After the 2013 season, New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia decided to retire after more than 30 years in the NFL. Just two years later, following a disastrous campaign by his former unit, Scarnecchia returned to the Patriots and quickly started to transform the team’s offensive line into one of the league’s better ones again. And the 70-year old does not appear to be done just yet.
As noted by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss in his Sunday NFL notes, Scarnecchia was with the rest of New England’s coaching staff when it returned to work last week. Barring some unexpected change, this means that the long-time coach will be back for what will be his 33rd total season with the Patriots. This also means that New England’s offensive staff – as opposed to its defensive and kicking game counterparts – is expected to look like last year’s.
Scarnecchia originally joined the Patriots in 1982 as a special teams and tight ends coach under Ron Meyer. He spent the next seven seasons with the team before serving as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line coach between 1989 and 1990. In 1991, Scarnecchia returned to Foxboro and after coaching on offense, defense and special teams – and even serving as interim head coach in 1992 – became the team’s offensive line coach in 1999 during Pete Carroll’s tenure as head coach.
When Bill Belichick took over in 2000, he retained Scarnecchia and added “assistant head coach” to his name. After three Super Bowl wins, the NFL’s premier offensive line coach decided to call it a career in 2013 only to return in 2016 to earn his fourth championship ring. Last year, when the Patriots made the title game but came up short, Scarnecchia coached an offensive line that started inconsistently but despite a revolving door at right tackle became rock solid by the time the playoffs came around.