The New England Patriots held their annual Hall of Fame nomination committee meeting this week to discuss this year’s candidates to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. All former players and head coaches who have been retired for at least four years are eligible to be nominated.
However, there are exceptions to some rules. Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft will make inductions to the Patriots Hall of Fame for lifelong contributors to the franchise. There are currently only three members of this prestigious club and there will be a fourth member inducted at this year’s Patriots Hall of Fame as a lifelong contributor, none other than Dante Scarnecchia.
Scarnecchia spent 34-years as an assistant coach and offensive line coach for the Patriots. To put his tenure with the Pats into further perspective, Scarnecchia has been with the team longer than Kraft has owned them or Bill Belichick has coached them. Needless to say, Scarnecchia is the perfect fit for the role of Patriots lifelong contributor.
Here’s what Kraft said about Scarnecchia when he made the announcement of his induction:
"“Dante Scarnecchia is recognized as one of the greatest assistant coaches of all time. He is the first Patriots assistant coach to receive this honor and I can’t think of a more deserving person. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who made greater on-field contributions over his 34 seasons with us, which propelled us to 10 of our 11 Super Bowl appearances and helped us claim five of our six Super Bowl championships. He earned the respect of his fellow coaches and players, many of whom credited Dante for making them the best they could be. I am proud that his legacy will be preserved in our Hall of Fame forever.”"
Scarnecchia first joined the team in 1982 and was the longest tenured coach in the NFL when he retired in 2019. He was on the coaching staff for 22 of New England’s 28 playoff years and coached in 48 of the team’s 59 playoff games. And as Kraft said in his speech, Scarnecchia coached in 10 of 11 Super Bowl appearances and five of six Super Bowl Championships.
The Patriots lifelong contributors include:
- Billy Sullivan, Patriots founder, inducted 2009
- Gil Santos, play-by-play announcer, inducted 2011
- Tracy Sormanti, cheerleader director, inducted 2021
- Dante Scarnecchia, assistant coach, inducted 2023
Don’t be surprised to see Scarnecchia in the conversation for greatest Patriot of all time, as Kraft said, you’d be hard pressed to find another person with more on-field contributions and success than Scarnecchia.