CINCINNATI — Growing up as the sons of a football coach, competition always was part of the family fiber for Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor. And with a five-year age advantage, Zac usually came out on top no matter what, when, or where the competition happened to be.
But Monday night, when the Bengals play the Jaguars at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Zac will be playing catchup.
Ten years ago — when Press joined the Philadelphia Eagles staff one year after Zac joined his father-in-law, Mike Sherman, with the Miami Dolphins — Sherwood Taylor bought a large football trophy and adorned it with a large plaque that reads “Taylor Bro Bowl” with room for smaller ones below to detail their head-to-head meetings.
“It’s in my dad’s office in Norman,” Zac said, referring to his hometown in Oklahoma, where Sherwood starred as a Sooners safety in the late 1970s.
“I think it’s a great conversation piece in his office,” Zac added. “It’s not something that comes up between me and Press. It was a fun thing to start 10 years ago, when we were young. And obviously, there’s a lot of trash talking as our roles have increased. It’s still there. I know what the record is.”
How Many Times Have Zac Taylor and Press Taylor Coached Against Each Other?
Zac won the first meeting in 2015 when the Dolphins beat the Eagles 20-19. Zac was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Press was an offensive quality coach.
But Press is 2-0-1 since. He was the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2017 when the Eagles beat the Rams 43-35, with Zac working as the assistant wide receivers coach. A year later, with both brothers serving as the quarterbacks coach for their team, Philadelphia won 23-20.
Then, in 2020, with Zac in his second year as head coach of the Bengals and Press adding the title of “passing game coordinator” to his QBs coaching duties, the game ended in a 23-23 tie.
“I’d love nothing more than to beat my big brother. That didn’t happen much growing up,” Press told NFL.com. “But the trophy trash talk now is more between me and Zac’s sons. In the summer, when I’m around my nephews, they give it to me if I lose, and I give it to them if I win.”
There’s obviously a lot more on the line than the family trophy Monday night, with the Bengals’ playoff hopes on life support at 5-6, and the Jaguars, as winners of seven of their last eight, trying to tighten their squeeze on the AFC South division lead and stay in the hunt for the conference’s No. 1 seed.
But it’s obviously a big deal for the Taylor family, with this being the first matchup with both sons at the coordinator level or higher.
It’s a unique situation, one that not a lot of parents find themselves in. But that doesn’t mean it’s a surprise.
“We’ve had the best coach there is with my dad, the way he coached us as kids,” Zac said. “The values he instilled in us allowed you to go impact other people, and what do we know best? We know football best.
“That’s a profession we naturally were drawn to. I like to think that we coach the same way he coached us, with patience and just a willingness to help people improve and communicate with him.
“Then the support of our mom, she told us we were the best at everything we ever did,” Zac said. “She still can’t get over the fact I didn’t win the Heisman Trophy. I was probably 80th in the ballots, but she is still disappointed it didn’t happen.
“With them, the childhood, people really knew my childhood and the home we grew up in, people wouldn’t be surprised we ended up in the same career path, emulating what my dad did when we were younger.”
If Zac and Press remain with their current teams, another meeting isn’t scheduled until 2026, when the Jaguars will visit Paycor Stadium.
Zac Taylor “proud as a big brother” of Jags OC Press Taylor pic.twitter.com/Wo0qFH8NGy
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) November 30, 2023
But Press is a fast riser in the coaching ranks, and many believe he will be a head coach before the 2026 game ever happens.
“He’s somebody I’m very proud of,” Zac said. “I’ve watched his journey. He’s earned everything he’s ever gotten. He’s worked really hard for it. He’s really smart and takes care of people. I think that’s the respect people have (for him) is how he’s treated other people.
“It’s really cool to see him in this position and doing really well and using their pieces the right way and scoring a lot of points and having fun,” he continued.
“Obviously, I want the Cincinnati Bengals to be the better team on Monday night. That’s what’s most important. But it’s a fun thing for our family.”
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