Usually when you hear that a team is losing their offensive line coach the news is a back page story at best. But, the New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is not your average offensive line coach.
Scarnecchia who will be turning 72 next month is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive line coaches of all time. I’m not sure who will debate this with you, but if they do, they're wrong, end of story. Scarnecchia was on the Patriots staff for 5 of their six championships. Because of his first retirement he was not on the team when the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, but he was back for SB51 and SB53.
Scarnecchia didn’t always coach the offensive line. He started his coaching career with the Patriots in 1982 when he coached special teams and tight ends up until 1988. He did have a quick hiatus from New England to go coach with Indianapolis Colts until 1991, but he returned to the Patriots after that. He became the team’s offensive line coach in 1999, and kept that position up until his first retirement in 2013, and then reclaimed it in 2016 when he decided to return to football.
Given his age I am going to assume that Scarnecchia is retiring for good this time, and this is a painful blow to the Patriots coaching staff. The rumors floating around right now is that the Patriots will be promoting internally, but we don’t really know anything yet.
There isn’t much you can say about Scarnecchia that hasn’t been said and will be said over the next few weeks. He is a guru, he helped guys like Nate Solder and Trent Brown become superstars and earn huge contracts. With all the injuries that the Patriots faced this season on the O-line, it’s hard to believe that they would have had any success without him.
2020 hasn’t been the best for the Patriots: A devastating loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Wildcard game. There is drama all around the Tom Brady situation. Joe Judge left for the Titans, and now Dante Scarnecchia the Patriots assistant head coach and probably the most important member of the coaching staff next to Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels retires.
All we can do now is to congratulate him on an amazing career, and keep looking forward, because if you’re a Patriots fan because it’s always “Next man up” and I don’t think ole Dante would want it anyother way.