Rumor: Hall of Famer Mike Munchak to Interview with Packers

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The Packers will reportedly interview Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Munchak has spent the majority of his adult life either playing or coaching offensive line. He was drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers after an All-American career at Penn State in the early 1980’s, and played eleven years with the Oilers.

Mike Munchak  was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 after 11 seasons with the Oilers.

Mike Munchak was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 after 11 seasons with the Oilers.

There, he made nine Pro Bowls, four All-Pro teams and was named to the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team. His number 63 jersey was retired by the Tennessee Titans (the Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee in 1997, four years after Munchak retired). Eight years after his playing career ended, Munchak was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Munchak went straight from the playing field to the coaching staff, staying with the then-Oilers organization as an offensive assistant and quality control coach in the mid-1990s. For 17 years, he helped coach the Titans offensive line before the team promoted him to head coach in 2011 following the firing of Jeff Fisher

After three mediocre seasons, Munchak was fired after the Titans front office requested he replace at least six of his assistant coaches after a 7-9 record in 2013. Munchak refused, and the organization fired him six days after the season ended.

He quickly found work as an offensive line coach, although this time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2018, the Steelers offensive line was the league’s fourth-best pass protection unit according to Football Outsiders. The Packers ranked 23rd, allowing the third-most sacks of any offensive line in the league.

What this means for the Packers head coaching search

Munchak furthers a trend that is beginning to emerge as candidates appear on Green Bay’s radar. The Packers are content to look past blemishes on coach’s resumes.

Consider the following dark marks on these candidates’ resumes:

  • Munchak’s three year record as the Titans head coach was 22-26, and Tennessee never won more than nine games or made the postseason during his tenure. 

  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was very nearly named the head coach of the Colts in early 2018 before unceremoniously dumping them to return to New England.

  • In Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell’s time as Dolphins interim head coach, he fired both coordinators, ran the most physical practices in the NFL, and rearranged player’s lockers. He’s likely best suited as a supporting coach and not a head coach.

  • Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano fought off termination in two consecutive years, and each successive season seemed to lose more of the locker room as the year wore on.

  • Former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell had a 4-25 record against teams who finished the season with a winning record over his four seasons in Detroit.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Silverstein mentioned Munchak on a podcast late last week as a potential candidate for the Packers job. Silverstein noted that Munchak will be challenged to build a talented staff of assistant coaches, part of why his tenure with the Titans ended in 2013.