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Connections: Patriots - Falcons

A look at the connections between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank graduated from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson was named in Blank's honor in 1998.
  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan was a standout quarterback at Boston College from 2004-2007. Ryan led the Eagles to national prominence in his junior and senior year, compiling back-to-back 10-plus win seasons and earning First- Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2007.
  • Falcons WR Nick Williams played his college career at the University at Connecticut. He appeared in 42 games for the Huskies and totaled 43 receptions for 588 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Atlanta CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson was born in Malden, Mass. and attended the University of Connecticut. As a senior with the Huskies in 2012, Wreh-Wilson was honored as the team MVP and was also named to the All-Big East Second Team.
  • Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli was a three-time All-New England selection at Central Connecticut State, where he played defensive tackle from 1983-87.
  • Falcons offensive assistant Dave Brock coached the tight ends at Boston College from 2009-11 and also worked at Western Connecticut as the recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1991-93.
  • Falcons assistant to the head coach Steve Scarnecchia *is the son of longtime Patriots offensive line coach *Dante Scarnecchia.

ATLANTA TIES

  • New England C David Andrews hails from Johns Creek, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta, and attended Wesleyan School. He went on to play at the University of Georgia, where he was a three-year starter and finalist for the Rimington Trophy.
  • Patriots OL Shaq Mason played his college career at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Patriots DB Jonathan Jones grew up in Carrollton, Ga., and was a standout athlete at Carrollton High School in football and track.

Game Preview: Falcons at Patriots

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was the Director of College Scouting in New England from 2003-2007. During his five-year tenure overseeing the Patriots area scouts, the Patriots compiled a 77-17 and won two Super Bowls (2003 and 2004). He began his career in New England as an area scout in 2002. Dimitroff's father, Tom, also played one year for the Boston Patriots in 1960.
  • Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli spent several seasons with the Patriots organization as assistant director of player personnel, (2000), director of player personnel (2001) and vice president of player personnel (2002-08). In his nine years with the franchise, Pioli was a part of assembling teams that claimed Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX, four AFC championships and six AFC East titles.
  • Falcons director of pro personnel Joel Collier spent several seasons with the Patriots organization as assistant running backs coach (1991-92), a pro scout (1993), assistant secondary coach (2005) and secondary coach (2006-07).
  • Falcons DT Joe Vellano played for the Patriots from 2013-14, appearing in 21 games and amassing 60 total tackles during his tenure.
  • Atlanta defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson played in New England from 1991-93, and again during the 1996 season.
  • Falcons offensive assistant Charlie Weis, Jr., the son of former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, was a volunteer intern at New England in the summer of 2014.

FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

  • Before their time together in New England, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Falcons assistant general manager *Scott Pioli *worked together at the Browns and the Jets. When Belichick was the head coach at Cleveland from 1991-95, Pioli was a scouting assistant (1992) and pro personnel assistant (1993-95). Later, from 1997-99, Belichick was the assistant head coach/secondary at the Jets while Pioli was the director of pro personnel.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator at Seattle from 2013-14 when Patriots DE Cassius Marsh played for the team (2014). Quinn also coached the defensive line at the Jets from 2007-08 when Patriots LB David Harris played at New York.
  • Patriots DE Cassius Marsh and Falcons FB Derrick Coleman were Seahawks teammates from 2014-15, as well as college teammates at UCLA from 2010-11. Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich also coached the linebackers at UCLA in Marsh's final year as a Bruin in 2013.
  • Patriots RB Dion Lewis and CB Johnson Bademosi played with Falcons C Alex Mack and WR *Taylor Gabriel *at Cleveland.
  • Patriots WR Chris Hogan and CB Stephon Gilmore were teammates with Falcons G* Andy Levitre* at Buffalo in 2012.
  • Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy and CB Johnson Bademosi played with Falcons WR *Andre Roberts *at Detroit in 2016.
  • Patriots DL Lawrence Guy played for the Ravens with Falcons QB Matt Schaub in 2015 and DT Courtney Upshaw in 2014-15.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch and Falcons WR Andre Roberts were teammates together at Arizona in 2010.
  • Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu played for the Bengals with Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (2013-15) and LB Marquis Flowers (2014-15).
  • Patriots RB Mike Gillislee and Falcons DE Derrick Shelby were teammates at Miami from 2013-14.
  • Patriots running backs coach* Ivan Fears* was the wide receivers coach at Chicago when Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong coached the special teams for the Bears in 1997-98.
  • Atlanta defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and running backs coach Keith Carter *worked in Seattle when New England DL Alan Branch played for the Seahawks. Falcons offensive line coach *Chris Morgan and Manuel were also on the Seahawks coaching staff when Patriots DE Cassius Marsh played at Seattle in 2014.
  • Patriots LB David Harris played for the Jets when Falcons defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson was an assistant on the defensive coaching staff at New York from 2007-08.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower played with Falcons WR Julio Jones *at Alabama from 2008-10 and Falcons DT Courtney Upshaw from 2008-11. Together, the trio helped the Crimson Tide to a perfect 14-0 record in 2009 and a 2010 BCS National Championship victory. Patriots special teams coach *Joe Judge was also a member of the support staff at Alabama during that time.
  • Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was teammates with Falcons DE Brooks Reed at Arizona in 2007-08. Reed also played with Patriots LB Marquis Flowers in 2010 when the two were on the Wildcats' roster.
  • Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu played at Rutgers with Patriots DB Devin McCourty in 2009 and DB Duron Harmon from 2009-11. Falcons assistant offensive line coach Kyle Flood was also the head coach at Rutgers during Harmon's senior year and was an assistant offensive coach for the Scarlet Knights from 2005-11. Additionally, Falcons offensive assistant* Dave Brock *took over over duties as the offensive coordinator in 2012 when Flood became the head coach.
  • Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett played with Falcons LB* Jermaine Grace* at Miami from 2013-14.
  • Patriots TE Dwayne Allen and Falcons OLB Vic Beasley, Jr., played together at Clemson University from 2010-11. Allen was also teammates with Falcons DT *Grady Jarrett *in 2011 when the two played for the Tigers.
  • Patriots TE Jacob Hollister and Falcons RB Brian Hill played together at Wyoming from 2014-16.
  • Patriots DE Cassius Marsh was teammates with Falcons FB* Derrick Coleman* at UCLA from 2010-11.
  • Patriots WR Brandin Cooks attended Oregon State when Falcons RB Terron Ward and G Sean Harlow also played for the Beavers.
  • Patriots OL Cameron Fleming and DB Jordan Richards played with Falcons TE Levine Toilolo and TE Austin Hooper at Stanford. Patriots CB Johnson Bademosi was also Cardinal teammates with Toilolo.
  • Patriots DB Eric Rowe and Falcons DE *Derrick Shelby *were teammates at Utah in 2011.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, defensive line coach Bryant Young, quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan and offensive assistant Charlie Weiss, Jr. were on the coaching staff at Florida when Patriots RB Mike Gillislee played for the Gators. Gillislee and Falcons CB* Brian Poole* were also teammates at Florida in 2012.
  • Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley was the secondary coach at Florida Atlantic in 2014 when Falcons S Sharrod Neasman *played at nickel for the Owls. Caley was also on the football support staff at Auburn when Falcons LS Josh Harris* played for the Tigers in 2008.
  • Patriots WR Matthew Slater played at UCLA when Falcons running backs coach *Keith Carter *was a graduate assistant coach for the Bruins in 2005.
  • Falcons defensive backs coach Doug Mallory was the secondary coach at Maryland when Patriots defensive line coach* Brendan Daly* was a graduate assistant for the Terrapins. Mallory and Daly also worked together on the coaching staff at Oklahoma State.
  • Patriots assistant strength and conditioning coach James Hardy was the director of sports performance at Colorado when Falcons defensive assistant Charlie Jackson was special assistant for the Buffalo in 2012.
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