Brian Daboll is coming home.
A football coaching career that has included stops with the best of the best, the New England Patriots and University of Alabama, has brought Daboll full circle as the St. Francis High School graduate Sunday was named the new offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills.
Daboll, who won Super Bowls as an assistant coach with the Patriots and earlier this month helped the Crimson Tide to a national championship as offensive coordinator, replaces Rick Dennison, who was fired Friday after only one season on the job.
"We are excited to hire Brian as our offensive coordinator and welcome him back to Western New York," Bills coach Sean McDermott said in a statement the team released. "I know how much this area means to him. He is a good coach and a good teacher and a part of winning programs in the NFL and college."
The 42-year-old Daboll, who is native of Welland, Ont., but was raised in West Seneca by his grandparents, has a connection with McDermott dating back to when Daboll was a restricted earning coach at William & Mary in 1997 and McDermott played safety there.
Daboll spent only one season at Alabama, but 17 years in the NFL, most in two stints with the Patriots. He was with them from 2000 to 2006 and 2013 to 2016 as a defensive assistant, wide receivers coach, offensive assistant and tight ends coach. In that time, he was part of five Super Bowl championships, beginning with the first in franchise history.
Daboll also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (2009-10), Miami Dolphins (2011) and Kansas City Chiefs (2012). He also was the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach in 2007-08.
He faces a mammoth task in trying to improve one of the worst offenses in the league. The Bills ranked 29th in the NFL in total offense last season and were 31st in passing. They were sixth in rushing offense after leading the league in that category the previous two seasons. They also scored only 28 touchdowns after producing 30 in 2016.
The numbers aren't a whole lot more impressive than what the offenses Daboll oversaw in the NFL generated.
In 2009 and 2010, the Browns were 29th and 31st in the league in scoring. The Dolphins were 20th in scoring in 2011, while the Chiefs were 32nd in scoring in 2012. Daboll's Browns offense was 32nd and 29th in total yards, his Dolphins offense was 22nd, and his Chiefs offense was 24th. The 2009 and 2010 Browns were 32nd and 29th in passing, eighth and 20th in rushing; the 2011 Dolphins were 23rd in passing and 11th in rushing, and the 2012 Chiefs were 32nd in passing and fifth in rushing.
Nevertheless, Daboll, who played football at the University of Rochester, earned high praise from one of the players he coached in New England, former Patriots tight end Scott Chandler, who also played for the Bills.
"Daboll was one of the smartest coaches I was ever around," Chandler tweeted Sunday. "Great hire by the @buffalobills."
— Scott Chandler (@scottchandler84) January 14, 2018
Daboll also received compliments for his work as the Patriots' tight ends coach during the team's Super Bowl run in 2014. One of the players he guided was Western New York native Rob Gronkowski.
"I think Brian's really pushed him to do things this year at a higher level than he's done them before just because he has more experience," coach Bill Belichick was quoted as saying in The Buffalo News before the Patriots' victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix. "He has more of background, a better understanding of a lot of little things."
"He did a phenomenal job with those guys," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said at the time.
Daboll also drew praise from another coaching icon, Alabama coach Nick Saban, for whom he also worked as a graduate assistant at Michigan State.
"Brian did a tremendous job for us this past season at Alabama, and I know he will do a great job for the Buffalo Bills," Saban said in a statement. "He is an outstanding coach and coordinator who put us in position to be successful each week. We appreciate all that he did in terms of his time and his dedication in contributing to the success we had this season. We wish Brian, his wife Beth, and their entire family all the best."
Before Super Bowl XLIX, Daboll said working for Belichick had done the most to shape him as a coach.
"He's been more influential to me than anybody in this business," Daboll told The News. "You're always learning from Bill. I feel fortunate to work for the man. The older you get in this business, the more you appreciate it."