Youth will be at the forefront of the Super Bowl 56 matchup between the Bengals and Rams. That is especially true for the coaches who will lead their respective teams at SoFi Stadium with a Lombardi Trophy on the line.
Indeed, Zac Taylor of the Bengals and Sean McVay of the Rams will combine for the youngest head-coaching matchup in the history of the big game. Should Taylor’s Bengals win, he would become the second-youngest coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl (McVay, in his second Super Bowl, would be the youngest).
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Taylor, of course, reached this stage in just his third season following 2-14 and 4-11-1 campaigns in 2019 and ’20, respectively. Cincinnati went 10-7 in the regular season before beating the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs in the playoffs.
It just goes to show that youth does not necessarily equate to inexperience. (Though it certainly does not hurt to have a wunderkind leading your team).
With that, The Sporting News breaks down everything you need to know about Taylor’s age and where it fits into NFL and Super Bowl history:
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How old is Zac Taylor?
Taylor is 38 years old.
Youngest active coaches in the NFL
Despite his relative youth, Taylor is just the second-youngest active coach in the NFL: He trails the 36-year-old McVay, who is 2 years, 8 months, 15 days younger than his Super Bowl counterpart and former quarterbacks coach.
Should the Vikings hire Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell following the Super Bowl, Taylor would then be the third-youngest coach in the league.
|* Kevin O’Connell||36||Vikings||0-0|
* Reported to be hired by the Vikings. Minnesota has not announced the move.
Youngest coaching hires in NFL history
Taylor is among the youngest active coaches in the NFL. However, he did not exactly break records for youngest hires at the time the Bengals brought him on in February 2019.
He was only the 24th-youngest coach – at the time of his hiring – in NFL history. He was older than such coaches as McVay, Lane Kiffin, John Madden, Don Shula, Al Davis, Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin (among others). In fact, he’s not even the youngest head-coaching hire in Bengals franchise history: That would go to David Shula, who was 32 years and 7 months old when he was hired in 1992.
Here is where Taylor ranks among the youngest coaches to ever be hired by an NFL team:
|Coach, team||Age at hiring|
|Sean McVay, Rams||30 years, 11 months|
|Lane Kiffin, Raiders||31 years, 8 months|
|Harland Answers, Rams||31 years, 11 months|
|John Michelosen, Steelers||32 years, 2 months|
|Raheem Morris, Buccaneers||32 years, 4 months|
|David Shula, Bengals||32 years, 7 months|
|Josh McDaniels, Broncos||32 years, 8 months|
|John Madden, Raiders||32 years, 10 months|
|Don Shula, Colts||33 years, 4 days|
|Al Davis, Raiders||33 years, 6 months|
|Joe Collier, Bills||33 years, 7 months|
|Bob Snyder, Rams||33 years, 11 month|
|Jim Trimble, Eagles||34 years, 3 months|
|Jon Gruden, Raiders||34 years, 5 months|
|Bill Cowher, Steelers||34 years, 8 months, 13 days|
|Joe Kuharich, Cardinals||34 years, 8 months, 25 days|
|Jack Christiansen, 49ers||34 years, 9 months|
|Norm Van Brocklin, Vikings||34 years, 10 months, 3 days|
|Mike Tomlin, Steelers||34 years, 10 months, 7 days|
|Joe Schmidt, Lions||34 years, 11 months, 23 days|
|Eric Mangini, Jets||34 years, 11 months, 28 days|
|Mike Shanahan, Raiders||35 years, 6 months|
|Zac Taylor, Bengals||35 years, 8 months|
Youngest coaches in Super Bowl history
Taylor and McVay will make history on Sunday as the youngest pairing of Super Bowl head coaches. They will represent at Super Bowl 56 the second- and fifth-youngest coaches to ever reach the stage:
It’s the youngest combined age for 2 HCs in #SuperBowl history – by almost 9 years 🤯
It’s also the 1st playoff matchup with 2 HCs under 40 since 1952. pic.twitter.com/aeNNzA9sLh
– NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) February 8, 2022
The previous such record came when Tomlin (36 at the time) and Ken Whisenhunt (46) combined to be 83 years and 297 days old at Super Bowl 43.
Below are the 10 youngest coaches to have ever reached the Super Bowl:
|Sean McVay||33 years, 11 days||53|
|Sean McVay||36 years, 22 days||56|
|Mike Tomlin||36 years, 10 months and 18 days||43|
|Bill Cowher||38 years, 8 months, 21 days||30|
|Zac Taylor||38 years, 9 months, 5 days||56|
|Mike Tomlin||38 years, 10 months, 23 days||45|
|Don Shula||39 years, 9 days||3|
|Jon Gruden||39 years, 5 months, 10 days||37|
|Kyle Shanahan||40 years, 1 month, 20 days||54|
|John Rauch||40 years, 4 months, 26 days||2|
Youngest coaches to win the Super Bowl
Currently, Tomlin still holds the record for youngest coach to ever win the Super Bowl: He was 36 years, 10 months and 18 days old when the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl 43. The previous record-holder for youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach was Jon Gruden, who was 39 years, 5 months, 10 days when the Buccaneers beat the Raiders in Super Bowl 37.
If Taylor’s Bengals win the Super Bowl on Sunday, he would be the second-youngest Super Bowl winning coach. If McVay’s Rams win, he would claim the record from Tomlin by roughly 10 months.