Super Bowl LI: New York Jets connections

It has been over 48 years since the New York Jets were crowned Super Bowl champions. However, just because the green and white hasn’t hoisted the Lombardi Trophy does not mean that its former coaches and players have failed to take home the hardware.

In this year’s Super Bowl matchup, there are seven ex-Jet coaches and one ex-Jet player who will look to help their new club win the big game. Let’s meet them:

Atlanta Falcons

Scott Pioli, Assistant General Manager

Pioli was hired by the Jets in 1997 as director of pro personnel and although he only stayed in New York for two seasons, he helped Gang Green win the division title in 1998. That was the Jets’ first division title since the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970 and only their third in franchise history.

Interestingly enough, Pioli has also spent time with the other Super Bowl-bound franchise: the Patriots. Pioli was with New England from 2000-08, holding three positions and spending six years as the vice president of player personnel.

Dan Quinn, Head Coach

The man who almost became the Jets head coach in 2015 was actually on the Jets staff several years earlier. From 2007-08, Quinn coached the Jets’ defensive line. 

As a coach, Quinn sent one defensive lineman to the Pro Bowl (Kris Jenkins in 2008) and helped the Jets improve from 29th in rushing yards allowed per game in 2007 to seventh in 2008.

Bryan Cox, Defensive Line Coach

Cox spent time with the Jets as an assistant defensive line coach (under Quinn) from 2006-08 after he played for New York from 1998-2000. He also played on the Patriots in 2001.

As a coach, Cox helped defensive end Bryan Thomas record a career high 8.5 sacks in 2006.

Jerome Henderson, Defensive Passing Game Coordinator

Before Henderson joined Atlanta, he was the Jets’ director of player development in 2006 and the defensive backs coach in 2008. Henderson also played in 29 games over two season with the Jets from 1997-98.

In that 2008 season, second-year cornerback Darrelle Revis picked off five passes and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time under Henderson’s tutelage.

Matt Simms, Quarterback

The lone ex-Jet still in his playing career in Super Bowl LI won’t get a chance to play in the big game, but is in line to earn a ring if Atlanta wins.

Simms, a member of the Falcons practice squad, spent two seasons with the Jets from 2013-14, bouncing back-and-forth between the active roster and the practice squad. A New Jersey native, Simms appeared in four games with the Jets, completing 19-of-39 passes (48.7 percent) for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick, Head Coach

The one that got away.

Bill Belichick was the Jets’ assistant head coach and secondary coach from 1997-1999. He was briefly the head coach in 1997, as New York could not reach an agreement with Bill Parcells, its top target. However, after a week, Parcells and the Jets agreed to a deal and Belichick was sent back to being an assistant.

Three years later, Belichick got his chance to lead the Jets. After one day, he resigned. Shortly thereafter, he became the Patriots’ head coach. The rest is history.

”I didn’t resign to get to this spot,” Belichick said, according to the New York Times. “I resigned because I wasn’t comfortable with the situation with the Jets.”

Belichick has gone on to win 201 regular games with New England, 24 playoff games and five Super Bowls. Since he took over, the Jets have won just six playoff games.

Brian Daboll, Tight Ends Coach

Daboll served as the Jets quarterbacks coach from 2007-08, coaching Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens in 2007 and Brett Favre in 2008. Unlike his position in New York, Daboll has inherited a talented position group in New England, which includes Rob Gronkowski and Marcellus Bennett.

Ray Ventrone, Assistant Special Teams Coach

Ventrone spent the least amount of time of any of the players/coaches with the Jets, as he was with New York’s practice squad to begin the 2007 season before he was released on Sept. 12, 2007.

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About Max Marcilla

Max is a sophomore broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. He is the news director for WMUC Sports, a reporter for The Left Bench TV and the co-owner of New York Jet Fuel, a site dedicated to covering the New York Jets. You can contact Max at and follow him on Twitter @MMarcilla98.

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