Dante Scarnecchia has been a mainstay in New England for more than 30 years. During that time he's remained a part of the Patriots staff under four owners, six head coaches and helped the team capture five Super Bowl titles. It takes a special person to endure in a business alongside so many different personalities, and that's exactly what he is.
So, it should come as no surprise that he has earned his share of post-career accolades. Most Patriots fans are aware that Robert Kraft announced that Scarnecchia will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame later this year. But on Thursday the man affectionately known by his players as Scar received a Pro Football Hall of Fame Award of Excellence, becoming one of 17 individuals to earn the honor.
"This year's group of 17 assistant coaches, athletic trainers, equipment managers, film/video directors and public relations personnel have impacted their clubs and the game of professional football positively, and this program is a way to recognize that," Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. "Each recipient has dedicated decades of time to creating meaningful change for their respective field, their teams and the National Football League."
It's certainly a distinction that few have earned more than Scarnecchia. During the 1980s under Ron Meyer and Raymond Berry, Scar led the Patriots special teams in Foxborough. After a brief two-year stay in Indianapolis, he returned to the organization under Dick MacPherson, Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll and finally Bill Belichick.
It was as part of Belichick's staff that Scarnecchia's expertise with the offensive line really took off. He spent 19 seasons (1999-2014, 2016-19) working with the big guys up front, and his ability to develop young linemen was one of the most underrated aspects of the Patriots success.
Whether it was a first-round pick like Nate Solder or a newcomer to the sport such as Stephen Neal, Scar was able to mold and nurture his players in his own disciplined style. Always a tough taskmaster on the field, Scar managed to find the balance of earning tremendous respect from his troops and always seemed to get the most from the talent he had to work with.
Fans arriving at an early-morning training camp practice in 2001 may have seen Scarnecchia doing his daily sprints, just as many of those same Patriots followers may have witnessed in 2019. The day or year didn't matter. He was a coach built on routine, and that probably explains why his units never seemed to be out of position or caught off guard even under the toughest of circumstances.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame's recognition of Scarnecchia's prowess proves he is not just respected within the confines of New England either. The Hall began giving out the award in 2022 and it is given to those who propelled the success of individual teams and the sport of professional football.
He was honored in Canton during a reception on Wednesday and at a luncheon Thursday afternoon, but the Foxborough Faithful will get the opportunity to celebrate his great career at the Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony on October 21.