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How Mike Munchak stacks up to John Elway’s checklist

Zac Stevens Avatar
January 4, 2019

As the Broncos embark on their search for the next head coach, they will interview five different candidates for the job. On the day of each interview, we will grade that candidate based on the qualities John Elway is looking for. These are the interviews that have already taken place.

Wednesday: Chuck Pagano

Thursday: Zac Taylor

Friday: Mike Munchak



Envision a Hall of Fame offensive lineman. That’s Mike Munchak, the third coach to interview for the Broncos’ vacant head coach position.

As a player, Munchak played for one team, the Houston Oilers, his entire career after they made him the No. 8 overall pick in the 1982 draft.

Directly after retiring from his 12-year Hall of Fame career, Munchak joined his former team as an offensive assistant/quality control coach.

As the Oilers moved to Tennessee after the 1996 season, Munchak moved up the totem pole into the position of offensive line coach.

The 1980’s All-Decade offensive lineman stayed at that position for the next 14 seasons before becoming the Titans head coach.

Munchak led Tennessee to records of 9-7, 6-10 and 7-9, but ultimately lost his job after not wanting to make changes to his staff that his higher-ups demanded.

Immediately after, in 2014, Munchak left the Titans organization for the first time in over 30 years to become the offensive line coach for the Steelers, the position he still holds today.

The 58-year old is highly regarded across the NFL for his football mastery and the type of person he is.

Just as Munchak will have to make a strong case to the Broncos, John Elway will have to make a strong sell to Munchak as he declined a second interview last offseason for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching vacancy.

One of Munchak’s daughters and grandchildren live in the Denver area, so Elway has that on his side.


John Elway identified four traits he is looking for in his next head coach. Here is how Munchak stacks up.

Greatness in their expertise: A+

Munchak is widely regarded as the best offensive line coach in the league, and there’s no surprise as to why.

In each of the past two seasons, Munchak has sent three of his offensive lineman to the Pro Bowl, one of which, Alejandro Villanueva, was undrafted. That’s over half of his starters!

Experience: A

It’ll be hard to find a person that’s been in the NFL longer than Munchak.

In three years, he’ll hit 40 years of experience in the league, with a significant majority of those at the highest — and Hall-of-Fame — level.

He does not have coordinating experience, but his three-year stint as head coach neutralizes that.

Ability to lead men: A

Munchak’s players absolutely love him.

In fact, Steelers players have been publicly campaigning for Munchak to stay in Pittsburgh and to not take a head coaching position this offseason.

“I hope fans and everybody writes as many letters as they can to Mr. Rooney to try and keep Coach Munchak around,” Ben Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh after the season.

“He’s such a special coach. Obviously, a guy that was a special player, so he brings that to the table. They are the engine that drives this team, the linemen. When they’re happy, and they love playing for their coach, they play better. I pray and hope we can keep him.”

As to the offensive lineman themselves, there’s no doubt how they view his leadership abilities.

“It gets to the point where you really don’t want to let him down,” Villanueva said. “You want to play your best for him.”

The “it” factor: A

The it factor can be viewed differently to different people, so it’s unsure exactly what Elway is looking for in this respect.

But from players and coaches, he’s been around in this league, it’s clear he’s a special player, coach and person who elevates everyone around him.

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