Reggie Bush's two punt returns for score in Week 5 alerted us to Ferraro's name
While Brad Childress has refused to toss Vikings Special Teams coach Paul Ferraro on the train tracks, Chilly, in truth, must realize he's just doing a stand-up thing for a sit-down effort. As noted previously herein, the Vikings have given up a whopping six special teams' touchdowns this season, a stat, as the Trib stated earlier this week, that has tied the NFL record for ignominy in said regard. Our Sunday opponent, 6-3 Tampa, is allowing just 16.3 points per game, good for fourth best in the league. Note that Tampa also sports a kickoff return for score earlier this year.
The man behind our special teams is Mr. Paul Ferraro, whom the Purple hired in January of 2006. As you'll note in the somewhat true timeline below: Ferraro has lived his life on the gridiron. Seems like a good guy? Sure. And last year, his second in Minnesota, was rendering the good results the Vikings surely anticipated upon the hire. Consider that in Ferraro's nascent year of '06, the Vikings were 24th in the NFL in kickoff coverage and 23rd in covering punts with a TD allowed. Last year, they improved to 12th in kickoffs, although remained 23rd in punts, with another score allowed. 2008? Bad. The aforementioned six TD's, and we're also last in the NFL in punt coverage and 15th in kickoffs.
How did we get here, to this sorry stage? Perhaps more importantly: how did Paul Ferraro get here? As the Vikings website -- perhaps intentionally -- offers no bio information on their coaching staff, here's how a guy like Ferraro grows up to accrue the unique post of NFL Special Teams coach:
Somewhat true Paul Ferraro timeline
Born- April 30, 1959 in Ridgewood, New Jersey
1969- Due to a broken axel, Ferraro's school bus arrives late to his Ridge Elementary School, during third-period recess. While his classmates play kickball in the yard, a sullen Ferraro is taken inside to make-up his missed, first-period test. Before his peers, teacher Mrs. Weiss announces, "It's okay, Paul. You're in my Special Team." Taunting boys and schools soon chant cruelly in unison, "Special Team. Special Team. Paul is on the Special Team!"
1977- Named "Outstanding Senior Athlete," Ridgewood High
1979-82- Defensive back, D-III Springfield College (Springfield, Mass.); team captain, All-East selection
1981- Touring Ireland with football buddies prior to college graduation, a sauced Ferraro slips on a bridge over the Liffey, losing all of his pocket money to the evening waters. His Jameson-laced buddies laugh hysterically at Ferraro's Dropped Punt.
College Coaching 1982- Massachusetts coach 1983-Syracuse coach 1984-86- Villanova coach 1987- Dartmouth coach
1988- During a medical visit to his physician to address an old football wrist injury, Ferraro's claim is denied due to Lack of Coverage.
Continued college coaching 1988- Catholic coach 1989- Maine coach 1990- Ohio coach
1991- At Thanksgiving, Ferraro brings the future Mrs. Ferraro home to meet and dine with his family. After the young couple's departure to a nearby hotel for the night, his siblings decidedly agree that the girl is a Fair Catch.
Continued college coaching 1991-98- Bowling Green coach 1999-2000- Georgia Tech coach
2000- Ferraro and his family plan a leviathan New Millennium gathering to celebrate the New Year, complete with full-bar, live entertainment, funny hats and a palm reader. Curiously, the celebration is attended by less than a dozen pals, and the party is ultimately deemed a Failed Kickoff.
Continued college coaching 2001- 04- Rutgers Defensive coordinator
2003- Coaching his Rutgers defense through a blinding snowstorm, Ferraro is so completely winterized in facial protective garb that only his eyes peer through. Fellow coaches quip that the coordinator appears decidedly Muffed.
Pro Coaching 2005- Special Teams and strength and conditioning assistant for Carolina Panthers. Panthers conclude season as NFL's 11th best kickoff unit, and 5th best punt unit. Neither team allows a TD.
2006- Inducted into Ridgewood High Athletic Hall of Fame
2006-Present- Special Teams Coach for Vikings