||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2007)|
|New Orleans Saints|
|Position:||Assistant head coach
& linebackers coach
|Date of birth:||August 23, 1954|
|Place of birth:||Syracuse, New York|
|High school:||Highland (NJ)|
|Head coaching record|
|Regular season:||9–12 (.429)|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
Joe Vitt (born August 23, 1954) is an American football coach who is the assistant head coach and linebackers coach of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He was the interim head coach for the New Orleans Saints during the 2012 season.
Vitt was raised in Blackwood, New Jersey where he graduated from Highland Regional High School in 1973 before spending a year at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. He was a three-year letterman (1974–75, 1977) as a linebacker at Towson State University despite being an undersized 5'10" and smallish 190 pounds.
NFL coaching career
Vitt was the Seattle Seahawks' strength coach when Chuck Knox came to be head coach in 1983. He quickly promoted Vitt to defensive backs coach. Vitt moved with Knox to the Los Angeles Rams, where he worked, along with Mike Martz, on his staff from 1992 to 1994.
Vitt has also been an assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. He served under former St. Louis Rams coach Dick Vermeil for the Kansas City Chiefs for three years until Martz brought him to St. Louis as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. It marked Vitt's eighth time in the National Football League, and the second with the franchise. During the 2005 NFL season, Vitt served as the interim Head Coach of the Rams while Martz was out due to a bacterial heart infection. He coached the team from Week 5 until the end of the regular season; soon afterward, Martz was fired. Vitt had a record of 4–7, and was replaced by Scott Linehan in the off-season. Fans and media alike enjoyed Vitt's "Jersey Joe" persona. Vitt had "Vittisms" like "I can't sing or dance so I coach football" and "no excuses play like a champion," which have made him a cult icon in some hardcore Rams fan circles.
New Orleans Saints
The New York Jets reportedly had interest in bringing in Vitt as their head coach after Herman Edwards signed with the Kansas City Chiefs before hiring Eric Mangini. Instead, Vitt was hired by the New Orleans Saints on January 27, 2006 to serve as their assistant head coach/linebackers coach. The Saints' new head coach, Sean Payton, who had never been a head coach before, chose Vitt to provide a degree of experience that Payton lacked: Vitt's role has been half-seriously compared to that of a consigliere in a Mafia crime family. In that position, Vitt earned a Super Bowl ring as part of the 2009 Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV.
As assistant head coach, Vitt spent a portion of 2011 serving in the head coaching capacity as Sean Payton recovered from a broken leg.
In March 2012, the NFL suspended Vitt for the first six games of the 2012 season after it found he had been complicit in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. According to a league statement, Vitt had been assigned to monitor Williams, but failed to tell anyone about the slush fund Williams implemented to pay defensive players for deliberately trying to knock opponents out of games. The league also found that he had helped to cover up the scheme during both of its inquiries into the matter. In December 2012 the Associated Press reported that, according to transcripts of the players' appeal hearing, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was under investigation for starting the bounty program, testified that he wanted to end the program after the NFL began investigating, but Vitt overruled him. However, Vitt denied the claims, and offered to take a polygraph test. Vitt also stated that witnesses of the program had lied in the investigation.
Saints interim head coach
Despite the suspension, on April 12 Vitt was named as interim coach of the Saints for the 2012 season while Payton sat out a year-long suspension. Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer ran the team while Vitt sat out the first six games of the regular season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees called Vitt the "obvious choice" to replace Sean Payton.
Head coaching record
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|STL||2005a||4||7||0||.364||2nd in NFC West||-||-||-||-|
|NO||2012||5||5||0||.500||3rd in NFC South||-||-||-||-|
- Randy Miller, "Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt cherishes Blackwood roots", Courier-Post, November 3, 2012.
- Eisenberg, John. "Baltimore's 'Bountygate' connection," CSNBaltimore.com, Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
- Peter Finney, "Joe Vitt is consigliere to New Orleans Saints, his 'newest family'", Times-Picayune, August 20, 2010.
- Official NFL announcement of penalties against Saints
- Associated Press (2012-12-12). "Gregg Williams: Joe Vitt stopped me from ending bounty system". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Copeland, Kareem (2012-12-13). "Joe Vitt denies Gregg Williams' bounty program claims". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Martel, Brett (2012-12-13). "Saints coach: Witnesses lied in NFL investigation". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Joe Vitt to coach New Orleans Saints". ESPN. 2012-04-12.