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Steelers, Patriots buck trend of growing coaching staffs

Mike Tomlin

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stands on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. The Steelers won 24-10. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Rosters have swollen to 90 players per team this time of year, and in most precincts, coaching staffs have grown to reflect that new reality.

But two of the league’s traditionally better-coached teams are also the ones with the smallest groups of coaches.

According to Field Yates of, the only team with fewer than the 17 coaches the Patriots employ would be the Steelers, who have 15.

The Panthers and Falcons also have 17, while the Redskins and Bengals have 18 each.

By contrast, the Eagles and Seahawks have 24 each, the Buccaneers 23 and the Cardinals, Chiefs, Jaguars, Rams and Vikings have 22 each.

The diversity of both groups effectively mutes the correlation between more or fewer voices and wins, though the former college coaches tend to have more help (and some owners are just cheap).

If anything, the Steelers and Patriots have two of the strongest personas in the league for head coaches in Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin, and that kind of centralized control doesn’t lend itself to collaboration.