5 Largest Head Coach Age Differences in Super Bowl History

Bill Belichick and Sean McVay will make Super Bowl history this Sunday

Among all the intriguing storylines related to Super Bowl LIII is one involving the two head coaches. On one side is Bill Belichick, the five-time Super Bowl champion who also is the NFL's longest-tenured head coach. On the other is Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in NFL history who finds himself on the game's biggest stage in just his second season.

 

As you may guess, Super Bowl LIII will feature the largest age gap between head coaches in the big game's history. This also is the case for the quarterbacks. Does this mean the grizzled Belichick has the distinct advantage over the young whippersnapper McVay? Here are the biggest age differences among the head coaches in Super Bowl history.

 

5. Super Bowl LI: Bill Belichick and Dan Quinn (18 years, 4 months, 26 days)

Age and maturity versus youth and inexperience was an easy narrative as Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead to lose to the Patriots in overtime.

 

4. Super Bowl XXX: Barry Switzer and Bill Cowher (19 years, 7 months, 3 days)

If you had told Switzer in January 1994 that he would be coaching the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl two years later, he probably would have laughed in your face. Yet the former Oklahoma Sooners head coach was doing just that thanks to a falling out between owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson. Switzer’s team beat fourth-year coach Cowher’s Pittsburgh Steelers in one of the most surreal Super Bowls ever.

 

3. Super Bowl XXXIV: Dick Vermeil and Jeff Fisher (21 years, 3 months, 26 days)

After 15 years in the broadcast booth, Vermeil returned to the St. Louis Rams at the age of 60. Three years later, he led them to the Super Bowl, where they beat 41-year-old Fisher’s Tennessee Titans thanks to a last-second, goal-line tackle.

 

2. Super Bowl III: Weeb Ewbank and Don Shula (22 years, 7 months, 29 days)

Ewbank led the Baltimore Colts to NFL titles in 1958 and '59, but was fired after the '62 season and replaced by the 33-year-old Shula. The New York Jets hired Ewbank and six years later, he faced his old team and successor in Super Bowl III. Unless you have been living on the moon, you know his Joe Namath-squad pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.

 

1. Super Bowl LIII: Bill Belichick and Sean McVay (33 years, 9 months, 8 days)

Consider that Belichick's son Stephen, who is the Patriots' safeties coach, is just two years younger than McVay. McVay also played against Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman when the two were in college. When McVay was born on Jan. 24, 1986, Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants under Bill Parcells. The Giants would win Super Bowl XXI the next year, a day after McVay turned one.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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