American Football Database
Rod Marinelli
Current position
Title Defensive Coordinator
Team Dallas Cowboys
Personal information
Date of birth (1949-07-13) July 13, 1949 (age 72)
Place of birth Rosemead, California
Career information
College California Lutheran University
Head coaching record
Regular season 10–38 (.208)
Postseason 0-0 (—)
Career record 10–38 (.208)
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Team(s) as a coach/administrator













Rosemead High School
(defensive coordinator)
Utah State University
(defensive line coach)
Utah State University
(Offensive line/special teams)
University of California
(defensive line coach)
University of California
(defensive line and assistant H.C.)

Arizona State University
(defensive line /assistant H.C.)
University of Southern California
(defensive line coach)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(defensive line coach)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(defensive line/assistant H.C.)
Detroit Lions
(Head coach)
Chicago Bears
(defensive line and assistant H.C.)
Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive Line Coach)
Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive coordinator)

Rodney Marinelli (born July 13, 1949) is an American football coach who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. He was fired from his position as head coach one day after coaching the Lions to the worst single-season record in NFL history, 0–16 in 2008.

Early coaching career

Marinelli's coaching career began in 1973 as an assistant at Rosemead High School in suburban Los Angeles from 1973 to 1975. He earned his first collegiate job in 1976, serving as an assistant to Pape Swalpek at Utah State University until 1982. He then moved on to the University of California for nine seasons, serving as the defensive line coach and later the assistant head coach. He was then on staff with Arizona State University for three seasons, again holding a dual role as defensive line and assistant head coach, between 1992 and 1994. Marinelli spent his final year in college football at University of Southern California in 1995.[citation needed]

Professional coaching

Marinelli went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996 and was the defensive line coach for 6 seasons under head coach Tony Dungy. The latter four seasons he also served as assistant head coach. He was known for his structured approach and his commitment for trying to get the most out of his players.[citation needed] There he worked to develop lineman such as Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice into Pro Bowl caliber players. During Marinelli's tenure in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers earned more sacks than any other franchise.

Detroit Lions

On January 18, 2006, Marinelli was named the head coach of the Detroit Lions, replacing Dick Jauron. Marinelli was the fourth coach hired by Lions CEO Matt Millen, preceded by Marty Mornhinweg, Steve Mariucci and Dick Jauron.

The Marinelli era began poorly, as the Lions lost the first five games of the 2006 season before beating the Buffalo Bills 20–17. The Lions lost seven games in a row between weeks 10 and 16 before ending the year on a high note by beating the Dallas Cowboys 39–31.

The 2007 season started off well for the Lions as they started 6-2. However, the Lions lost seven out of their last eight games, and finished the 2007 season 3rd in the NFC North with a 7–9 record.

Despite a perfect 4–0 preseason, Marinelli coached the 2008 Lions to an 0–16 season, the first team in NFL history to lose every game of a season since a 16-game regular season was instituted in 1978 (The last team to lose all of their games was the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went 0-14; the last team to not win a game was the 1982 Baltimore Colts, who were 0-8-1 in a strike-shortened campaign.)

On December 26, 2008, Marinelli was fired, in addition to the majority of his coaching staff.[1] His record during the 3 seasons with the Lions was 10–38, one of the worst in NFL history for a head coach with at least three years' experience. Among coaches with at least 10 career wins, only Bert Bell has a worse record (10-46-2); Steve Spagnuolo posted the same 10-38 mark as Marinelli.

Chicago Bears

Marinelli joined the Chicago Bears in January 2009 as assistant head coach and defensive line coach,[2] reuniting him with Lovie Smith, whom he worked with under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay from 1996–2000.[2] Marinelli also interviewed with the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks before joining the Bears. Marinelli was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator in February 2010.[3] From 2010 to 2012, Marinelli's defenses ranked ninth, seventeenth, and fifth, respectively. Also in 2012, the Bears led the NFL in interceptions with 24,[4] along with in takeaways with 44, sixth in third-down efficiency (35.5 percent) and eighth in sacks with 41,[5] while ranking third with the fewest points allowed (477).[6] Marinelli left the Bears in January 2013.[7]

Dallas Cowboys

On January 18, 2013, Marinelli joined the Dallas Cowboys as defensive line coach.[8] Marinelli was promoted to defensive coordinator after the demotion of Monte Kiffin on January 28, 2014.

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DET 2006 3 13 0 .188 4th in NFC North
DET 2007 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC North
DET 2008 0 16 0 .000 4th in NFC North
Total[9] 10 38 0 .208


Marinelli and his wife, Barbara, have two daughters, Chris and Gina.[citation needed] Chris is married to Joe Barry, the former Lions defensive coordinator.[citation needed] Marinelli is a veteran of the Vietnam War.[citation needed]


  1. "Marinelli: 'You can't go 0–16 and expect to keep your job'". NFL. December 29, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mayer, Larry (January 11, 2008). "Marinelli agrees to join Bears coaching staff". Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  3. "Marinelli new DC as Bears finalize staff". February 5, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  4. Watkins, Calvin (January 18, 2013). "Rod Marinelli talking to Cowboys". ESPN. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  5. Mayer, Larry (January 25, 2013). "Trestman wants Bears defense to get after quarterback". Chicago Bears. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  6. Mayer, Larry (December 31, 2012). "Failures on offense cost Bears, Lovie Smith". Chicago Bears. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  7. Associated Press (January 17, 2013). "Marinelli out as Bears defensive coordinator". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  8. Burch, Jimmy (January 18, 2013). "Cowboys hire Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  9. "Rod Marinelli Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks –". July 13, 1949. Retrieved November 3, 2011.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dick Jauron
Detroit Lions Head Coach
Succeeded by
Jim Schwartz
Preceded by
Bob Babich
Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Mel Tucker
Preceded by
Monte Kiffin
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by