Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: 2020 Burgher Influence In Coaching Ranks

The NFL is publishing the 2020 schedule, but we still do not know what the season will look like in this strange year. That said, the coaching staffs for most teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I spotted 41 coaches with some tie to Pittsburgh within the NFL coaching ranks. That was down from over 50 in 2017. Here is last report on Burgher Influence in NFL Coaching Ranks.

Changing of the Burgher Guard

This year, I find 40 coaches again with links to Pittsburgh. Mike McCarthy is back as the Dallas Cowboys head coach bringing the number of Burgher head coaches back to five. A long way after peaking at nine in 2017. There are changes as 10 people listed last year dropped off the list and six changed teams. Nine others return or are new to the NFL coaching ranks. Here are some notable changes:

Mike McCarthy leads the list as Jerry Jones hired him to lead the Dallas Cowboys.

The Los Angeles Chargers parted ways with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in midseason last year after they failed t score more than 20 points in six of their first eight games. Previously he was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals for six seasons and the Tennessee Titans for two.

Mike Mularkey announced his retirement from coaching in January. He started coaching n NFL in 1994 and helped seven teams. He was the head coach for three: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans.

Dom Capers has coached in the NFL since 1986. He left the Steelers as defensive coordinator in 1995 to be head coach of the Carolina Panthers. He also led the Houston Texans. Capers was the Jacksonville Jaguars senior defensive assistant coach last season. In 2020, he will have the same job with the Minnesota Vikings, the ninth coaching staff he has been on in his long career.

Two Teams Lead the Way in 2020

During the 2017 season the Arizona Cardinals led the way with eight Burgher coaches. In 2018, Green Bay led with six coaches, and Arizona & Cincinnati were tied at four. In 2019 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians and their coaching staff had the most Burgher connections at five.

This year, the Cardinals hired Brentson Bruckner as their defensive line coach, so they now share the crown with the Buccaneers with five Burgher coaches each.

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 several gaps – let me know who I missed.

The Burgher Coaching Connection List

City Team Name Position Connection
Buffalo Bills Bob Babich LB Coach Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt coach
Miami Dolphins Danny Crossman Special teams Pitt Player 1987-89
New England Patriots Bill Belichick Head Coach subBurgher (Father from Monessen)
New York Jets Hines Ward Offense Asst Steeler Player 1998-2011
Baltimore Ravens Bobby Engram TE Coach Penn State player/Pitt Coach
Baltimore Ravens Joe D’Alessandris OL Coach Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt OL coach 96
Cincinnati Bengals Nick Eason DL Coach Steeler player 2007-10
Cleveland Browns Alex Van Pelt Offense Coordinator Burgher Pitt QB 1989-92
Houston Texans Bill O’Brien Head Coach Penn State HC 2012-13
Indianapolis Colts Raymond Ventrone Special teams Burgher (Chartiers Valley)
Jacksonville Jaguars Bob McAdoo QB Coach Burgher (Homer City) IUP player
Jacksonville Jaguars Tom Myslinski Strength & Condition Steelers player 1996-97, 2000
Tennessee Titans Mike Vrabel Head Coach Steelers player 1997-2000
Tennessee Titans Jim Haslett ILB Coach Steelers D Coordinator 1997-99
Denver Broncos Mike Munchak OL Coach Steelers OL Coach 2014-18
Los Angeles Chargers John Lott Strength & Condition Steelers player 1987
Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Wilson RB Coach Steelers RB Coach 2007-13
Dallas Cowboys Mike McCarthy Head Coach Burgher Pitt WR coach 92
Dallas Cowboys Joe Philbin OL Coach Washington & Jefferson player
Dallas Cowboys Jim Tomsula DL Coach Burgher (Homestead)
New York Giants Sean Spencer DL Coach Clarion player
New York Giants Amos Jones Asst Special teams Steelers Asst & Special teams coord 2007-12
Philadelphia Eagles Duce Staley Asst HC & RB Steeler player 2004-06
Washington Redskins Jim Hostler WR coach Burgher, IUP coach 1992-99
Washington Redskins Jeff Zgonina Asst DL coach Steelers player 1993-94
Chicago Bears Deshea Townsend DB Coach Steeler player 1998-2009
Detroit Lions Hank Fraley Asst OL Coach Robert Morris player Steelers UDFA 2000
Green Bay Packers Mike Pettine Defense Coordinator Pitt Grad Assistant 1993-94
Minnesota Vikings Dom Capers Senior Defense Assis Steelers D Coordinator 1992-94
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians Head Coach Steelers WR/OC 2004-11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Byron Leftwich Offense Coordinator Steelers player 2010-12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Antwan Randel El Offense Assistant Steelers WR 2002-05, 2010
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Larry Foote OLB Coach Steelers LB 2002-08 & 10-13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cody Grimm D/ST Asst coach subBurgher son of Russ Grimm
Arizona Cardinals Tom Clements QB Coach Burgher (McKees Rocks) Steelers QB coach 2001-03
Arizona Cardinals James Saxon RB Coach Steelers RB coach 2014-18
Arizona Cardinals Sean Kugler OL Coach Steelers OL Coach 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Brentson Buckner DL Coach Steelers player 1994-96 intern coach 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Buddy Morris Strength & Condition Pitt strength coach 1980-89, 97-01, Burgher
Seattle Seahawks Brian Schottenheimer Offense Coordinator subBurgher – son of Burgher Marty Schottenheimer


Song Selection

I always like to include some music. Here is People are Strange by the Doors.

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