The coaching staffs for most NFL teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I spotted 40 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 39 coaches again with links to Pittsburgh. The Houston Texans sacked Bill O’Brien but hired David Culley as head coach. Culley served as the Steelers wide receiver coach from 1996-98 so the number of NFL head coaches with Burgher ties remains at five. A long way after peaking at nine in 2017. There are changes as nine people listed last year dropped off the list and three changed teams. Ten others return (i.e., Tom Moore) or are new (i.e., Tee Martin) to the NFL coaching ranks. Here are some notable changes:
Urban Meyer hired Brian Schottenheimer as the passing coordinator and quarterback coach. Bob McAdoo no longer appears on their coaching staff. The Homer City and IUP product has fallen by the wayside after his tumultuous two year run as New York Giants head coach from 2016-17.
Hines Ward moved to Florida Atlantic University after two years as an offensive coach assistant with the New York Jets.
The Dallas Cowboys fired Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach. The Homestead product lasted one year as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.
Tom Clements helped Kordell Stewart (2001) and Tommy Maddox (2002) reach Pro Bowls as the Steelers quarterback coach from 2001-2003. He left the Steelers to be the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator in 2003 just missing the opportunity to be Ben Roethlisberger’s first quarterback coach in the pros. His past two seasons were with the Arizona Cardinals as the passing coordinator and quarterback coach. Clements announced his retirement after 24 years coaching in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Leads the Way
In 2017 the Arizona Cardinals led the way with eight Burgher coaches. Then in 2018, Green Bay led with six coaches, and Arizona and Cincinnati tied at four. 2019 saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians and their coaching staff had the most Burgher connections at five. In 2020, the Cardinals hired Brentson Bruckner as their defensive line coach and shared the crown with the Buccaneers with five Burgher coaches each.
This year, Tampa Bay lost offensive assistant Antwan Randel El who moved over to the Detroit Lions to coach their wide receivers. However, Tom Moore remains as an offensive consultant who has been behind the scenes with Bruce Arian’s offensive schemes in Arizona and now Tampa Bay. Nick Rapone remains as safety coach. Plus, former Pitt speedster Rodger Kingdom remains as speed and conditioning coach. I missed all three of these guy’s last season. That brings Tampa Bay up to seven Burgher links by far the largest contingent. The Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions trail with four apiece.
I do stretch it a little by including some subBurghers who are a generation removed from their Black and 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 in the comments.
The Burgher Coaching Connection List
|Buffalo||Bills||Bob Babich||LB Coach||Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt coach|
|Miami||Dolphins||Danny Crossman||Asst Head Coach & Special teams||Pitt Player 1987-89|
|New England||Patriots||Bill Belichick||Head Coach||subBurgher (Father from Monessen)|
|Baltimore||Ravens||Bobby Engram||TE Coach||Penn State player/Pitt Coach|
|Baltimore||Ravens||Tee Martin||WR Coach||Steelers player 2000-01|
|Baltimore||Ravens||Joe D’Alessandris||OL Coach||Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt OL coach 96|
|Cleveland||Browns||Alex Van Pelt||Offense Coordinator||Burgher Pitt QB 1989-92|
|Houston||Texans||David Culley||Head Coach||Steelers WR Coach 1996-98|
|Indianapolis||Colts||Raymond Ventrone||Special teams||Burgher (Chartiers Valley)|
|Indianapolis||Colts||Scottie Montgomery||RB Coach||Steelers WR coach 2010-12|
|Indianapolis||Colts||Scott Milanovich||QB Coach||Burgher (Butler)|
|Jacksonville||Jaguars||Brian Schottenheimer||Pass Coord/QB Coach||subBurgher – son of Burgher Marty Schottenheimer|
|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||Shaun Sarrett||Asst OL Coach||Steelers coach 2012-20 last as OL coach|
|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|
|New York||Giants||Sean Spencer||DL Coach||Clarion player|
|New York||Giants||Amos Jones||Special Projects/situations||Steelers Asst & Special teams coord 2007-12|
|Washington||Redskins||Jim Hostler||Sr Offense Asst||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||Duce Staley||Asst HC & RB Coach||Steeler player 2004-06|
|Detroit||Lions||Antwan Randel El||WR Coach||Steelers WR 2002-05, 2010|
|Detroit||Lions||Hank Fraley||OL Coach||Robert Morris player Steelers UDFA 2000|
|Detroit||Lions||Dom Capers||Sr Def Asst||Steelers DC 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||Tom Moore||Offense Consultant||Steelers WR Coach & OC 1977-1989|
|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|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Nick Rapone||Safeties Coach||Burgher (New Castle) Pitt DC 1989-92|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Roger Kingdom||Speed & Conditioning||Pitt Track 1981-84|
|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|
I always like to include some music. Steelers Depot commenter Dave suggested I check out the one-man band performance of Shakey Graves. He’s still active but here is a piece from a few years ago that is apt about careers of many NFL coaches: Built to Roam.