La Cosa Nostra de Patriota (The Patriot Mafia)
These are the bosses of the New England Patriots for the 2009 season.
Like any successful, long-lasting organization, they promote from within (keep it in the family, if you will). As such, I've decided to use a Godfather-style theme for this slideshow, comparing each main member of the coaching staff with a character from the famous movie.
Hopefully, the football version won't deal with as much infighting as the Corleone family. At the very least, they should all stay "alive" (employed by the team). Enjoy.
Bill Belichick (The Godfather)
You have to start with the main man at the top. He's the reason the Patriots have won three Super Bowls this decade. As long as his butt is the one in the big daddy chair in Foxborough, New England will continue to be among the NFL's elite.
Don Corleone's influence continues to expand this season as his partner in crime, Scott Pioli, has chosen to move to the Midwest. This essentially leaves Belichick in control not just of the coaching decisions involved with his football team, but also holding sway over all personnel moves now, including contract negotiations.
Don't get me wrong; even with Pioli he had significant influence in the front office. However, until Pioli's successor Nick Caserio grows into his role, Belichick will remain the sole hand to guide the team moving forward.
Dean Pees (Fredo Corleone)
One of the most loyal assistants on Belichick's staff, so he's not exactly like Fredo. However, he—like Fredo—doesn't stand much of a chance of improving his position unless he moves outside his family. Defensive coordinator Pees has been with the New England coach since 2004.
He headed up the linebacking unit for his first two years before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2006 following the departure of Romeo Crennel.
While the Patriots offense has stolen the headlines the past two years, it is defense that is the hallmark of the Patriots' success, and it's why you'll hear Pees' name come up as a candidate for head coaching jobs in the near future.
Dante Scarnecchia (Tom Hagen the Consigliore)
The only man who's spent more time in Foxborough than Belichick himself, Scarnecchia serves as New England's offensive line coach and assistant head coach. Should Belichick ever miss a game for any reason, he would be the most likely man to take over, but only in a short-term absence.
That's why he fits the Consligiore mold. He is Belichick's most trusted adviser. He's probably forgotten more football than some assistants in the NFL have ever seen.
Bill O'Brien (Michael Corleone)
The new kid on the block, so to speak. O'Brien's advanced in each of his three years since starting as an offensive assistant back in 2007. He headed up the wide receivers in 2008 before taking the now vacant QB coach's job this season.
He appears to be on the fast track to be named offensive coordinator, perhaps as soon as next season. He also is young enough that should Belichick decide to retire at any point in the near future, O'Brien would be targeted as a likely replacement.
Scott O'Brien (Carlo)
The outsider trying to fit in as well as possible. O'Brien becomes the new special teams coach replacing the departed Brad Seely. However, this is not a surprising fit.
These two paired up for Belichick's first coaching job back in Cleveland. He only fits Carlo's profile because while the Patriots dynasty was being built, he wasn't around.
I don't anticipate him setting up Belichick's death (or firing) anytime soon.
Pepper Johnson (Sonny Corleone)
After a successful playing career, Johnson rejoined his former coach to learn how to teach the game under his watchful eye. He's in his eighth year with the Pats, coaching the defensive line for the fifth straight season.
He doesn't really make a major impact as a coach, but I just love the name. He does fit the Sonny profile, however, because he's arguably the most loyal of Belichick's sons (former players/coaches), and based on some of his sideline pep talks, he brings the same level of attitude.