Theodore John Cottrell (born June 13, 1947) is an American football coach and former player. He was formerly the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League (NFL). In 2009, he served as head coach for the New York Sentinels of the United Football League (UFL). Ten years later, he was the linebackers coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), and currently works as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL.
|Born:||June 13, 1947|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||233 lb (106 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1969 / Round: 7 / Pick: 164|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Head coaching record|
Cottrell starred at Delaware Valley College from 1965 to 1968. He was a seventh-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1969 NFL Draft and played linebacker for two seasons. He ended his career with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he played for one more year.
Cottrell began his coaching career at Rutgers University, where he worked as an assistant for eight years. In 1981, he got his first NFL coach job when Marv Levy hired him as linebackers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Considered an innovator in the 3–4 defense, Cottrell was an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills from 1995 to 2000, the last three seasons as defensive coordinator. From 1998 through 2000, the Bills finished no worse than sixth in the league in total defense. In 1999, the Bills led the league in total defense.
Cottrell then spent two seasons (2004–2005) as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. In 2005, the Vikings finished fifth in the NFL in takeaways and earned a postseason berth, and defeated the Green Bay Packers in a Wild Card contest. Cotrell was let go, along with Head Coach Mike Tice and the rest of his staff. Cottrell then announced his retirement.
In February 2007, he became the defensive coordinator under new Chargers head coach, Norv Turner. During the regular season, the Chargers led the NFL in takeaways (48), interceptions (30), and passing rating defense (70.0), the first time a Chargers team ever led in any of these categories. In 2008, many fans wanted Cottrell to be terminated. At the midpoint of the season, the team had a record of 3–5 despite having a highly effective offense. Many[weasel words] attributed this poor record to the fact that the Chargers ranked last among NFL teams in defending against the pass. Defenses led by Cottrell had similar problems in New York and Minnesota. At the midpoint of the 2008 season, the San Diego defense, generally considered to have fantastic talent,[weasel words] had gone two entire games without a quarterback sack nor a takeaway.
On October 28, 2008, Cottrell was fired from his position as San Diego's defensive coordinator.
In 2018, Cottrell became the linebackers coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. The following year, he was hired by the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL as defensive coordinator.
Cottrell's son, T. J. Cottrell, played professionally for the Vikings, Chargers and Sentinels, in each case under his father as coach.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|NYS||2009||0||6||0||.000||4th in UFL||-||-||-||-|
- PLUS: PRO FOOTBALL; 49ers to Give Cottrell An Answer Soon - New York Times
- ESPN - Chargers fire Cottrell, name Rivera new defensive coordinator
- Haslett to Coach UFL Team SI.com, March 11, 2009
- Inabinett, Mark (December 10, 2018). "Birmingham Iron names defensive coordinator, 3 more assistants". The Birmingham News. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
- "Former Buffalo Bills Ted Cottrell New DC For XFL Houston". XFL News Hub. June 12, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
| Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator
| New York Jets Defensive Coordinator
| Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator
| San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator
2007–October 28, 2008
| New York Sentinels Head Coach
Chris Palmer (Hartford Colonials)