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Patriots’ coaching legend Dante Scarnecchia spent 34 of his 36 NFL seasons in New England beginning in 1982. He appeared in seven Super Bowls and won five of them, all of his championship rings donning the Flying Elvis.
Scarnecchia will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough, Mass. Saturday afternoon. Owner Robert Kraft personally chose him as the Hall’s 33rd inductee in April.
The 75-year-old spoke to the media Friday afternoon after being fitted for his red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket, reminiscing on his accomplishments leading to this point in his life.
“I’ve been blessed more than anybody should,” Scarnecchia told reporters at Gillette Stadium’s Patriots Hall of Fame. “When you do what you want to do — your life’s work — you’re blessed already. This is all icing on the cake.”
Scarnecchia began his illustrious NFL coaching career with the Patriots in 1982 as a special teams and tight ends coach. He remained there until 1988 when he joined the Indianapolis Colts as an offensive line coach before returning to New England for good in 1991.
From then on, he held positions such as a special assistant role (1993-94), defensive assistant (1995-96), offensive line coach (1999, 2000-13), and assistant head coach (2000-13) before briefly retiring in 2013.
He returned as the team’s offensive line coach once again in 2016 until 2019 before retiring for good. Scarnecchia won two of his five Super Bowls in his final coaching stint (2016, 2018) and his first three in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
From 2000-13, Scarnecchia taught the likes of Joe Andruzzi, Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, and Nate Solder. Then, when he came back one last time, he coached up David Andrews, Trent Brown, Shaq Mason, and Joe Thuney.
New England head coach Bill Belichick heaped praise for his former colleague during his press conference Friday morning.
“Very talented coach, sees the full game, sees everything about the game,” Belichick said of Scarnecchia. “Very good teacher, tough, former Marine. But, he can give tough love, but in a good way, just a great guy to be around.”
Belichick and Scarnecchia first worked together on the Patriots’ defensive coaching staff in 1996. Belichick was the team’s assistant head coach and defensive backs coach alongside Scarnecchia. The current coach said that group “was provably the best staff I’ve ever been on.”
Andrews, who Scarnecchia coached for three seasons, similarly raved about his former teacher on Friday.
“No one more deserving,” Andrews said to the media. “I don’t know if there’s been many people in my career that have had such a big impact on my life and the game. And I don’t know if I’d be standing here talking to y’all … He taught me so much about the game. How to play the game, how to play the game the right way.”
Andrews also said Scarnecchia’s coaching style helped him apply philosophies he taught into your personal life, lessons that are even more important than those on the football field.
Scarnecchia will be enshrined alongside legendary New England linebacker Mike Vrabel at 12 p.m. Eastern Time inside Gillette Stadium’s Patriots Hall of Fame.
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