Steve Spagnuolo

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Steve Spagnuolo
Steve Spagnolo.jpg
Spagnuolo in August 2011.
Current position
Title Secondary Coach
Team Baltimore Ravens
Personal information
Date of birth (1959-12-21) December 21, 1959 (age 54)
Place of birth Whitinsville, Massachusetts
Alma mater Springfield College
Head coaching record
Career record 10–38 (.208)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator


















(Graduate Assistant)
Washington Redskins
(Player Personnel Intern)
(Def. Line/Special Teams Coach)
(Defensive Backs Coach)
(Def. Coordinator/DB Coach)
Barcelona Dragons
(Def. Line/Special Teams Coach)
(Defensive Backs Coach)
(Def. Coordinator/LB Coach)
Rutgers University
(Defensive Backs Coach)
Bowling Green University
(Defensive Backs Coach)
Frankfurt Galaxy
(Def. Coordinator/LB Coach)
Philadelphia Eagles
(Defensive Assistant)
Philadelphia Eagles
(Defensive Backs Coach)
Philadelphia Eagles
(Linebackers coach)
New York Giants
(Defensive Coordinator)
St. Louis Rams
(Head Coach)
New Orleans Saints
(Defensive Coordinator)
Baltimore Ravens
(Senior Defensive Assistant)
Baltimore Ravens
(Secondary Coach)

Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo (/spæɡˈnɔːlɵ/, Italian pronunciation: [spaˈɲɲwɔlo]; born December 21, 1959) is an American football coach who was hired as a senior defensive assistant by the Baltimore Ravens on May 3, 2013.[1] He was previously the head coach of the St. Louis Rams from January 2009 to January 2012. He was also defensive coordinator of the New York Giants from January 2007 to January 2009 and the New Orleans Saints in 2012, and also served for eight years under defensive coordinator Jim Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early years[edit]

Born in the Whitinsville section of Northbridge, MA, Spagnuolo moved to Grafton as a youth. After graduating from Grafton (MA) High School, Spagnuolo played wide receiver at Springfield College. He assisted the University of Massachusetts football team while pursuing his graduate degree.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

Spagnuolo began his NFL coaching career in the Philadelphia Eagles organization in 1999, serving as linebackers and defensive backs coach. He remained there for eight years, learning Jim Johnson's defensive philosophy.

In January 2007, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, under Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

He spent two years in New York, and was the architect of the aggressive defensive strategy against the New England Patriots (the highest scoring offensive team in NFL history) in Super Bowl XLII, which was instrumental in the close victory by the Giants. Following the Super Bowl win and a great deal of praise, Spagnuolo's name was widely circulated for open head coach positions around the NFL.

On February 7, 2008, he took his name out of consideration for the head coaching position of the Washington Redskins, citing the fact that he did not feel ready to be a head coach.[citation needed] People speculated that he did not like the fact that the coordinators were already installed, but he stated he had no problems with them.[citation needed] The same day, the New York Giants made Spagnuolo one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the NFL with a new three-year contract, worth roughly $2 million a year.[3]

St. Louis Rams[edit]

Following another successful season in 2008, In which the Giants finished the season 12-4 but lost in the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, Spagnuolo's name came up as a replacement for numerous head coaching vacancies once again, including those for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Detroit Lions,[citation needed] but Spagnuolo decided to join with the St. Louis Rams, taking over their head coaching vacancy with a 4-year, $11.5 million contract.[4][5] Spagnuolo hired Pat Shurmur and Ken Flajole to be the Rams' offensive and defensive coordinators respectively. Spagnuolo then hired Josh McDaniels to be the team's offensive coordinator to replace Shurmur, who left for the Browns' head coaching job.

Spagnuolo's first season saw the Rams go 1-15, the worst record in the league and the worst season in franchise history. After rebounding to 7-9 in 2010, they regressed to 2-14 in 2011, tied with the Indianapolis Colts with the worst record in the league. He was fired on January 2, 2012 after compiling a 10-38 overall record in his three seasons in St. Louis, the second-lowest winning percentage for a non-interim coach in franchise history.[6]

New Orleans Saints[edit]

On January 19, 2012, Spagnuolo agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints to become the new defensive coordinator under head coach Sean Payton, choosing this position rather than an offer from the Philadelphia Eagles. However, Payton was subsequently suspended for the season for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, leaving Spagnuolo to coach the defense without Payton's input.[7][8] As a result, the Saints allowed the most yards for a season of any defense in NFL history en route to finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time in four years. Soon after Payton's suspension ended, Spagnuolo was fired on January 24, 2013.[9]

Coaching philosophy[edit]

Spagnuolo learned under Philadelphia coach Jim Johnson, and shares the same aggressive, blitz-heavy approach as his mentor. (He did not incorporate this philosophy during his time in New Orleans however) and Spagnuolo uses a 4–3 base defense with a heavy emphasis on multiple blitz packages, including corner and safety blitzes. While defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, he often used a smaller defensive line, with three or even four defensive ends to further pressure the quarterback.

This philosophy proved successful, with the Giants leading the NFL in sacks in 2007. During Super Bowl XLII, Spagnuolo's defense sacked Tom Brady five times, the most times he had been sacked in any game that season.

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
STL 2009 1 15 0 .067 4th in NFC West
STL 2010 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC West
STL 2011 2 14 0 .133 4th in NFC West
Total[10] 10 38 0 .213

Coaching tree[edit]

NFL head coaches under whom Steve Spagnuolo has served:

Assistant coaches under Steve Spagnuolo who became NFL head coaches:


  1. ^ Mink, Ryan. "Ravens Hire Coach Steve Spagnuolo,", Friday, May 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Powers, John (February 3, 2008). "Spagnuolo has brought Giants' defense a long way". Boston Globe. 
  3. ^ Branch, John (February 8, 2008). "Spagnuolo’s Decision to Stay With Giants Is Rewarded". New York Times. 
  4. ^ "St. Louis Rams pick Steve Spagnuolo as coach". ESPN. January 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Jim (January 2, 2012). "Rams fire Spagnuolo, Devaney". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  6. ^ "Rams, Bucs ax coaches; Colts ax VP, GM". Fox Sports. January 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  7. ^ Peter King, "Spotlight", Sports Illustrated, September 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Yasinskas, Pat (19 January 2012). "Sources: Steve Spagnuolo to join Saints". ESPN. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (24 January 2013). "Steve Spagnuolo, Ken Flajole released by New Orleans Saints". National Football League. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Steve Spagnuolo". Pro Football 2009. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ron Rivera
Philadelphia Eagles Linebackers Coach
Succeeded by
Sean McDermott
Preceded by
Tim Lewis
New York Giants Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Bill Sheridan
Preceded by
Gregg Williams
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Rob Ryan