FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today that Scott O'Brien will retire from coaching after 24 seasons in the NFL, including the last six seasons as the special teams coach for the Patriots. He will remain with the organization.
The Patriots also announced that Joe Judge has been named special teams coach. He originally joined the Patriots as O'Brien's assistant in 2012.
"I have never worked with a coach better than Scott O'Brien," said head coach Bill Belichick. "Scott is second to none at preparation, strategy, teaching, techniques, fundamentals, scouting and virtually any other aspect of teambuilding, game planning or player development that exists in football. I thank Scott for making me a better coach, finding and developing countless players and being such a tremendous asset at both organizations we worked together. Scott O'Brien is undoubtedly one of the finest coaches of his generation and he deserves having his final game be a Super Bowl championship. While we will miss his contributions in coaching, we look forward to continuing to work with him in other capacities."
O'Brien coached for 11 seasons in the college ranks before beginning his NFL coaching career when Belichick hired him to coach the Cleveland Browns' special teams in 1991. When the Browns franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996, O'Brien remained with the club and served for three more seasons (1996-98) as special teams coach. He then served for six seasons (1999-04) as the Carolina Panthers' assistant head coach/special teams. After two seasons (2005-06) with the Miami Dolphins as the coordinator of football operations/assistant to the head coach, O'Brien spent two seasons prior to joining New England as the special teams coordinator for the Denver Broncos (2007-08).
In 22 seasons as an NFL special teams coach, O'Brien's units have produced 41 special teams touchdowns, including 22 punt returns for touchdowns, 12 kickoff returns for touchdowns, three blocked field goals returned for touchdowns, two blocked punts returned for a touchdown, one fake field goal turned into a touchdown and one kickoff fumble returned for a touchdown.
O'Brien played linebacker at Wisconsin-Superior and following his collegiate career was signed to contracts by the Green Bay Packers and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Joe Judge originally joined New England as the assistant special teams coach on May 10, 2012. Judge came to the Patriots after a three-year stint at the University of Alabama as a football analyst/special teams assistant under Nick Saban. While on the Alabama staff, Judge was a member of two National Championship teams in 2009 and 2011 and assisted with the special teams units. While at Alabama, Judge's special teams units were honored with a First-Team All-America kicker and Groza Award finalist (Leigh Tiffin, 2009), a First-Team All-American return specialist (Javier Arenas, 2009), an SEC-All-Freshman team punter (Cody Mandell, 2010) and a returner who finished his career ranked second in all-time NCAA return yards (Javier Arenas).
Prior to his stint with Alabama, Judge spent a season at Birmingham-Southern where he served as special teams/linebackers coach in 2008. He began his college coaching career at Mississippi State as a graduate assistant under Sylvester Croom from 2005 through 2007. While at Mississippi State, Judge tutored a freshman All-SEC punter, five All-SEC linebackers and a returner who finished as the SEC leader in career return yards. Judge played for Mississippi State from 2000-04, earning three letters.