Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has been selected as the recipient of the Pro Football Writers of America’s (PFWA) annual Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman award.
On Monday, the PFWA announced two winners for the “Dr. Z” award. Former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger was named the 15th recipient of the award, while Crennel was named the 16th recipient. The award is given to honor lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Crennel got his start in the NFL as a special teams coach for the New York Giants in 1981. He’d later join the Chiefs as a defensive coordinator in 2010 after spending time with the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots in the same role. His defense helped the Chiefs to a division title and a playoff berth in 2010. Crennel would become the interim head coach in Kansas City during 2011 after the team fired Todd Haley. He’d take over the position fulltime in 2012, leading the team through one of their worst seasons in franchise history. Crennel currently serves as the assistant head coach for the Houston Texans.
Here’s what the PFWA profile on Crennel from their press release:
“Crennel is in his 38th NFL season and seventh with the Houston Texans in 2020, where he serves as associate head coach after time as the team’s defensive coordinator. He came to Houston in 2014 following a three-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs (2010-12) where he served as defensive coordinator (2010-11), interim head coach (2011) and head coach (2012). Crennel was also the Cleveland Browns head coach from 2005-08. From 2001-04, he was the defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, where he helped the team win three Super Bowls and was the PFWA’s 2003 Assistant Coach of the Year. He also was Cleveland’s defensive coordinator/defensive line coach in 2000, defensive line coach with the New York Jets (1997-99) and the defensive line coach for New England (1993-96). He began his NFL coaching career with the New York Giants in 1981 and spent 12 seasons (1981-92) as defensive line coach, special teams coach and special teams/defensive assistant coach. Crennel was a key component to the success of three Bills – Parcells, Belichick, and O’Brien. He has coached in six Super Bowls (XXI and XXV with the Giants and XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX with the Patriots), with five titles.“
In addition to Crennel and Arnsparger, nominees for the 2020 “Dr. Z” award included Rod Marinelli, Dick Hoak, Bobby Turner, Bobb McKittrick, Floyd Peters, and Buddy Ryan. Other former Chiefs coaches, Emmitt Thomas (2018) and Gunther Cunningham (2019) have previously received the “Dr. Z” award.