Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Burghers Coaching In The NFL

deshea townsend

The coaching staffs for most NFL teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I spotted 39 coaches with some tie to Pittsburgh within the NFL coaching ranks. That was down from over 50 in 2017. Here is the 2021 report on Burgher Influence in NFL Coaching Ranks.

Dwindling Burgher Guard

This year, I find 37 coaches again with links to Pittsburgh or the Steelers organization. The Houston Texans fired David Culley as head coach after just one season. Plus, Bruce Arians moved to the front office this past March. Those moves drop the number of NFL head coaches with Burgher ties to just three. A long way from the peak of nine head coaches with Burgher ties in 2017.

There are multiple other changes among the NFL coaching staffs. Over ten coaches were fired, retired, or switched teams. Here are some other notable changes:

Bobby Ingram joined the Wisconsin Badgers as offensive coordinator. The former Penn State player and Pitt receivers coach left the Baltimore Ravens after nine years. Most recently, he was Ravens Tight Ends coach.

The Denver Broncos did not retain Mike Munchak as offensive line coach. He was seen at a Minnesota Vikings training camp practice.

Former Steelers Deshea Townsend and Brentson Buckner joined the Jaguars coaching staff.

The Colts Trot in Front

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. In 2019 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. Tampa Bay increased their Burgher contingent to seven in 2021. With Bruce Arians stepping away, Cody Grimm moved to Jacksonville and Roger Kingdom is no longer shown on their coaching roster. The Indianapolis Colts now five Burgher coaches to lead the NFL. Tampa Bay and Jacksonville have four each.

I do stretch it a little by including some subBurghers who are a generation removed from their Black and Gold roots. There are several gaps – let me know who I missed in the comments.

The Burgher Coaching Connection List

City Team Name Position Connection
Buffalo Bills Bobby Babich LB Coach subBurgher – son of Burgher Bob Babich (RIP)
Miami Dolphins Danny Crossman Special Teams Coord Pitt Player 1987-89
New England Patriots Bill Belichick Head Coach subBurgher (Father from Monessen)
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 Hal Hunter Asst OL Coach Pitt/IUP OL Coach Burgher Canonsburg
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)
Indianapolis Colts Mike Mitchell Asst DB Coach Steelers player 2014-17
Indianapolis Colts John Fox Sr Def Asst Steelers DB coach 1989-91 Pitt D Coordinator
Jacksonville Jaguars Brentson Buckner DL Coach Steelers player 1994-96  intern coach 2010-12
Jacksonville Jaguars Bill Shuey OLB Coach Slippery Rock, semipro Pittsburgh Colts 1997-98
Jacksonville Jaguars Deshea Townsend Pass Coord/CB Coach Steelers player 1998-2009
Jacksonville Jaguars Chris Grimm Safeties Coach subBurgher son of Russ Grimm
Tennessee Titans Mike Vrabel Head Coach Steelers player 1997-2000
Denver Broncos Dom Capers Sr Def Asst Steelers DC 1992-94
Los Angeles Chargers Shaun Sarrett Asst OL Coach Steelers coach 2012-20 last as OL coach
Las Vegas Raiders Carmen Bricillo OL Coach Duquesne OL Coach 2005, Burgher Shelocta PA
Las Vegas Raiders Jason Simmons Secondary Coach Steelers player 1998-2001
Dallas Cowboys Mike McCarthy Head Coach Burgher Pitt WR coach 92
Dallas Cowboys Joe Philbin OL Coach Washington & Jefferson player
Washington Redskins Jim Hostler Sr Offense Asst Burgher, IUP coach 1992-99
Washington Redskins Jeff Zgonina Asst DL coach Steelers player 1993-94
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 JT Barrett Off Asst Steelers player 2019-20
Green Bay Packers Jason Vrabel WR Coach Burgher South Park
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 ILB Coach Steelers LB 2002-08 & 10-13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nick Rapone Safeties Coach Burgher (New Castle) Pitt DC 1989-92
Arizona Cardinals James Saxon RB Coach Steelers RB coach 2014-18
Arizona Cardinals Sean Kugler OL Coach Steelers OL Coach 2010-12
Arizona Cardinals Buddy Morris Strength & Condition Pitt strength coach 1980-89, 97-01, Burgher


Song Selection

I always like to include some music. Here is Heading South by Zach Bryan. He’s scheduled to perform at Stage AE on September 19th.

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