Chris Palmer (American football)

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Chris Palmer
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Senior Offensive Assistant
Team Buffalo Bills
Biographical details
Born (1949-09-23) September 23, 1949 (age 65)
Brewster, New York
Alma mater Southern Connecticut State
Playing career
1969–1971 Southern Connecticut State
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Connecticut (DL)
Connecticut (WR)
Lehigh (WR)
Colgate (OC)
Montreal Concordes (OL)
New Jersey Generals (WR)
New Jersey Generals (OC/QB)
New Haven
Houston Oilers (WR)
New England Patriots (WR)
New England Patriots (QB)
Jacksonville Jaguars (OC)
Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans (OC)
Dallas Cowboys (QB)
New York Giants (QB)
Hartford Colonials
Tennessee Titans (OC)
San Francisco (Offensive Assistant)
Buffalo Bills (Senior Offensive Assistant)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2010 Hartford Colonials (GM)
Head coaching record
Overall 24–18 (college)
8–32 (professional)

Chris Palmer (born September 23, 1949) is an American football coach. He is currently the senior offensive assistant for the Buffalo Bills. He is the former head coach of the Hartford Colonials of the UFL, and the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Oilers and the Buffalo Bills, of the National Football League. He has also served as the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.

High school and college[edit]

Palmer played high school football at Immaculate High School a small Catholic high school located in Danbury, Connecticut. After high school he attended and played at Southern Connecticut State University. Palmer played quarterback for Southern Connecticut State from 1968-71. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SCSU, where he was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Hall of Fame at New Haven and Immaculate High School.

After graduation from Southern Connecticut State University, Palmer coached under Larry Naviaux at the University of Connecticut. While at UCONN, Palmer also devoted his time to help develop sports talent, as quoted by Jeff Naviaux "Chris helped me learn the importance of a team". Palmer coached the freshman defensive line in 1972 and the varsity wide receivers in 1973 and 74. In 1975, he became the wide receivers coach at Lehigh University. The following year, Palmer was named the offensive coordinator at Colgate University, where he stayed for seven years. In 1977, the Red Raiders led the nation in total offense with an average of 486 yards a game.

Prior to entering the NFL, Palmer was a successful college coach. He was the head coach at Boston University in 1988-89 and at the University of New Haven in 1986-87, when the Chargers posted consecutive 8-2 records.


Initial professional coaching experience[edit]

Palmer’s first professional coaching experience came in 1983, when he was the offensive line coach for the Montreal Concordes in the Canadian Football League. The following year, he coached the wide receivers for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. In 1985, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. That year, Palmer’s offense featured quarterback Doug Flutie and running back Herschel Walker, who rushed for 2,411 yards.

Houston Oilers[edit]

Palmer’s first NFL coaching experience was as the Houston Oilers wide receivers coach from 1990-92 when Kevin Gilbride was the Houston offensive coordinator. During those three seasons, the Run ‘N Shoot Oilers had the NFL’s most productive passing attack. Four Houston wide receivers – Curtis Duncan, Ernest Givens (twice), Drew Hill and Haywood Jeffires (twice) made the Pro Bowl while being coached by Palmer.

New England Patriots[edit]

Palmer first worked under Bill Parcells as the New England Patriots wide receivers coach from 1993-95. In 1996, he became the quarterbacks coach, where he worked with Drew Bledsoe as they advanced to Super Bowl XXXI.

Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

Following Super Bowl XXXI, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, spending the 1997-98 seasons as offensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin.

Cleveland Browns[edit]

Palmer became the head coach of the reborn Cleveland Browns for the 1999-2000 seasons, the first two for the "new" Browns after the original team had moved to Baltimore. With a roster full of inexperienced players and cast-offs from other franchises, Palmer struggled to get the team competitive, especially on offense. Palmer was fired after posting a 5-27 record in two seasons, and was succeeded by former University of Miami coach Butch Davis. During his tenure in Cleveland, he starred as himself on an episode of The Drew Carey Show, which took place in Cleveland.

Houston Texans[edit]

In 2002, he became the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans under head coach Dom Capers. He remained with Houston until he was fired in Week 2 of the 2005 NFL season as a result of Houston's lackluster offense.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

In January 2006, several months after his firing from Houston, Palmer was hired by the Dallas Cowboys to be the quarterbacks coach. He was reunited with head coach Bill Parcells and quarterback Drew Bledsoe with whom he had worked during his days with the New England Patriots.

New York Giants[edit]

In January 2007, Palmer was hired by the New York Giants as their new quarterbacks coach, reuniting with the team's head coach, Tom Coughlin, with whom he had worked in Jacksonville.[1][2]

On January 29, 2010 Palmer announced his retirement.[3]

Hartford Colonials[edit]

Following his retirement from the NFL, Palmer was named as the head coach and general manager of the United Football League's Hartford Colonials.[4]

Tennessee Titans[edit]

On February 15, 2011, the Tennessee Titans named Palmer as the new offensive coordinator, which was previously held by Mike Heimerdinger. Under Palmer during the 2011 season the Titans scored 325 points (20.3/g), 21st of 32 in the NFL. On November 26, 2012, Palmer was fired by the team midway through the season, and replaced by quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

San Francisco 49ers[edit]

During the 2014 season, the San Francisco 49ers had Palmer as an offensive assistant, a position now held by D.J. Boldin. 2014 was the inaugural season playing their home games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. At the end of the season, the 49ers released Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, and ultimately Palmer as well.

Professional head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CLE 1999 2 14 0 .125 6th in AFC Central - - - -
CLE 2000 3 13 0 .188 6th in AFC Central - - - -
CLE Total 5 27 0 .156 - - - -
HAR 2010 3 5 0 .375 4th in UFL - - - -
HAR Total 3 5 0 .375 - - - -
Total 8 32 0 .200 - - - -

Coaching tree[edit]

NFL head coaches under whom Chris Palmer has served:

Assistant coaches under Chris Palmer who became NFL head coaches:


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kevin Gilbride
Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Tom Coughlin
(simultaneously serving as head coach)
Preceded by
Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Joe Pendry (interim)