The Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Burgher Influence In NFL Coaching Ranks

I needed a distraction from the Pittsburgh Steelers; still need a few hours to transition from the last game to thinking about the upcoming game in Kansas City. To help me through, I looked at the coaching staffs from the 31 teams in the NFL.

My exercise was to see how many coaches have some link to Pittsburgh. Former Steelers coaches or players; Burghers who are from Pittsburgh or played/coached at a local school.

I spotted over 50 coaches with some Burgher ties including nine head coaches. OK, I stretched it a little by including some subBurghers who are a generation removed from their Black & Gold roots. I estimate that about 8% of all NFL coaches have some Burgher roots. Not bad when you consider that Pittsburgh’s population is less than 1% of the national total.

There are probably several gaps – let me know who I missed.

Team Name Position Connection
Buffalo Bills Bob Babich LB Coach Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt coach
New England Patriots Bill Belichick Head Coach subBurgher (Father from Monessen)
New England Patriots Raymond Ventrone Asst Special Teams Burgher (Pittsburgh)
New York Jets Kevin Greene LB Coach Steeler player 1993-95
Baltimore Ravens Bobby Engram WR Coach Penn State player/Pitt Coach
Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis Head Coach Steeler coach 1992-95 Burgher (McDonald)
Cincinnati Bengals James Urban WR Coach Clarion grad asst
Cincinnati Bengals Jonathan Hayes TE Coach Steeler player 1994-96 Burgher (S. Fayette)
Cincinnati Bengals Jim Haslett LB Coach Steeler DC 1997-99 Burgher (Pittsburgh)
Cleveland Browns Kirby Wilson RB Coordinator Steeler RB Coach 2007-13
Houston Texans Bill O’Brien Head Coach Penn State HC 2012-13
Houston Texans Mike Vrabel Defense Coordinator Steeler player 1997-2000
Houston Texans John Butler DB Coach Penn State DB coach 2012-13
Indianapolis Colts Jim Philbin Asst HC/OL W&J, Allegheny coach
Indianapolis Colts Jim Hostler TE Coach IUP coach 9 seasons
Jacksonville Jaguars Tom Myslinski Strength/Condition Steeler player 1996-97, 2000
Tennessee Titans Mike Mularkey Head Coach Steeler player 1989-91 coach 1996-2003
Tennessee Titans Dick Lebeau DC/Asst HC Steeler DC 2004-14 coach 1992-96
Tennessee Titans Russ Grimm OL Coach Steeler coach 2001-06
Tennessee Titans Nick Eason DL Coach Steeler player 2007-10
Tennessee Titans Keith Willis Asst DL Coach Steeler player 1982-91
Tennessee Titans Lou Spanos LB Coach Steeler coach 1995-2009 Burgher
Tennessee Titans Deshea Townsend DB Coach Steeler player 1998-2009
Denver Broncos Fred Pagac OLB Coach Burgher (Brownsville)
Los Angeles Chargers Ken Whisenhut Offense Coordinator Steeler coach 2001-06
Los Angeles Chargers John McNulty TE Coach Penn State grad
Oakland Raiders Rod Woodson CB Coach Steeler player 1987-96
New York Giants Bob McAdoo Head Coach Burgher (Indiana Pa) played at IUP
New York Giants Frank Cignetti Jr QB Coach IUP/Pitt coach Burgher
New York Giants Kevin Gilbride subBurgher son of Steeler OC Kevin Gilbride
Philadelphia Eagles Duce Staley RB Coach Steeler player 2004-06
Washington Redskins Matt Cavanaugh Offense Coordinator Pitt QB & coach
Washington Redskins Jim Tomsula DL Coach Burgher (Homestead)
Chicago Bears John Fox Head Coach Steeler coach 1989-91 Pitt DC 1986-88
Detroit Lions Jim Caldwell Head Coach Penn State coach 1986-92
Detroit Lions Al Golden TE Coach Penn State player 1987-91
Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy Head Coach Burger
Green Bay Packers Alex Van Pelt QB Coach Burgher; Steeler roster 1993
Green Bay Packers Dom Capers Defense Coordinator Steeler DC 1992-94
Green Bay Packers Darren Perry Safety Coach Steeler player 1992-98 coach 2003
Green Bay Packers Ron Zook Special Team Coach Steeler coach 1996-98
Minnesota Vikings Kennedy Polamalu RB Coach subBurgher Troy’s uncle
Carolina Panthers Jerricho Cotchery WR Coach Steeler player 1011-13
Arizona Cardinals Bruce Arians Head Coach Steeler OC/coach 2004-11
Arizona Cardinals Tom Moore Asst HC/OC Steeler OC/coach 1977-89
Arizona Cardinals Byron Leftwich QB Coach Steeler player 2008, 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Larry Zierlien Asst OL Coach Steeler coach 2007-09
Arizona Cardinals Brentson Buckner DL Coach Steeler player 1994-96 intern 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Larry Foote ILB Coach Steeler player 2002-08, 2010-13
Arizona Cardinals Amos Jones Special Team Coach Steeler coach 2007-12
San Francisco 49ers Jeff Zgonina DL Coach Steeler player 1993-94

They paid their dues; They’ve probably told their team’s there is no room for losers at some point. It’s no bed of roses or a pleasure cruise; you’ve got to fight until the end to be able to say, We are the Champions

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