Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: 2023 ‘Burgh’ NFL Coaching Influence

Coaching staffs for most NFL teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I spotted 37 coaches with some tie to Pittsburgh within the NFL ranks. That was down from over 50 in 2017. Here is the 2022 report on Burgher Influence in NFL Coaching Ranks.

Dwindling Burgher Guard

This year, I found 39 coaches again with links to Pittsburgh or the Steelers organization. Just four are head coaches. 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 10 coaches were fired, retired, or switched teams. Here are some other notable changes:

Arizona lost two coaches with Pittsburgh ties. The Cardinals suspended running backs coach James Saxon after an arrest for alleged assault. He later resigned. Offensive line coach Sean Kugler was fired after an incident while the team was in Mexico for an international game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers let go of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

The Colts

In 2017 the Arizona Cardinals led the way with eight Burgher coaches. In 2018, Green Bay led with six coaches; 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. In 2021, Tampa Bay increased its Burgher contingent to seven. Indianapolis led the way in 2022 with five Burgher coaches. But four left after the 2022 season.

The Detroit Lions hired two of the coaches leaving Indianapolis and now lead the way with six coaches with Burgher ties. Will the sudden surge of Burgher influence lead the Lions to the Super Bowl as happened in Tampa Bay several seasons ago?

I do stretch it a little by including some sub-Burghers, 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 sub-Burgher – son of Burgher Bob Babich (RIP)
Miami Dolphins Danny Crossman Special Teams Coordinator Pitt player 1987-89
New England Patriots Bill Belichick Head Coach sub-Burgher (Father from Monessen)
New York Jets NONE
Baltimore Ravens Tee Martin QB Coach Steelers player 2000-01
Baltimore Ravens Joe D’Alessandris OL Coach Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt OL coach 96
Cincinnati Bengals NONE
Cleveland Browns Alex Van Pelt Offense Coordinator Burgher Pitt QB 1989-92
Cleveland Browns Raymond Ventrone Asst HC/ Special teams Burgher (Chartiers Valley)
Houston Texans Jerrod Johnson QB Coach Steeler prospect 2012
Indianapolis Colts Mike Mitchell Asst DB Coach Steelers player 2014-17
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 Passing Game Coordinator/CB Coach Steelers player 1998-2009
Jacksonville Jaguars Cody Grimm Safeties Coach sub-Burgher son of Russ Grimm
Tennessee Titans Mike Vrabel Head Coach Steelers player 1997-2000
Denver Broncos NONE
Kansas City Chiefs NONE
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
Los Angeles Chargers Shaun Sarrett Asst OL Coach Steelers coach 2012-20, last as OL coach
Dallas Cowboys Mike McCarthy Head Coach Burgher Pitt WR coach 92
Dallas Cowboys Brian Schottenheimer Offense Coordinator Washington & Jefferson player
New York Giants NONE
Philadelphia Eagles Nick Sirianni Head Coach IUP WR Coach 2006-08
Washington Redskins Bobby Engram WR Coach Pitt WR coach 2012-13
Washington Redskins Jeff Zgonina DL coach Steelers player 1993-94
Chicago Bears NONE
Detroit Lions Scottie Montgomery Assistant head coach/running backs coach Steelers WR Coach 2010-12
Detroit Lions Antwaan Randle El WR Coach Steelers WR 2002-05, 2010
Detroit Lions Hank Fraley OL Coach Robert Morris player, Steelers UDFA 2000
Detroit Lions J.T. Barrett Asst QB Coach Steelers player 2019-20
Detroit Lions Jim Hostler Sr Offense Asst Burgher, IUP coach 1992-99
Detroit Lions John Fox Sr Def Asst Steelers DB coach 1989-91, Pitt D Coordinator
Green Bay Packers Jason Vrabel WR Coach Burgher South Park
Green Bay Packers Tom Clements QB Coach Steelers QB Coach 2001-03, Burgher McKees Rocks
Minnesota Vikings Brian Flores Defensive Coordinator Steelers senior defensive assistant & linebackers coach 2022
Atlanta Falcons NONE
Carolina Panthers Duce Staley Assistant head coach/running backs Steelers player 2004-06
Carolina Panthers Dom Capers Senior defensive assistant Steelers DC 1992-94
New Orleans Saints Clancy Barone TE Coach Steeler Prospect 1987 Camp
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Moore Assistant Coach Steelers WR Coach & OC 1977-1989
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Larry Foote Pass Game Coord/ILB Coach Steelers LB 2002-08 & 2010-13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nick Rapone Safeties Coach Burgher (New Castle) Pitt DC 1989-92
Arizona Cardinals Buddy Morris Strength & Conditioning Pitt strength coach 1980-89, 97-01, Burgher
Arizona Cardinals Spencer Whipple Passung Game Coordinator Pitt Player  Burgher – Gibsonia
Los Angeles Rams NONE
San Francisco 49ers NONE
Seattle Seahawks NONE


Song Selection

I always like to include some music. Here is Back in the Game with Snoop Dogg and a host of his Buds.

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