The San Francisco 49ers knew they were taking a chance when they hired Atlanta Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan as their head coach at just 38 years old. If he failed, the hire would have been maligned as blatant nepotism as the 49ers tried to replicate the success of Kyle's father, former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan. Luckily, Shanahan took them to a Super Bowl in Year 3, and has been rewarded with a new six-year contract.
These four NFL coordinators, all of whom are under 40 years old, could follow in the footsteps of neophytes like Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Kevin Stefanski.
4. Adam Zimmer, DC, Minnesota Vikings
The 49ers kid genius learned the tools of the trade from his father, one of the most innovative offensive minds of his day. Likewise, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer might have been mentoring the next great NFL defensive mind in his son, Adam. Zimmer spent the last six years as the Vikings' linebackers coach, guiding Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks to Pro Bowl appearances and earning the latter an All-Pro selection. Zimmer will be the co-defensive coordinator and play caller in 2020 at the age of 36, and he get some attention from the rest of the league if he shows enough innovation and skill calling plays on his own.
3. Nick Sirianni, OC, Indianapolis Colts
Teams are already interested in Sirianni, 38, as the Cleveland Browns interviewed him for their head coaching job before giving the job to Stefanski. From 2010 to 2017, Sirianni was either a quarterbacks or wide receivers coach with the Kansas City Chiefs or San Diego Chargers. As soon as Frank Reich hired him in Indianapolis, he proved that he is a wizard at the whiteboard, helping Andrew Luck throw 39 touchdown passes in his final season and guiding the Colts to a 7-9 record despite Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Hiring Sirianni is an easy way to guarantee consistent big plays on offense and solid quarterback production.
2. Anthony Weaver, DC, Houston Texans
Weaver, a solid backup lineman and pass rusher in his days as a player, spent the last four seasons as the Texans' defensive line coach, having helped JJ Watt continue to dominate while molding Jadeveon Clowney into an All-Pro. After learning under the great Romeo Crennel, Weaver succeeded him as Texans defensive coordinator this offseason at age 39. Given his proven track record of helping players improve, intensity, and creativity on the defensive line, Weaver should get some head coach interviews if Houston once again has one of the NFL's best defenses in 2020.
1. Kellen Moore, OC, Dallas Cowboys
Moore went straight from playing to coaching in 2018, eventually earning himself a promotion to Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2019 despite only being 30 years old. Under Moore, Dak Prescott took the next step as a passer, almost throwing for 5,000 yards while totaling 33 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott recorded 1,777 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns, while Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup both topped 1,100 yards receiving. The last two NFC champions have been young head coaches with an advance, intricate knowledge of how to push the ball downfield, just like the former Boise State quarterback. Moore is going to make some NFL team very happy in the near future.