The Patriots Hall of Fame welcomed in two new members Saturday. Mike Vrabel and Dante Scarnecchia were inducted during an indoor ceremony, which was broadcast online. With the additions of these New England Patriots legends, the total number of inductees to The Hall now stands at 34.
Now the Tennessee Titans head coach, Vrabel spent eight of his 14 NFL seasons as a player (2000-2008) with the New England Patriots. He was a member of the Patriots first three Super Bowl championship teams in 2001, 2003 and 2004. He was also a starter on the 2007 AFC Championship team that finished the regular season 16-0.
Prior to New England, Vrabel spent his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished his career playing two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs. But it was with the Patriots that Vrabel saw his greatest success, both as a player and with his teams.
Mike Vrabel joined Bill Belichick’s team in 2001, helping jumpstart the Patriots dynasty. His first year in Foxboro he helped the franchise win their first Super Bowl title. During his eight seasons with the Patriots, New England reached the AFC Championship five times, winning four. They went on to win three of the four Super Bowls in which they appeared.
In Super Bowl 38, Vrabel had a six tackles, including 2.0 sacks. He also caught a touchdown in the 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers. An easy argument could have been made for Mike Vrabel winning Super Bowl MVP.
The 2007 16-0 season was Vrabel’s best one individually. He finished the season with 12.5 sacks, was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad, and was voted first team All-Pro. He finished fifth in the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Vrabel finished his Patriots career as a three-time Super Bowl champion, All-Pro, Pro Bowler, seventh in franchise history in sacks (48.0) and even caught 10 touchdown passes from Tom Brady.
My favorite part about this Tom Brady TD pass/reception chart is #Titans head coach Mike Vrabel being in the third row with 10. Love seeing a few offensive lineman too (Nate Solder, Tom Ashworth). RIP to others.#ForeverNE #GoBucs #TomBrady
(shout out to whoever made this!) pic.twitter.com/2Aj8vlPZsS
— Dan Kelley (@DanKelley66) December 13, 2021
A longtime New England Patriots assistant, Scarnecchia is the fourth non-player to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. He joins original owner Billy Sullivan, broacaster Gil Santos and cheerleading director Tracy Sormanti.
Dante Scarnecchia served a number of roles on Patriots coaching staffs over the years. “Scar”is most well known for his work with the offensive line, but it was not limited to the men up front. He was also a positional coach for the Patriots with special teams and tight ends. Other job titles included, defensive assistant, special assistant, and assistant head coach.
Scarnecchia’s tenure in Foxboro lasted three separate stints under six different New England Patriots head coaches. He was on the Patriots coaching staffs of Ron Meyer, Raymond Berry, Dick MacPherson, Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll, and Bill Belichick.
In the 1985 season, Dante Scarnecchia was on the sideline for the Patriots first Super Bowl appearance. In the 2018 season, he was on the sideline for their most recent.
Dante Scarnecchia was a member of 10 AFC champion coaching staffs during his time in New England. This ties him with Bill Belichick for the most with one franchise in NFL history. He won five Super Bowl rings.
Hall of Fame Ceremony
Due to weather, the ceremony had to be moved inside, and was not open to the public. Despite the conditions, it was still a terrific affair.
Robert, Kraft, Bill, Belichick, Drew Bledsoe, Richard Seymour and Matt Light were among those in attendance. There were also video messages from a number of former Patriots players. This included Rodney Harrison, Kevin Faulk and Ty Law.
Belichick was particularly entertaining. Vrabel received an apology for being traded to Kansas City. He also did a hilarious impersonation of Scarnecchia that got big laughs. But he also took time to show his true appreciation for two men that clearly mean a lot to him.
“Those banners up there wouldn’t be flying without your contributions.”
Mike Vrabel, one of the players who epitomizes what the “Patriots Way” means, summed up what, being a Patriot meant to him.
“Nothing was more important than the team. Not your feelings, not your stats, not your paycheck, not what you’ve done in the past.”
Dante Scarnecchia expressed his love for New England Patriots fans saying, “stink it up, they’d boo like hell. If we were good, they’d cheer like hell. I appreciate everything about them.”
New England Patriots fans certainly appreciate what Mike Vrabel and Dante Scarnecchia did for the franchise over the years. Congratulations to both men on an honor well deserved.