With the Kansas City Chiefs winning a second Super Bowl in four years, there is plenty of talk about them entering the ranks of the NFL’s dynasties. While that distinction is a subjective one to make, there is no denying that they have one person in their ranks certainly deserving of that moniker.
Let’s meet their one-man dynasty. Let’s meet linebackers coach Brendan Daly.
Chances are, you have never heard of Daly. However, with Kansas City’s 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday he can now call himself a five-time champion. That places him among the winningest individuals in league history, in case you’re wondering.
His career, however, started off in rather inglorious fashion.
A tight end by trade, Daly played college football at Drake. However, it was clear that his future was not as an active player. Instead, he wanted to go into coaching.
The road to get there was a rocky one, though, as the Des Moines Register pointed out in the week leading up to the Super Bowl:
He graduated in 1997 and worked several odd jobs around Des Moines. He bartended at AK O’Connor’s and got a job at Stanley Steemer, cleaning carpets during the day and slinging drinks at night.
But coaching was always his dream. He got his shot later that fall when Mike Looney, a former graduate assistant at Drake, called [Rob] Ash. Looney was looking for some coaches for his staff at Ridgewood High School in Florida. Ash saw coaching potential in Daly and recommended him.
“I loaded everything I owned into a pickup, and smashed the window in the back of it loading a couch, and drove to Florida in the middle of a rainstorm,” Daly said.
Daly paid his dues, working as a special educator and coach at Ridgewood before returning to Drake in 1998. While he officially coached tight ends, his responsibilities were far-reaching. Basically, he had to lend a hand wherever one was needed.
Filming practices? Sure.
Packing and unpacking the bus for road trips? You bet.
Daly spent one year in that role before stints at Villanova, Maryland, Oklahoma State and Illinois State. He served as tight ends coach, graduate assistant, strength and conditioning coach along the way. He did what he had to do to make coaching ends meet.
Then, in 2005, he took on another role — one he had so far only held briefly at Ridgewood eight years earlier. When he returned to Villanova that year, he was asked to coach the Wildcats’ defensive line.
Daly has been serving on that side of the ball ever since, making the jump to the NFL level just one year later: the Minnesota Vikings hired him as their assistant D-line coach in 2006. He spent three years there, then three more in St. Louis before rejoining the Vikings in 2012 to take over the main job coaching defensive linemen.
His work and extensive résumé then put him on the radar of arguably the greatest coach in pro football history.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots brought Daly in as a defensive assistant in 2014. While he was a low-level coach at that point in time, that season would kick off a remarkable stretch.
Daly went on to win three Super Bowls with the Patriots between 2014 and 2018. He earned the first of his championships in his coaching assistant role, before moving to defensive line coach the following offseason. In that capacity, he helped New England to two more titles to cap off the 2016 and 2018 seasons.
Following that 2018 campaign and with the Patriots undergoing some changes on their defensive staff, Daly departed for Kansas City. He promptly won a fourth Super Bowl, and now a fifth.
The success he enjoyed over the last few years extends beyond his full hand’s worth of championship rings. Daly also took part in every AFC Championship Game since 2014 and in seven of nine Super Bowls.
He appears to be a rather insignificant cog in the Chiefs’ machinery when compared to the likes of Patrick Mahomes, or Travis Kelce, or Andy Reid, but make no mistake: he very much is not. Super Bowl LVII was further proof of that.
His unit, after all, made one of the biggest plays of the game when Nick Bolton returned a Jalen Hurts fumble for a defensive touchdown. As a result of this play, and the team’s efforts especially in the second half against the Eagles, the 47-year-old can now add another ring to his already impressive collection.
Chances are it will not be his last.
The Daly dynasty is alive and well.