|Years Coached||Record||Win %||Playoff record||Playoff win %|
Romeo Crennel was a football coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1981 to 2020, finishing his career as the interim head coach/associate head coach of the Houston Texans. Over his thirty-eight years of coaching his teams compiled a cumulative win/loss record of 315-284-1. During his career he was a head coach for five seasons, first with the Cleveland Browns. He led the Browns for four seasons, compiling a record of 24-40-0. His next head coaching stint was with the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2012 season, leading the team to a 2-14-0 record. During his entire head coaching career, his two teams combined for a record of 26-54-0 across five seasons.
Romeo Crennel Coaching Tree
Before he was a head coach, Crennel served as an assistant coach for Ray Perkins, Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Chris Palmer, Bill Belichick, Todd Haley, and Bill O'Brien. Fifteen of these years were spent on Parcells' coaching staff. During his time as head coach, three assistant coaches, (Anthony Lynn, Rob Chudzinski, and Nick Sirianni) on his coaching staff were hired as head coaches across the league. His coaching tree has combined for a record of 37-43-0 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs during their six seasons as head coach after serving on his coaching staffs.
Crennel was born on Wednesday, June 18, 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Table of Contents
- 1 Background & Education
- 2 College Football Positions
- 3 The National Football League
Background & Education
Romeo Crennel was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1947. He played high school baseball and football before making a commitment to college football at Western Kentucky. Here, he would play as a defensive lineman before also playing offensive lineman due to team injuries during his senior year. In addition, he was voted team MVP for his senior season.
College Football Positions
In 1970, while working on his masters’ degree, Crennel served as a graduate assistant for Western Kentucky. It would be his first experience in an off-field capacity working for the team he had previously played for. It would also be the first of several years working on the staff of WKU’s football team.
From 1971 to 1974, Crennel would get his first coaching experience, moving from graduate assistant to defensive line coach for the Hilltoppers. It was after the 1974 season that Crennel would seek greener pastures at Texas Tech.
Crennel’s move to defensive assistant at Texas Tech was crucial in his career in that it was here he would first work under Texas Tech Defensive Coordinator Bill Parcells and Head Coach Steve Sloan. Crennel would ultimately become one of the limbs on the Parcell’s NFL coaching tree. But there were two more college stops for Crennel after spending the next three years at Texas Tech.
University of Mississippi
In 1978, Crennel took a position at Ole Miss when Steve Sloan took the head coaching position for the Rebels. While Sloan would stay on for four years, Crennel would make his last college stop two years later.
It was in 1980 that Romeo Crennel moved on to Georgia Tech as defensive line coach under Bill Curry who had no experience as a head coach. Crennel would only spend a year with the Yellow Jackets under Curry before getting his first job in the NFL.
The National Football League
New York Giants
Crennel’s lengthy NFL career would start in 1981 as he accepted a position as Special Teams/Defensive Assistant for the New York Giants working alongside Bill Belichick under Defensive Coordinator Bill Parcells. That team was led by Head Coach Ray Perkins and finished 9-7-0 on the year. In 1982, The Perkins staff added Offensive Coordinator Ron Erhardt along with Parcells, Belichick and Crennel, but the team fell to 4-5 in the shortened season. Things would get worse before they got better.
In 1983, the Giants named Bill Parcells their head coach with Crennel now strictly focused on special teams and Belichick strictly on the linebackers. The Giants, however, continued to struggle, putting up 3-12-1 record. In spite of the defensive minded staff, the Giants gave up 347 points that year while scoring just 267.
The next season, with the staff remaining pretty much status quo, the Giants improved to 9-7, made the playoffs and defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a wildcard playoff game before getting knocked out the following week by the 49ers. A similar scenario would play out in 1985, with the Giants once again winning the wild card game, but losing the following week.
1986 was a special year for Crennel and Giants fans, as the team racked up an impressive 14-2 regular season record, and defeated the 49’ers, the Redskins and the Broncos on the way to winning the Super Bowl.
