Ryan Paganetti ’14 grew up a fan of the New England Patriots and their coach, Bill Belichick. The hooded one inspired Paganetti, a young running back, in football as well as school. “My first real curiosity about economics came when I learned he was an economics major,” Paganetti says. Injuries curtailed his college football career but allowed him to coach at his Bedford, Massachusetts, high school during his last two years at Dartmouth.
These days, armed with his econ degree, Paganetti serves as a defensive quality control/assistant linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Older brother and fellow assistant T.J. preceded him to the team and helped him land an internship in 2015. During games Paganetti gets in coach Doug Pederson’s ear—from the press box—using analytics to help make crucial decisions, especially on offensive fourth downs and conversions after touchdowns. Those days typically begin with a workout and a brief review of paperwork. “So much of the NFL is about your preparation, and our game plans and strategies are finalized before game day,” says Paganetti. “Game day is actually the easiest day of the week for me.”
The rest of the week is a grind, with days running from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. His schedule is filled with meetings, practices, and assignments, all tied to strict deadlines. Days off are nonexistent, but the payoff was glorious last season. “I realized I ended up working 200 days consecutively from the start of the season to the Super Bowl,” Paganetti says. “It was an incredible moment to win the Super Bowl, especially with my brother. The unbelievable atmosphere at the parade, with millions of fans lining the streets, is something I will never forget.”
Illustration by Robert Neubecker