Who is Rod Marinelli?
Rodney Marinelli is an American football coach who presently serves as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ of the National Football League (NFL). He played in offensive tackle position during his collegiate career and earned All-America honours at ‘Cal-Lutheran.’ He then commenced his coaching career as an assistant at ‘Rosemead High School’ and a couple of years later landed up with his first collegiate coaching job joining as defensive line coach at ‘Utah State University.’ After spending 20 years coaching at the collegiate level, Rodney became the defensive line coach of the ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ of the ‘NFL.’ He was part of the most successful season of the team when it won ‘Super Bowl XXXVII.’ He joined the ‘Detroit Lions’ in 2006, but this association did not prove successful, and he was fired in December 2008. After being fired from ‘Detroit Lions,’ Rodney joined the ‘Chicago Bears’ as assistant head coach and defensive line coach, and was later promoted as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He next joined the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ as defensive line coach and was eventually promoted and presently serves as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.
Childhood & Early Life
Rodney Marinelli was born on July 13, 1949, in Rosemead, California, US. He attended ‘Rosemead High School,’ ‘California Lutheran University,’ and the ‘University of Southern California.’
He played football as offensive tackle during his college years. Around this time, he had to serve in the Vietnam War. He got wounded and also contracted malaria. In 1972, he earned All-America honors at Cal-Lutheran.
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School & College Coaching
Rodney started his career as a football coach in 1973 when he was appointed an assistant at his alma mater, ‘Rosemead High School,’ suburban Los Angeles. He served the school till 1975, before starting his first collegiate job at ‘Utah State University.’ He was the defensive line coach from 1976 to 1981, and then as the offensive line coach and the special teams coach in 1982.
Thereafter he joined the ‘University of California’ and stayed with the team for nine seasons. During his tenure with the ‘California Golden Bears’ football program, he first served as the defensive line coach from 1983 to 1989, and then as the assistant head coach and the defensive line coach from 1990 to 1991.
From 1992 to 1994, for three seasons, he served as the assistant head coach and the defensive line coach of the ‘Arizona State Sun Devils’ football team of ‘Arizona State University.’ In 1995, he worked as the defensive line coach of the ‘USC Trojans’ football program of the ‘University of Southern California.’
Professional Coaching Career
Rodney’s professional coaching career began as the defensive line coach of ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ in 1996. He served under the head coach Tony Dungy for six seasons till 2001. Thereafter he served as the assistant head coach and the defensive line coach of the team, from 2002 to 2005. During this tenure, on January 26, 2003, the team won their first ever Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXVII, at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. His thriving stint with the team also saw him working on developing linemen like Simeon Rice and Warren Sapp.
He replaced Dick Jauron to become the head coach of the ‘Detroit Lions’ on January 18, 2006. He was the fourth in line hired by the president and the chief executive officer of the Detroit Lions, Matt Millen, after Marty Mornhinweg, Steve Mariucci, and Dick Jauron.
Rodney couldn’t make an impressive start with the ‘Lions,’ recording losses in the first five games of the 2006 season. This was, however, followed by a win over the ‘Buffalo Bills’ by 20–17. The team under Rodney again recorded 7 successive losses between the 10th and the 16th week, but ended the year defeating the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ 39–31. Although the ‘Lions’ initially recorded 6-2 in the 2007 season, they were defeated in 7 of their last 8 games and concluded the season as 3rd in the NFC North with a 7–9 record.
The ‘Lions’ under Rodney had an impressive 4-0 preseason but recorded 0–16 in 2008, marking the first 0-16 regular season record in the history of the ‘NFL.’ The winless 0-16 campaign was later repeated by ‘Cleveland Browns’ in 2017. Rodney, along with most of his coaching team, was fired by the ‘Lions’ on December 26, 2008. His three seasons’ record with the ‘Lions’ was 10-38, counted among the worst records by a head coach with at least 3 years of experience in the history of the ‘NFL.’
He had talks with the ‘Houston Texans’ and the ‘Seattle Seahawks,’ before he was appointed as the assistant head coach and the defensive line coach in January 2009, by the ‘Chicago Bears.’ This reunited him with coach Lovie Smith; The two had earlier worked under Tony Dungy, from 1996 to 2000 in Tampa Bay.
In February 2010, he was promoted by the ‘Chicago Bears’ as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. His defenses ranked 9th, 17th and 5th during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons respectively. The Bears garnered the maximum interception and takeaways in the ‘NFL’ in 2012, recording 24 and 44 respectively apart from coming 6th in third-down efficiency (35.5 percent) and 8th in sacks with 41. They also ranked third with the fewest points allowed (477). In January 2013, he left the ‘Bears.’
He was inducted as the defensive line coach of the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ on January 18, 2013. Following the demotion of Monte Kiffin on January 28, 2014, Rodney was elevated as the defensive coordinator in the team. During his first season with the ‘Cowboys’ as the defensive coordinator, the team put up a good show with 12-4 record and his defense ranked 14th. He signed a 3-year extension contract with the team on January 13, 2015, retaining his position as the defensive coordinator.
Family & Personal Life
Rodney is married to Barbara Torres Marinelli. Together they have two daughters, Chris and Gina. Chris is married to assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the ‘Los Angeles Rams,’ Joe Barry. He is the son of Mike Barry, who served ‘Detroit Lions’ as the offensive line coach.