The New England Patriots’ dynasty may not have been born because of Adam Vinatieri’s right leg, but his kicks especially during the 2001 playoffs are a lasting image of the early parts of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick dynasty. But while Vinatieri is a household name and well on his way to become just the third pure place kicker to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, the man who coached him during the Patriots’ three Super Bowl runs is lesser known despite being one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL.
Brad Seely spent 10 seasons as New England’s special teams coach, and along the way helped the team win three Super Bowls and successfully transition from Vinatieri to his heir, Stephen Gostkowski. While he left the organization in 2008, his contributions still have earned him a place alongside fellow assistant coaches such as Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel and Dante Scarnecchia that can be classified as integral parts of its early-day dynasty.
Last week, Seely announced his retirement from coaching after spending the last 31 years in the NFL.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend over 30 years in the NFL coaching the game I love,” Seely said in a statement released by the Houston Texans, the last team he worked for. “I want to thank each and every coach, player and staff member I worked with from when I entered the league in 1989 until now. I’ve been blessed to be a part of some of the best organizations in professional sports and I will forever cherish the friendships and memories I’ve made around the league.”
After starting his career as a graduate assistant at South Dakota State in 1978, and subsequently rising through the college ranks, Seely entered the NFL in 1989 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Via stints with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers he arrived in New England in 1999 — staying on board even with Bill Belichick taking over as head coach the following year. Seely, as noted above, played a pivotal role during the early days of the Patriots dynasty and also saw his players earn a combined five Pro Bowl selections and three first-team All-Pro nominations.
Following the 2008 season, Seely left New England to join Eric Mangini’s staff as assistant head coach as well as special teams coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. He went on to spend time with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14) and then-Oakland Raiders (2015-17) before ending his career with a two-year stint in Houston.
While Seely found plenty of success elsewhere — he coached seven different players to a combined 12 special teams Pro Bowl nods outside of New England — his stint with the Patriots was the most successful of his career.