MOBILE, Alabama – The Reese's Senior Bowl today announced that NFL Football Operations has assigned the Detroit Lions and New York Jets as the coaching staffs for the 73rd annual Reese's Senior Bowl to be played on Saturday February 5, 2022, at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama. The game will be aired live on the NFL Network at 1:30 CT. The Lions own the No. 2 pick, while the Jets own the Nos. 4 and 10 selections in the 2022 NFL draft.
The Reese's Senior Bowl has long been the nation's most prestigious college all-star game and it is the only one coached by entire staffs from two NFL clubs. NFL Football Operations smartly uses the draft order to select participating clubs because it serves as a valuable mechanism of parity for competitive balance in the league each year.
The Lions coached the Senior Bowl two years ago under former coach Matt Patricia and the Jets last participated in 1979 when Walt Michaels was the head coach. That year, the Jets found half of the famed "New York Sack Exchange" defensive line in Mobile with Alabama's Marty Lyons being picked in the first round (No. 14 overall) and East Central Oklahoma State's Mark Gastineau in the second (No. 41 overall).
For the first time in the game's rich history, head coaches will serve in more an advisory capacity while promoting select assistants into leadership roles on the staff (e.g. running backs coach to head coach, secondary coach to defensive coordinator, etc.). This new change will offer position coaches and coordinators developmental opportunities in a setting that showcases their skills in front of peers from all 32 clubs.
In addition, Senior Bowl leadership is excited to announce that four coaches from Historically Black Colleges & Universities will be a part of Senior Bowl coaching staffs in this year's game. Coaches selected to take part in this minority fellowship program will be a part of on-field coaching, position meetings, and nightly staff evaluations. The primary goal of this new initiative is to connect HBCU coaches with NFL decision-makers in hope that it leads to future career opportunities, while also giving the rest of the league's teams four individuals to contact for information on Senior Bowl participants.
The Reese's Senior Bowl is coming off a record-breaking year in which 106 players were selected in the 2021 NFL draft, which represents 41 percent of the entire class. Over the past three drafts (2019-2021), 88.4% of the players wound up making an active 53-man NFL roster at some point during their rookie season. Those three rosters have included the following standouts: QB Justin Herbert (Chargers), QB Mac Jones (Patriots), DS Jeremy Chinn (Panthers), WR Chase Claypool (Steelers), WR Brandon Aiyuk (49ers), QB Jalen Hurts (Eagles), DB Kyle Dugger (Patriots), RB Elijah Mitchell (49ers), RB Antonio Gibson (WFT), WR Terry McLaurin (WFT), OL Chris Lindstrom (Falcons), WR Deebo Samuel (49ers), OL Elgton Jenkins (Packers), DL Montez Sweat (WFT), RB Najee Harris (Steelers), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (Patriots), RB Michael Carter (Jets), WR Kadarius Toney (Giants), WR Devonta Smith (Eagles), OL Quinn Meinerz (Broncos), and OL Creed Humphrey (Chiefs).
Statement from Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy:
"The Senior Bowl greatly appreciates our longstanding relationship with the National Football League and we thank NFL Football Operations Executive Vice President Troy Vincent for again providing our game with full coaching staffs. Dan Campbell and Robert Saleh's staffs will bring great intensity to our game week and our players will undoubtedly get better during their time in Mobile. Our leadership is committed to using our game's unique platform inspire change and we are excited about opportunities the new staffing model will create."
Statement from Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell:
"We are excited to begin our 2022 offseason by coaching the Senior Bowl and getting a first-hand look at some of the top collegiate players as they prepare for the next level. My staff and I welcome this unique opportunity. I know Jim Nagy and his staff will put on a first-class event and we look forward to a fun week in Mobile."
Statement from New York Jets Robert Saleh:
"We are very thankful to Jim Nagy and his team for the chance to work with some of the best young players in the nation this week," said Robert Saleh, the Jets' Head Coach. "The New York Jets are fired up for the opportunity to engage with these young men and be a part of everything at the Senior Bowl."