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Tom Pratt
Pass Rush Specialist
College:
Miami, FL
Hometown:
Beloit, WI
Experience:
39

Biography

Veteran assistant coach Tom Pratt enters his fifth season with the Cardinals as pass rush specialist and 39th season in the NFL after joining the team on 2/5/13. Only Tennessee’s Dick LeBeau (45th season) has more experience among active NFL coaches. After starting as a coach at his alma mater, the University of Miami, in 1957, Pratt enters his 46th season as an assistant coach in 2017.

Pratt, who began his professional coaching career with Kansas City in 1963, helped the Chiefs win AFL championships in 1966 and 1969 and reach Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV. He has coached four players who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Buck Buchanan, Derrick Thomas, Curley Culp and Warren Sapp). He is also the only current coach in the league to own the distinction of coaching in the NFL in six different decades – ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and ‘10s and is the only active NFL assistant to have coached in the American Football League.

Veteran assistant coach Tom Pratt enters his fifth season with the Cardinals as pass rush specialist and 39th season in the NFL after joining the team on 2/5/13. Only Tennessee’s Dick LeBeau (45th season) has more experience among active NFL coaches. After starting as a coach at his alma mater, the University of Miami, in 1957, Pratt enters his 46th season as an assistant coach in 2017.

Pratt, who began his professional coaching career with Kansas City in 1963, helped the Chiefs win AFL championships in 1966 and 1969 and reach Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV. He has coached four players who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Buck Buchanan, Derrick Thomas, Curley Culp and Warren Sapp). He is also the only current coach in the league to own the distinction of coaching in the NFL in six different decades – ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and ‘10s and is the only active NFL assistant to have coached in the American Football League.

Arizona led the NFL with 48 sacks in 2016, the third-highest total in team history. The Cardinals also finished with the NFL’s #2 ranked defense, marking the second straight season the team had a top-five defense in the league. It is the team’s highest defensive raking in franchise history. LB’s Markus Golden (12.5) and Chandler Jones (11) each had double-digit sacks, marking just the third time in team history (1983-84) the Cardinals had multiple players with double-digit sacks in a season. Golden’s 12.5 are the most in team history by a linebacker. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell led the defensive line with eight sacks, his team-record seventh career season with at least six sacks.

In 2015, Campbell was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl after leading the defensive line and finishing second on the team with five sacks. Pratt also worked with LB Dwight Freeney, who had nearly as many sacks in 11 games with the Cardinals in 2015 (8.0) as he had in his previous three seasons combined (9.0). As a unit, the Cardinals finished the year with the #5 ranked defense in the NFL. Arizona also ranked second in the NFL with 33 total takeaways and tied Kansas City for the league lead with six defensive TDs.

In 2014, Arizona’s defense allowed just 18.7 points per game, the fifth-lowest average in the league, while allowing 20 points or fewer in an NFL-high 13 games. The defense allowed just 299 points, the first time the team has allowed fewer than 300 points in a season since 1994 (267). During Pratt’s first season in Arizona in 2013, the Cardinals finished as the NFL’s sixth-ranked overall defense and featured the league’s top-ranked run defense (84.4 yards per game). They allowed the fewest rushing yards in team history for a 16-game season (1,351) and collected 47 sacks. Campbell had a career-high nine sacks and joined defensive tackle Darnell Dockett as Pro Bowl alternates.

Pratt returned to coaching in 2013 after spending the previous three years as a defensive coordinator consultant with IMG Academies in Florida, helping to train draft eligible players for the NFL. Prior to joining the Cardinals, his last job in the NFL was the assistant defensive line coach with the Chiefs in 2000, helping out while defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz was being treated for cancer. That was Pratt’s third different stint with Kansas City (1963-77, 1989-94 and 2000).

During his first stop with the Chiefs (1963-77), Pratt coached some of the finest defensive performers to ever wear a Kansas City uniform. In the 1960s, when he served as an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, the Chiefs defensive front helped the club win its lone World Championship in 1969 with a 23-7 victory over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.

Hall of Fame DT’s Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp combined with DE’s Jerry Mays and Aaron Brown to form arguably the finest defensive line in the AFL’s 10-year history. Buchanan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, and Culp was selected as a member of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

After his initial 15-year stay in Kansas City, Pratt coached the defensive line with the New Orleans Saints (1978-80) and Cleveland Browns (1981-88) before returning to the Chiefs for six seasons (1989-94) under Marty Schottenheimer. While in Cleveland, he worked with DT Bob Golic, who was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (1985-87), and DE Reggie Camp, who had 14 sacks in 1984 and accumulated 29.5 sacks from 1984-86.

In his second stint with the Chiefs as defensive line coach (1989-94), Pratt tutored the late Derrick Thomas, a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee. Even though Thomas was listed as a linebacker, he played the Chiefs “rushbacker” position in 1993 and worked with Pratt on the defensive line. Thomas made his fifth straight Pro Bowl appearance that season as Kansas City advanced to the AFC Championship Game. DE Neil Smith also flourished under Pratt, recording four straight Pro Bowl berths (1991-94) under his guidance, while DT Dan Saleaumua earned first-team Pro Football Weekly All-Pro honors in 1990.

Pratt spent the 1995 season as defensive line coach with Tampa Bay, tutoring Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp in his rookie season, before coaching at the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1997. He then spent two years (1998-99) as a football ambassador in Osaka, Japan for the Asahi Challengers in the Japanese Company League of American football. He returned to work with the Challengers for the 2000 season as they won the Japanese Super Bowl. He also served as a consultant at Kyoto University in Japan from 2002-04.  

He played linebacker collegiately at the University of Miami from 1953-56. Pratt earned All-American honors in 1956 and was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. After graduating from Miami in 1957 with a degree in Education, he stayed at his alma mater as an assistant for four years (1957-60) and worked with Stram, who was an assistant at Miami beginning in 1958. He then coached at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1961-62 before joining Stram’s staff in Kansas City in 1963. The 1962 Golden Eagles were the UPI small college division National Champions after finishing the season with a 9-1 record.

Pratt and his wife, Hope, have three children, daughters Kendra and Shana, and son Tyler, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Tom Pratt Coaching Breakdown

Year              School/Team                                 Position

1957–60        University of Miami                         Guards/Defensive Tackles

1961–62        Southern Mississippi                       Defensive Coordinator/Offensive Line

1963–77        Kansas City Chiefs                         Defensive Line

1978–80        New Orleans Saints                        Defensive Line

1981–88        Cleveland Browns                           Defensive Line

1989–94        Kansas City Chiefs                         Defensive Line

1995              Tampa Bay Buccaneers                  Defensive Line

1997              U.S. Coast Guard Academy            Defensive Coordinator

1998–99        Asahi Challengers (Japan)              Consultant

2000              Kansas City Chiefs                         Assistant Defensive Line

2000–01        Asahi Challengers (Japan)              Consultant

2002–04        Kyoto University (Japan)                 Consultant

2013            ARIZONA CARDINALS                  Pass Rush Specialist

Photos

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    LB Zaviar Gooden holds on
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    S Tyrann Mathieu picks off the pass intended for Bears WR Cameron Meredith<br />
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    S Tyrann Mathieu fires up the crowd
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    TE Troy Niklas tries to catch Deonte Thompson
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    S Tyrann Mathieu

Recent Articles

Recent Videos

  • NFL Films Presents: Tom Pratt

    Posted Jan 5, 2015

    NFL Films follows pass rush specialist Tom Pratt who is in his 36th season as an NFL assistant coach. Pratt's legacy started in Kansas City when he was an assitant during the first Super Bowl.