In the footsteps of ‘the Pope’
When the Los Angeles Chargers in January hired Brandon Staley ’05 as their head coach, he joined distinguished company. Two other UD grads who played football at Dayton coached National Football League teams to Super Bowl championships.
The first was Chuck Noll ’53, nicknamed “the Pope” by his Dayton teammates for his infallible knowledge of the game. Coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers, Noll won four Super Bowl championships; no coach has won that many without a loss.
Staley’s Chargers play in the NFL’s American Football Conference West Division, the same division as the Las Vegas Raiders, who are coached by Jon Gruden ’86. Gruden led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in the 2003 Super Bowl.
In 2020, Staley was defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams defense was the best in professional football, ranking No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, passing defense and scoring defense.
Both Staley and Gruden played for longtime Flyer coach Mike Kelly.
Also in the department of Flyer connections: