If the defensive coordinator of the newly crowned Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs looks familiar, he should. It’s Steve Spagnuolo, the former defensive coordinator and interim head coach of the New York Giants.
Spagnuolo was the mind behind the Giants’ impossible Super Bowl XLII victory over the previously unbeaten and heavily favored New England Patriots 12 years ago.
It’s been a long dozen years for Spagnuolo to get back to the top, however, and perhaps no one appreciates the Super Bowl LIV win more than he does.
“You say, ‘Is this one better than the other one?’” Spagnuolo said, via the New York Post. “It’s the one you’re in the middle of that you enjoy, so I’m really grateful.”
When Spagnuolo left the Giants the first time, in 2009, to become the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, little did he know it would be 12 years before he got back to the top of the football world.
His stint in St. Louis was a disaster. He was fired after three seasons and a paltry 10-38 record. From there, Spagnuolo went on an odyssey around the league: New Orleans, Baltimore and then back to the Giants as defensive coordinator in 2015.
When Ben McAdoo was fired after 12 games in 2017, Spags took over as the interim head coach, going 1-3 before being let go again.
There were some lows for Spagnuolo along the way. In 2012, his Saints defense allowed the most yards in a season in NFL history; the 2015 Giants allowed the most yards in the league (420.3) and gave up 442 points, the second-most in team history to that point (501, 1966).
So, Spagnuolo knows depths. This return to the heights couldn’t have to come to a more deserving guy.
“Man, long day,” Spagnuolo said afterward. “Happy as heck. First of all, I want to thank God for bring me to Kansas City and Andy [Reid] having the faith in me. … It wasn’t pretty, but it was gritty, and it was gritty at the end.”