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Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Pittsburgh’s Influence In NFL Coaching Ranks

With NFL training camps opening in little more than a month, the coaching staffs for most teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I spotted over 50 coaches with some tie to Pittsburgh within the NFL coaching ranks. Here is last October’s report on Burgher Influence in NFL Coaching Ranks.

What a difference a year makes. This year, I could only find 40 coaches with links to the Burgh. Former Steelers player Mike Vrabel was named head coach of the Tennessee Titans but Mike Mularkey, Bob McAdoo, John Fox, Jim Caldwell & Bruce Arians were all dismissed. This drops the number of Burgher head coaches from nine in 2017 to five in 2018. There is also five offensive coordinators and one defensive coordinator.

Last year Arizona Cardinals led the way with eight Burgher coaches. Tennessee Titans followed with seven then Green Bay Packers with five and the Cincinnati Bengals with four. In 2018, Green Bay leads with six coaches, and Arizona & Cincinnati are tied at four.

I do stretch it a little by including some subBurghers who are a generation removed from their Black & Gold roots. I estimate that about 6.5% of all NFL coaches have some Burgher roots. Not bad when you consider that Pittsburgh’s metropolitan population is less than 1% of the national total.

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

City 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 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 Alex Van Pelt QB Coach Burgher; Pitt QB; Steeler roster 1993
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 Todd Haley Off Coordinator Steeler Ball Boy & OC 2012-17
Cleveland Browns Amos Jones Special Team Coach Steeler coach 2007-12
Houston Texans Bill O’Brien Head Coach Penn State HC 2012-13
Indianapolis Colts Ray Ventrone Special Team Coach Burgher Chartiers Valley
Jacksonville Jaguars Tom Myslinski Strength/Condition Steeler player 1996-97, 2000
Tennessee Titans Mike Vrabel Head Coach Steeler player 1997-2000
Denver Broncos Sean Kugler Interior OL coach Steelers OL coach 2010-12; UDFA 1989
Los Angeles Chargers Ken Whisenhut Offense Coordinator Steeler coach 2001-06
Los Angeles Chargers John Lott Strength/Condition Steelers player 1987
New York Giants Hal Hunter OL Coach Burgher (Canonsburg) coached at Pitt/IUP
New York Giants Deshea Townsend DB Coach Steeler player 1998-2009
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 Kevin Gilbride TE Coach subBurgher son of Steeler OC Kevin Gilbride
Detroit Lions Hank Fraley OL Assistant Robert Morris player, Steelers UDFA 2000
Detroit Lions Al Golden LB Coach Penn State player 1987-91
Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy Head Coach Burger
Green Bay Packers Jim Philbin Offense Coordinator W&J player, Allegheny coach
Green Bay Packers Frank Cignetti Jr QB Coach IUP/Pitt coach Burgher
Green Bay Packers Jim Hostler Passing Game Burgher, IUP player/coach
Green Bay Packers Mike Pettine Defense Coordinator Pitt Grad Assistant 93-94
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
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Brentson Buckner DL Coach Steeler player 1994-96 intern 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Byron Leftwich QB Coach Steeler player 2008, 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Kirby Wilson RB Coach Steeler coach 2007-13
Arizona Cardinals Larry Foote LB Coach Steeler player 2002-08, 2010-13
Arizona Cardinals Buddy Morris Strength/Condition Pitt strength coach 1980-89, 97-01, Burgher
San Francisco 49ers Jeff Zgonina DL Coach Steeler player 1993-94
Seattle Seahawks Brian Schottenheimer Offense Coordinator SubBurgher, son of Marty Schottenheimer

In the 2018 Memorial Day Weekend: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions, I committed to play songs that Steelers Depot respondents had suggested might be the new Steelers anthem if Renegade by Styx was ever replaced. Here is entry three of 45 from Iandan Woodard: Wicked Garden by Stone Temple Pilots.

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