NFL Conference Championships Will Have Plenty of Local Ties, Ex-Patriots

The Patriots' season might be done, but their connections run deep through the four teams that remain in the playoffs.

Here's a list of the 25 Steelers, Jets, Bears and Packers who have ties to the Patriots and the New England area.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Patriots Connections (1)

  • Running backs coach Kirby Wilson held the same position with the Patriots from 1997-99.

New England Connections

New York Jets

Patriots Connections (5)

  • Right tackle Damien Woody, who is on injured reserve, was the Patriots' first-round draft pick (No. 17) in 1999 and played in New England through 2003. He also went to Boston College.
  • Quarterback Kevin O'Connell, who is on injured reserve, was the Patriots' third-round pick in 2008.
  • Practice squad linebacker Shawn Crable was the Patriots' third-round draft pick in 2008.
  • Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh was the Patriots’ second-round draft choice in 1978, and he played in New England through 1982. Cavanaugh, who wore No. 12, threw 19 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions during his tenure.
  • Wide receivers coach Henry Ellard played part of the 1998 season with the Patriots.

New England Connections (5)

  • Safety James Ihedigbo is a native of Amherst, Mass. and played at UMass.
  • Guard Vladimir Ducasse played at UMass.
  • Defensive end Mike DeVito is a native of Wellfleet, Mass. and played at Maine.
  • Tight end Matthew Mulligan played at Maine for two seasons after transferring from Husson College in Bangor, Maine.
  • General manager Mike Tannenbaum is a native of Needham, Mass. and graduated from UMass.

Chicago Bears

Patriots Connections (1)

  • Kicker Robbie Gould was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2005, and he went to training camp with New England before getting cut in favor of Adam Vinatieri.

New England Connections (7)

  • Backup quarterback Todd Collins is a native of Walpole, Mass.
  • Cornerback Corey Graham played at New Hampshire.
  • Practice squad tackle James Marten played at Boston College.
  • President and CEO Ted Phillips grew up in Nashua, N.H.
  • Special teams coordinator Dave Toub played at Springfield College.
  • Strength and conditioning assistant Jim Arthur attended Springfield College and later coached at Springfield College and Boston College.
  • Director of physical development Rusty Jones attended Springfield College and later coached at Springfield College.

Green Bay Packers

Patriots Connections (1)

  • Defensive coordinator Dom Capers coached the Patriots' secondary in 2008.

New England Connections (5)

  • Director of college scouting John Dorsey played at UConn.
  • Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was born in Springfield, Mass. He was the offensive line coach at Worcester Tech, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Northeastern and offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Harvard.
  • Tight ends coach Ben McAdoo was the offensive line and tight ends coach at Fairfield University.
  • Defensive lineman B.J. Raji played at Boston College.
  • Linebacker Rob Francois played at Boston College.
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