Matt Cavanaugh

American football player and coach (born 1956)

American football player
Matt Cavanaugh
refer to caption
Cavanaugh in 2015
No. 12, 6
Personal information
Born: (1956-10-27) October 27, 1956 (age 67)
Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school:Chaney (Youngstown)
NFL draft:1978 / Round: 2 / Pick: 50
Career history
As a player:
  • New England Patriots (1978–1982)
  • San Francisco 49ers (1983–1985)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1986–1989)
  • New York Giants (1990–1991)
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player
As coach
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:4,332
Passer rating:71.7
Games played:112
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Matthew Andrew Cavanaugh (born October 27, 1956) is an American former professional football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a quarterback, winning two Super Bowl titles. He played college football for the Pittsburgh Panthers.

After retiring from playing following the 1991 season, Cavanaugh worked as an offensive coach and offensive coordinator for teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens (where he earned a third ring as a coach), Washington Redskins, and New York Jets.


Early career

Cavanaugh was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and attended Chaney High School. He was a football standout and went on to the University of Pittsburgh after graduating. In 1976, he was the starting quarterback for the undefeated Pittsburgh Panthers (he was on the same team with Tony Dorsett) and contributed to the team's National Championship 27–3 victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. On that day, Cavanaugh was selected as the Sugar Bowl's Most Valuable Player.[1]

Cavanaugh was also named MVP of the 1977 Gator Bowl, throwing four touchdown passes in a 34–3 win over Clemson.

In 1977, Cavanaugh threw for 1,844 yards with 15 touchdowns against six interceptions. Cavanaugh threw for the second-most passing yards in Pittsburgh history, only trailing quarterback Ken Lucas's 1,921 yards in 1965.[2]

Playing career

Cavanaugh was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 1978 NFL draft, but spent much of his career as a backup.[3] His professional playing career included stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. Cavanaugh was the backup quarterback in both the 1984 Super Bowl XIX and the 1990 Super Bowl XXV to Joe Montana and Jeff Hostetler, respectively. Cavanaugh retired as a professional player following the 1991 season, appearing in 112 games with 19 starts, completing 305 of 579 passes for 4,332 yards, 28 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a 71.7 passer rating.[3]

Coaching career

Following his retirement, he has served in the following positions: chief recruiter and offensive coach, University of Pittsburgh (1992–1993); offensive coach, Arizona Cardinals (1994–1995); offensive coach, San Francisco 49ers (1996); offensive coordinator, Chicago Bears (1997–1998); and offensive coordinator, Baltimore Ravens (1999–2004), winning Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens in 2000.[3] Cavanaugh served as offensive coordinator for his old college team, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, until 2008 when he accepted a position as an assistant coach and quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets. He would remain with the Jets until 2012.

On January 18, 2013, it was announced that Bears head coach Marc Trestman has hired Cavanaugh as the quarterbacks coach, replacing Jeremy Bates.[4]

On January 28, 2015, Cavanaugh became the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins. On January 23, 2017, Cavanaugh was promoted to offensive coordinator of the Redskins, replacing Sean McVay, who became the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. On January 29, 2019, Cavanaugh was demoted to senior offensive assistant of the Redskins.[5]

On August 25, 2021, Cavanaugh was hired by the New York Jets as a senior offensive assistant.[6]


  1. ^ Livingston, Pat (August 17, 1977). "Cavanaugh's Heisman Bid Up in the Air". Pittsburgh Press. p. C-24. Retrieved September 20, 2016 – via Google News.
  2. ^ Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine [bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ a b c Mayer, Larry (July 9, 2013). "Cavanaugh driven by will to win Super Bowl". Chicago Bears. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  4. ^ Mayer, Larry (January 1, 2013). "Bears hire assistant coaches Cavanaugh, Peete". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  5. ^ "Kevin O'Connell - Los Angeles Rams - NFL".
  6. ^ Wells, MacGregor (August 25, 2021). "Jets Hire Matt Cavanaugh As Senior Offensive Assistant". Gang Green Nation. Retrieved October 9, 2023.

External links

  • Washington Redskins bio
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Pittsburgh Panthers starting quarterbacks
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New England Patriots 1978 NFL draft selections
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New England Patriots starting quarterbacks
Formerly the Boston Patriots (1960–1970)
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San Francisco 49ers starting quarterbacks
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Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterbacks
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1976 Pittsburgh Panthers football—consensus national champions
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San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XIX champions
Head coach
Bill Walsh
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New York Giants Super Bowl XXV champions
  • Personnel: Ronnie Barnes
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Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV champions