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Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo (/spæɡˈnl/; born December 21, 1959) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He rejoined Andy Reid's staff after being a defensive assistant with him from 1999-2006. Spagnuolo went on to win a Super Bowl with the New York Giants as defensive coordinator. Following two seasons in New York, He was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams for 3 seasons, was an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens, had a one season stint with the New Orleans Saints, and then back with the Giants as defensive coordinator in 2015. He was named interim head coach after the firing of former head coach Ben McAdoo on December 4, 2017.

Steve Spagnuolo
Candid waist-up photography of Spagnuolo on the field in the St. Louis Rams indoor practice facility wearing a grey Rams t-shirt and khaki pants with a whistle hanging from a string around his neck
Spagnuolo in August 2011 as the Head Coach of the St. Louis Rams
Kansas City Chiefs
Position:Defensive coordinator
Personal information
Born: (1959-12-21) December 21, 1959 (age 59)
Whitinsville, Massachusetts
Career information
High school:Grafton (MA)
Career history
As coach:
  • Massachusetts (1981–1982)
    Graduate assistant
  • Washington Redskins (1983)
    Player personnel intern
  • Lafayette (1984–1986)
    Defensive line coach & special teams coach
  • Connecticut (1987–1989)
    Defensive backs coach
  • Connecticut (1990–1991)
    Defensive coordinator & defensive backs coach
  • Barcelona Dragons (1992)
    Defensive line coach & special teams coach
  • Maine (1993)
    Defensive backs coach
  • Maine (1994)
    Defensive coordinator & linebackers coach
  • Rutgers (1994–1995)
    Defensive backs coach
  • Bowling Green (1996–1997)
    Defensive backs coach
  • Frankfurt Galaxy (1998)
    Defensive coordinator & linebackers coach
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1999–2000)
    Defensive assistant
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2001–2003)
    Defensive backs coach
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2004–2006)
    Linebackers coach
  • New York Giants (2007–2008)
    Defensive coordinator
  • St. Louis Rams (2009–2011)
    Head coach
  • New Orleans Saints (2012)
    Defensive coordinator
  • Baltimore Ravens (2013)
    Senior defensive assistant
  • Baltimore Ravens (2014)
    Secondary coach
  • New York Giants (2015–2017)
    Defensive coordinator
  • New York Giants (2017)
    Interim head coach
  • Kansas City Chiefs (2019–present)
    Defensive coordinator
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season:11–41 (.212)
Coaching stats at PFR

Spagnuolo has also worked as a college football assistant coach for the University of Connecticut, the University of Maine, Lafayette College, Rutgers University, Bowling Green University, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He also spent time in the original World League of American Football and its successor, NFL Europe.


Early yearsEdit

Born in the Whitinsville section of Northbridge, Massachusetts, 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.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

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.

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 at the time) 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. 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.[2]

St. Louis RamsEdit

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.[3][4] 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. Spagnuolo 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.[5]

New Orleans SaintsEdit

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.[6][7] In 2012, 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.[8]

Baltimore RavensEdit

Baltimore hired Spagnuolo as a senior defensive assistant before the 2013 season, then promoted him to assistant head coach/secondary coach in 2014.[9]

Return to GiantsEdit

On January 15, 2015, Spagnuolo rejoined the New York Giants as defensive coordinator.[10] The Giants finished last in the NFL for defense his first year back.[11] Also, after interviewing to become the head coach of the New York Giants (the job was given to Ben McAdoo), it was reported by Ian Rapaport on January 13 that Spagnuolo would remain the team's defensive coordinator for the upcoming 2016 NFL season. He became interim head coach after a house cleaning by the organization after the firings of McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese on December 4, 2017. He led them to a last-game win against the Washington Redskins and the Giants finished with a 3-13 record.

At the end of the season, Spagnuolo was fired along with the rest of McAdoo's coaching staff.

Kansas City ChiefsEdit

On January 24, 2019, Spagnuolo was named defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. Spagnuolo previously coached defensive backs and linebackers under Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2006. [12]

Coaching philosophyEdit

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). 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. In Super Bowl XLII, Spagnuolo's defense sacked Tom Brady five times, which was the most he had been sacked in any game that season.

Head coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
STL 2009 1 15 0 .063 4th in NFC West
STL 2010 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC West
STL 2011 2 14 0 .125 4th in NFC West
STL total 10 38 0 .208
NYG 2017* 1 3 0 .250 4th in NFC East
Total[13] 11 41 0 .212

*Interim head coach

Coaching treeEdit

NFL head coaches under whom Spagnuolo has served:

Assistant coaches under Spagnuolo who became NFL head coaches:


  1. ^ Powers, John (February 3, 2008). "Spagnuolo has brought Giants' defense a long way". Boston Globe.
  2. ^ Branch, John (February 8, 2008). "Spagnuolo's Decision to Stay With Giants Is Rewarded". New York Times.
  3. ^ "St. Louis Rams pick Steve Spagnuolo as coach". ESPN. January 17, 2009.
  4. ^ Thomas, Jim (January 2, 2012). "Rams fire Spagnuolo, Devaney". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Rams, Bucs ax coaches; Colts ax VP, GM". Fox Sports. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  6. ^ Peter King, "Spotlight", Sports Illustrated, September 3, 2012.
  7. ^ Yasinskas, Pat (January 19, 2012). "Sources: Steve Spagnuolo to join Saints". ESPN. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (January 24, 2013). "Steve Spagnuolo, Ken Flajole released by New Orleans Saints". National Football League. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  9. ^ Steve Spagnuolo Archived December 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine at Baltimore Ravens official website (accessed January 15, 2014).
  10. ^ "Giants hire Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (January 24, 2019). "Chiefs hire Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator". National Football League. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Steve Spagnuolo". Pro Football 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.

External linksEdit