In 1988, Tom Coughlin joined the already impressive coaching staff assembled by Parcells and the Giants rebounded to go 10-6-0 finishing second in the NFC East. Crennel and the Giants would, however, once again miss the playoffs. That would change in 1989 with the Giants compiling a 12-4 record, but would lose in a Division Round playoff game in overtime to the Los Angeles Rams.
In 1990, Romeo Crennel was promoted from special teams to defensive line coach. The Giants posted a 13-3 mark that season and notched their second Super Bowl win in 5 seasons. It, however, would be the last season the Parcells/Belichick/Coughlin/Erhardt and Crennel coaching staff would all be together. Crennel would stay with the Giants through 1992 but would not see the playoffs with the team again.
New England Patriots
In 1993, Crennel became defensive line coordinator with the New England Patriots, once again rejoining Head Coach Bill Parcells. The Patriots would struggle that first year going 5-11 but would improve to 10-6 the following year, making the playoffs but losing the Wild Card game. In his time with the Patriots, Crennel would once again reach the Super Bowl, but this time his Patriots would fail to win, losing the 1996 season’s Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers. It would be time for another change for Crennel, reunited again with old coaching buddies in New York. It wouldn’t be his last stint with New England however.
The New York Jets
When Bill Parcells became head coach of the New York Jets, Romeo Crennel was his choice as defensive line coach. It would be a position Crennel would hold for three years. Crennel once again joined Belichick and Al Groh under Parcells, with a staff that also included Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, and Todd Haley. In the three years with the Jets, the team would compile a total 29-19 record and make the playoffs once.
In 2000, Crennel had the opportunity to become defensive coordinator of an NFL team, an opportunity he took with the Cleveland Browns under head coach Chris Palmer. The pair had worked together previously but this time it would be short lived, as the expansion Browns struggled to 3-13 and both were let go.
New England Patriots
When Crennel joined the Browns in 2000, old friend Bill Belichick became head coach of the Patriots. Crennel would re-join him in 2001 as defensive coordinator. It didn’t take long for Crennel to see the benefits of the move as the Patriots would go 48-16 over those next four years, winning three Super Bowls. In addition to the dramatic team success, the defense shined during this stretch of time. Toward the top of the league in takeaways and other defensive stats, the Patriots also led the league with interceptions returned for touchdowns (14) during the four year stint. He was also named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2003 season by the Pro Football Writers of America when they set the franchise record for allowing only 14.0 points per game.
The Cleveland Browns
At age 58 and with over 35 coaching experience, Romeo Crennel got his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns in 2005. The Browns had been a disappointment since returning to the league in 1999 and had already gone through three head coaches before Crennel’s arrival. The Browns would go 6-10 in his first season, 4-12 in his second season, but improved to a respectable 10-6 in 2007 although the team once again missed the playoffs. Another step back to 4-12 in his fourth season and Crennel was sent on his was by the struggling franchise.
Kansas City Chiefs
Crennel returned to the NFL in 2010, this time as defensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs under Head Coach Todd Haley. He was also joined by Charlie Weiss who was offensive coordinator. The team would make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons but would fall in the wild card game to the Baltimore Ravens. Crennel would take over as head coach from Haley part way through the following season and the team put up a 7-9 mark. The following season, in 2012, the Chiefs went 2-14 and parted ways with Crennel.
In 2014, Crennel again returned to the NFL, this time as defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans. The Texans improved that season from 2-14 the previous year to 9-7 in 2014. A major reason for the seven game improvements stem from Crennel's defense. During the 2014 season, the Texans set the franchise record with a league-leading 34 takeaways; in 2013 the Texans defense finished last in the league. 2014 also saw defensive end J.J. Watt post one of the best seasons by a defensive player ever en route to the first-even unanimous choice as NFL Defensive Player of the Year. In 2015, the team won the division for the third time since 2011, losing in the Wild Card round to the Kansas City Chiefs.
