Who Is The Oldest Coach In The NFL
It is hard to underestimate the impact that NFL coaches have on their respective teams and the sport as a whole. Under the steady hand of their leadership, a team can sail to the Super Bowl and lift the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy.
Case in point, the Kansas City Wildcats (currently hold the all-time losing record at 561-667-41) have been around for a while (1896, to be exact). Though, we wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t notice. Back in the 80s, Kansas State University had a problem.
It was the only team to make history by not winning a single game, tallying their record to 500 losses. In 1989, head coach Bill Snyder was called in and famously said, “We will not be 0-11.” And he was right. The Kansas City Wildcats finished 1-10 during the college football season. The point is the coach’s matter.
While most coaches keep on coaching long after the players retire, and some keep on going long after they’ve hit the company benchmark of 65. Romeo Crennel is one such NFL coach who has seen it all since 1947. Crennel was the first Black noninterim head coach in the Browns’ history and the first Black head coach in the history of the Texans franchise.
Crennel has served in various coaching positions across a career that spanned decades. During his long career, Crennel has also been part of five Super Bowl wins (three with the New England Patriots and two with the New York Giants). While the head coach officially retired in June 2022 after 50 years of coaching football teams, the 74-year-old broke the 53-year record which was previously held by George Halas.
Because Crennel’s father was in the Army, the family moved a lot. By junior high, Crennel had already lived in two towns in Texas, Killeen, and Temple. Crennel also wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Army, and he even served for two years of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. Since the ROTC invited candidates after participating for two full years, Crennel was not invited due to medical reasons, which is why Crennel started to explore other options. Crennel also worked as a plumbing contractor and was part of a cleanup crew before turning coach.
After earning a bachelor's degree in physical education from Western Kentucky University, Crennel continued his education by obtaining a master's degree while working as a graduate assistant for the school in 1970. Prior to attending college, Crennel played both baseball and football at Fort Knox High School in Kentucky and Amherst County (Va.) High School.
He ultimately decided to pursue college football at Western Kentucky, where he played as a defensive lineman for four years. However, during his senior season, he was asked by the coaching staff to switch to an offensive lineman. Despite the change, he was named the team's most valuable player. Although he was not drafted and never played in the NFL, the switch allowed him to gain valuable knowledge of the game by experiencing both the offensive and defensive sides of the football.
Throughout his 39-year coaching career, his teams achieved a combined win/loss record of 319-297-1. He served as a head coach for a total of five seasons, beginning with the Cleveland Browns. During his four-year tenure with the Browns, he led the team to a record of 24-40-0. He later became the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, where he led the team to a 2-14-0 record. Across his entire head coaching career, his two teams combined for a record of 26-54-0 over five seasons. Crennel has a total of 32 wins in his coaching career.
We thank coach Crennel for his service and dedication towards the sport and for leaving a lasting impression on some of the league’s top teams, such as the New York Giants, New England Patriots, The New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and the Kansas City Chiefs.