Brief History On Every NFL Head Coach: AFC North

Rob Chudzinski – Cleveland Browns

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Head Coach Rob Chudzinski, (0-0), Entering first season.

Raised in Toledo, Ohio, Rob finally has a chance at his dream job. He has spent more than 25 years in football and seems poised to make his first head coaching job a success. Rob was the starting tight end at University of Miami for three seasons where they won national championships in 1987 and 1989. He then went on to coach at Miami from 1994 until 2003. In 2001 as offensive coordinator, Miami beat Nebraska in the Rose Bowl 37 to 14 to win the National Title. Rob coached tight ends Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II at Miami.

In 2004 Rob made the transition to the NFL where he became the Browns tight end coach. In 2005 and 2006 Rob held the same position with the San Diego Chargers where his tight end was Antonio Gates. He then went back to the Browns in 2007 and 2008 as offensive coordinator, and then back to the Chargers in 2009 and 2010 as assistant head coach and tight ends coach.

In 2011 he followed Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera to Carolina where Rivera was named head coach. Chudzinski was trusted with the offense and with the addition of Cam Newton he turned the Panthers offense into a top ten offense. In the last six games of the 2012 season, the Panthers finished 5-1. Shortly after the Cleveland Browns named Rob Chudzinski as their head coach.

In his career as an assistant, Rob served under some notable Head Coaches: Butch Davis, Marty Schottenheimer, Romeo Crennel, Norv Turner and Ron Rivera.

John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens 

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Head Coach John Harbaugh, (54-26), Entering sixth season.

John grew up as a coach’s son. His father Jack played one season with the New York Titans, now the Jets, and then coached in the college ranks until 2009. Some of the best jobs he had was as an assistant at Michigan under Bo Schembechler and an assistant at Stanford under his son, Jim Harbaugh. Jim played in the NFL for many years and had 26,288 career passing yards. He won an Orange Bowl as Stanford’s head coach and appeared in Super Bowl XLVII as head coach with the 49ers. They lost to the Ravens who are coached by his brother John.

John played Defensive Back at Miami (OH) and then went on to coach at Western Michigan, Pitt, Morehead State, Cincinnati and Indiana before making the jump to the NFL where he became special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. He had quite a few highlights with the Eagles. David Akers was a part time waiter and Harbaugh helped turn him into a three time Pro Bowler. On 15 different occasions, one of Harbaugh’s players was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In Super Bowl XXXIX, the Eagles lost to the Patriots 24-21. John coached under Andy Reid, currently the Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach.

In 2008 John was named the Ravens coach. In his first year they made the AFC Championship Game but lost to the Steelers 23-14. They have made the playoffs in all five of his seasons. Twice they lost in the Divisional Round, twice in the AFC Championship game, and they won Super Bowl XLVII last season. With a career 9-4 playoff record, Harbaugh has shown that he can be successful in the playoffs. Rex Ryan and Chuck Pagano are two coaches who were assistants for Harbaugh and are currently Head Coaches for the Jets and Colts respectively.

Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals 

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Head Coach Marvin Lewis, (79-80-1), Entering 11th season.

Marvin is one of the longest tenured head coaches in the league. In ten seasons with the Bengals, he has been to the playoffs four times but has never won a playoff game. The last two seasons they were eliminated by the Houston Texans. Leslie Frazier served under Marvin Lewis before getting the top job with the Minnesota Vikings. In 2009 Lewis was named NFL Coach of the Year. Before he became a head coach he won and went to the playoffs consistently.

Lewis played linebacker for the Idaho State Bengals. He never played in the NFL and shortly after his college career ended he became an assistant at his alma mater. He would continue working at same colleges for a long time making stops at Long Beach State, New Mexico and University of Pittsburgh. In 1990 the Pittsburgh Steelers made the call and he became an assistant coach for them. He worked there through 1995. While with the Steelers they appeared in Super Bowl XXX where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27 to 17. He worked under Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh.

In 1996 Marvin Lewis was named the first defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens who had just moved from Cleveland. In 2001, his last season with the Ravens, they won Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants 34-7. Head coach Brian Billick won his first and only Super Bowl that night and a big part was to the defense. In the Giants 15 possessions they were forced to punt eleven times and they threw four interceptions. The Giants scored their only touchdown on a kick return. Lewis then left the Ravens and took the same position with the Washington Redskins for only one season before he became the head coach of the Bengals.

Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers 

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Head Coach Mike Tomlin, (63-33), Entering seventh season

Mike Tomlin was an excellent football player at William and Mary. He had over 100 career receptions, more than 2000 receiving yards and is the school leader for touchdowns in a career with twenty. His first NFL coaching job was with Tampa Bay in 2001. Before that he made stops at Virginia Military Institute, Memphis, University of Tennessee at Martin, Arkansas State and University of Cincinnati. With Tampa Bay, the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII in blowout fashion against the Raiders. The Defense had five interceptions that day. With the Bucs Tomlin worked under Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. Gruden was the Super Bowl coach. In 2006 Tomlin was named defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. He was only there for one season in which they had the eighth best defense in the league and didn’t allow any running backs to have a 100 yard game. One of his players in Minnesota, Darren Sharper, was Tomlin’s college teammate at William and Mary.

In 2007, the Pittsburgh Steelers named Mike Tomlin head coach. He has been in Pittsburgh six seasons and has had great success. He has been to the playoffs four times including two Super Bowl appearances. They beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII and lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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