|2020 Houston Texans||Associate Head Coach||0-4-0||0-0|
|2020 Houston Texans||Interim Head Coach / Associate Head Coach||2-6-0||0-0|
|2020 Houston Texans||Interim Head Coach||2-2-0||0-0|
|2019 Houston Texans||Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator||10-6-0||1-1|
|2018 Houston Texans||Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator||11-5-0||0-1|
|2017 Houston Texans||Assistant Head Coach-Defense||4-12-0||0-0|
|2016 Houston Texans||Defensive Coordinator||9-7-0||1-1|
|2015 Houston Texans||Defensive Coordinator||9-7-0||0-1|
|2014 Houston Texans||Defensive Coordinator||9-7-0||0-0|
|2012 Kansas City Chiefs||Head Coach||1-7-0||0-0|
|2012 Kansas City Chiefs||Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator||1-7-0||0-0|
|2011 Kansas City Chiefs||Defensive Coordinator||5-8-0||0-0|
|2011 Kansas City Chiefs||Interim Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator||2-1-0||0-0|
|2010 Kansas City Chiefs||Defensive Coordinator||10-6-0||0-1|
|2008 Cleveland Browns||Head Coach||4-12-0||0-0|
|2007 Cleveland Browns||Head Coach||10-6-0||0-0|
|2006 Cleveland Browns||Head Coach||4-12-0||0-0|
|2005 Cleveland Browns||Head Coach||6-10-0||0-0|
|2004 New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator||14-2-0||3-0|
|2003 New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line Coach||14-2-0||3-0|
|2002 New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line Coach||9-7-0||0-0|
|2001 New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator||11-5-0||3-0|
|2000 Cleveland Browns||Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line Coach||3-13-0||0-0|
|1999 New York Jets||Defensive Line Coach||8-8-0||0-0|
|1998 New York Jets||Defensive Line Coach||12-4-0||1-1|
|1997 New York Jets||Defensive Line Coach||9-7-0||0-0|
|1996 New England Patriots||Defensive Line Coach||11-5-0||2-1|
|1995 New England Patriots||Defensive Line Coach||6-10-0||0-0|
|1994 New England Patriots||Defensive Line Coach||10-6-0||0-1|
|1993 New England Patriots||Defensive Line Coach||5-11-0||0-0|
|1992 New York Giants||Defensive Line Coach||6-10-0||0-0|
|1991 New York Giants||Defensive Line Coach||8-8-0||0-0|
|1990 New York Giants||Defensive Line Coach||13-3-0||3-0|
|1989 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||12-4-0||0-1|
|1988 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||10-6-0||0-0|
|1987 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||6-9-0||0-0|
|1986 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||14-2-0||3-0|
|1985 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||10-6-0||1-1|
|1984 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||9-7-0||1-1|
|1983 New York Giants||Special Teams Coach||3-12-1||0-0|
|1982 New York Giants||Defensive Assistant Coach / Special Teams Assistant Coach||4-5-0||0-0|
|1981 New York Giants||Defensive Assistant Coach / Special Teams Assistant Coach||9-7-0||1-1|
|1980 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||Defensive Line Coach||1-9-1|
|1979 Mississippi Rebels||Defensive Ends Coach||4-7-0|
|1978 Mississippi Rebels||Defensive Ends Coach||5-6-0|
|1977 Texas Tech Red Raiders||Defensive Assistant Coach||7-5-0|
|1976 Texas Tech Red Raiders||Defensive Assistant Coach||10-2-0|
|1975 Texas Tech Red Raiders||Defensive Assistant Coach||6-5-0|
Coach history guide
|Seasons with a championship win||Seasons with a conference championship|
- Years as head coach: 5
- Named the interim head coach during the 2011 season for the Kansas City Chiefs and the 2020 season for the Houston Texans
- Years as a coordinator: 13
- Championships won: 1986, 1990, 2001, 2003, and 2004
- Conference Championships won: 1986, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2003, and 2004
- Past teams coached for: Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants
- College Attended: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
- Position Played: Offensive Tackle
- Family Members: Carl II Crennel, Brother
- Date of Birth: Wednesday, June 18, 1947 (74 years old), Lynchburg, Virginia