December 21, 1959|
|High school:||Grafton (MA)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Head coaching record|
|Regular season:||11–41 (.212)|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo (//; born December 21, 1959) is an American football coach. He most recently served as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) from 2015 to 2017. Spagnuolo was hired by the Giants after two seasons as a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. This was his second stint as the Giants' defensive coordinator, having held that job from 2007 to 2008 after spending eight years on the defensive staff of Jim Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named interim head coach upon the firing of former head coach Ben McAdoo on December 4, 2017.
Spagnuolo was hired by the St. Louis Rams in 2009 to be their head coach, but was fired after three seasons. He became the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints in 2012 but was fired after only one year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
St. Louis Rams
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,, but Spagnuolo decided to join with the St. Louis Rams, taking over their head-coaching vacancy with a 4-year, $11.5 million contract. 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.
New Orleans Saints
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. 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.
New York Giants
On January 15, 2015, Spagnuolo rejoined the New York Giants as defensive coordinator. The Giants finished last in the NFL for defense his first year back. 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.
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 record
|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||—||—||—||—|
|NYG||2017*||1||3||0||.250||4th in NFC East||—||—||—||—|
*Interim head coach
NFL head coaches under whom Spagnuolo has served:
- Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles (1999–2006)
- Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (2007–2008, 2015)
- Joe Vitt, New Orleans Saints (2012)
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (2013–2014)
- Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (2016–2017)
Assistant coaches under Spagnuolo who became NFL head coaches:
- Powers, John (February 3, 2008). "Spagnuolo has brought Giants' defense a long way". Boston Globe.
- Branch, John (February 8, 2008). "Spagnuolo's Decision to Stay With Giants Is Rewarded". New York Times.
- "St. Louis Rams pick Steve Spagnuolo as coach". ESPN. January 17, 2009.
- Thomas, Jim (January 2, 2012). "Rams fire Spagnuolo, Devaney". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "Rams, Bucs ax coaches; Colts ax VP, GM". Fox Sports. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- Peter King, "Spotlight", Sports Illustrated, September 3, 2012.
- Yasinskas, Pat (January 19, 2012). "Sources: Steve Spagnuolo to join Saints". ESPN. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- Rosenthal, Gregg (January 24, 2013). "Steve Spagnuolo, Ken Flajole released by New Orleans Saints". National Football League. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Steve Spagnuolo at Baltimore Ravens official website (accessed January 15, 2014).
- "Giants hire Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "Steve Spagnuolo". Pro Football Reference.com. 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.