Patriots

End of an era: Dante Scarnecchia to retire having made immense impact on Patriots dynasty

End of an era: Dante Scarnecchia to retire having made immense impact on Patriots dynasty

MIAMI — It's the end of an era in New England. While there is still no determination on Tom Brady's future whereabouts, we do know that another Patriots staple will not be roaming the sidelines at Gillette Stadium in 2020.

Dante Scarnecchia is retiring. 

The longtime offensive line coach, who will turn 72 next month, has been with the team in a variety of capacities since 1982. He began as a special teams and tight ends coach, departed briefly for a stint in Indianapolis, and has been back since 1991.

He's coached all three phases, and even taken on head-coaching duties when he was asked late in the 1992 season. But Scarnecchia has developed what might one day be considered a Hall of Fame résumé as the offensive line coach in New England. 

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Since 1999 — first under Pete Carroll, then under Bill Belichick — Scarnecchia has directed the offensive line group in Foxboro. He retired following the 2013 season and stayed away from the game for two years before getting back into it in 2016. He's won five Super Bowl rings coordinating the blocking schemes that protected Tom Brady. 

Throughout his career, he's been lauded by players and fellow coaches alike for his unyielding work ethic and his attention to detail. The hours he's put in — oftentimes on off days or after practices — have helped mold everyone from first-round picks to undrafted free agents into championship players.

It was under Scarnecchia that Stephen Neal went from a wrestler who'd never played offensive line to a Super Bowl-winner. Both Nate Solder and Trent Brown have fallen into record-setting free-agent contracts in recent years after working with Scarnecchia.

"You really see that and how detail-oriented he is, and how much he puts into it each week," center David Andrews told me back in September. "It's really impressive. He makes sure, for us, there's no stone unturned. That's what makes us go out there and play really confident. We feel so prepared. 

"Whatever they throw at us is nothing we're not prepared for. Maybe we haven't seen it. Maybe it's a new wrinkle. But somewhere, somehow we've been prepared for it. Whether it's the techniques we've learned, or the communication, or just the overall schemes and how we want to run our offense."

Andrews added: "He's definitely a demanding coach for sure. But I think there's two sides of him, and I think that's what makes him so special and loved and respected by not only us as players but the whole team. 

"He cares for us. He has our back. He sticks up for us. We're all in it together . . . He includes himself in that. I think that means a lot to you as a player."

Scarnecchia has had a pair of assistants in recent years who've helped him coach his linemen. Coaching assistant Cole Popovich has worked with that group, but more recently those duties fell to Carmen Bricillo, who was in his first year with the Patriots in 2019. The Patriots typically like to promote coaches from within, making Bricillo and Popovich among the leading candidates to fill Scarnecchia's role. 

No matter who it is, it is the end of an era for the Patriots. 

NFL Rumors: DE Derek Wolfe signs with Ravens after Patriots showed interest

NFL Rumors: DE Derek Wolfe signs with Ravens after Patriots showed interest

The Patriots reportedly pursued free-agent defensive end Derek Wolfe, but he won't be coming to New England.

Instead, the former Denver Bronco is headed to the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year, $6 million deal according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.


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It was reported last week the Patriots had discussions with Wolfe, who tallied a career-high seven sacks with Denver in 2019. The 30-year-old was selected by the Broncos in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft and has been a rock-solid contributor on their defensive line the past eight seasons.

New England could use a boost to its pass rush after losing several key defensive players to free agency. Notable departures include Kyle Van Noy (Miami Dolphins), Jamie Collins (Detroit Lions) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (Lions).

Happy 3-28, Patriots fans! That could mean only one thing

Happy 3-28, Patriots fans! That could mean only one thing

While this quarantined life most of us have been living has some of us losing track of dates and even days of the week, here's a reminder that it is indeed March 28.

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That would be 3-28.

And in New England, 3-28 brings to mind one thing.

Super Bowl LI.

The Patriots, of course, were on the 3 end, and the Atlanta Falcons 28, when late in the third quarter, New England's comeback began. The rest is happy history for Patriots fans. 

So, on 3-28, guess what's trending on Twitter? It's Saturday, by the way. 

New Orleans Saints fans like to remind their NFC South rivals what day it is, too:

To get a good look at the comeback, you can tune into FOX Sunday at 3 when the Patriots' 34-28 victory is re-aired.