season where Denver went 3-9 amid personality issues.
Eric Mangini, Jets
- Age at hiring: 34 years, 11 months
- Record: 23-25, one playoff appearance
- What happened: The closest thing to a middle-of-the-road tenure. Went 10-6 and lost in the playoffs his first season (2006), then eventually was let go after three years, landing in Cleveland for back-to-back 5-11 campaigns.
Mike Shanahan, Raiders
- Age at hiring: 35 years, 6 months
- Record: 8-12
- What happened: Shanahan was let go four games into his second season in 1989 as Art Shell took over. He would go on to success with the Broncos, including back-to-back titles at age 45 and 46, but his first stint was rough.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Boom or bust? Evaluating young NFL coaches' success during Super Bowl era
Related slideshow: NFL coaching carousel (Provided by USA TODAY Sports)