Less than 48 hours after Super Bowl XLIX, the New England Patriots announced special teams coach Scott O’Brien’s plans to retire from coaching.
O’Brien, who has spent 24 seasons in the NFL and his last six with the Patriots, will remain with the organization. Special teams assistant Joe Judge will take over the position.
“I have never worked with a coach better than Scott O’Brien,” head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “Scott is second to none at preparation, strategy, teaching, techniques, fundamentals, scouting and virtually any other aspect of teambuilding, game planning or player development that exists in football. I thank Scott for making me a better coach, finding and developing countless players and being such a tremendous asset at both organizations we worked together. Scott O’Brien is undoubtedly one of the finest coaches of his generation and he deserves having his final game be a Super Bowl championship. While we will miss his contributions in coaching, we look forward to continuing to work with him in other capacities.”
After signing with the Green Bay Packers in 1979, O’Brien played defensive end for the Toronto Argonauts in 1980. He transitioned to coaching the game from there, working with linebackers and special teams at Wisconsin-Superior, UNLV, Rice and Pittsburgh through 1990.
In 1991, O’Brien moved onto the NFL level to work alongside Belichick as special teams coach of the Cleveland Browns. He remained with the franchise after it moved to Baltimore, before serving on the coaching staffs of the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos from 1999 through 2008.
He rejoined Belichick on the Patriots’ staff in 2009.
In his 22 seasons as an NFL special teams coach, O’Brien’s squads have produced 41 special teams touchdowns.
Serving as an assistant under O’Brien for the last three seasons has been Judge. A former Mississippi State special teams captain, Judge previously served as an analyst and special teams coach under Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. He was on the Crimson Tide staff for the 2009 and 2011 national championship seasons.