1982 Paw Paw Graduate Has a Super Bowl Ring and an Amazing Story
John Bonamego played quarterback at CMU and was on the coaching staff of the champion LA Rams. He got there by way of the Detroit Lions and Paw Paw Redskins.
By now, everyone knows the Los Angeles Rams won the thrilling Super Bowl XVI and longsuffering Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finally got a championship ring with his new team. Did you know the Michigan connection goes deeper? John Bonamego, a member of the special teams coaching staff for the Rams, is a 1982 Paw Paw High School graduate who also did time with the Lions.
Everyone in the Paw Paw Now and Then Facebook group had nothing but congratulations and well-wishes for Bonamego, with some remembering playing alongside him in a Redskins uniform. (This would have been long before they retired the problematic moniker in March of 2020 and rebranded as Red Wolves in June.) Others talked about how hardworking and deserving he was of the Super Bowl victory.
The biggest victory of his life may have been surviving cancer. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015, it was caught early and successfully treated. That was the year he was hired by his college alma mater, Central Michigan University, to be their head coach. He would be fired just 3 years later after the team's worst season in history, but better things were to come, as we know.
Let's take a look at the remarkable career of John Bonamego that started in Paw Paw and ended in a world championship Super Bowl ring.
- 1982: Bonamego graduates from Paw Paw High School where he played football
- 1982-1987: Wide receiver and quarterback for Central Michigan University
- 1987: His first job in coaching was at Mount Pleasant High School
- 1988-1998: Bonamego was an assistant college football coach for these 10 years
- 1999: Hired for his first NFL job, Bonamego was an assistant special teams coach before being promoted to special teams coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars
- 2003: Mike Sherman brought Bonamego to Green Bay as special teams coordinator for the Packers
- 2006: Bonamego begins to define himself with a very successful stint with the New Orleans Saints. he would return to the team in 2011
- 2008: Two seasons with the Miami Dolphins as special teams coordinator
- 2013: Bonamego was special teams coordinator for the Detroit Lions for 2 years, and would return to the team under Matt Patricia in 2019
- 2015: Bonamego went back to college football and back to his roots as Central Michigan University hired the former player to become head coach of the Chips. He was fired 3 years later after the team's worst season in history
- 2020: The LA Rams hired Bonamego as their special teams coach after a year in Detroit, and he was later shifted to senior coaching assistant
Learn more about John Bonamego's biggest win- his battle with cancer, in the Los Angeles Rams' video profile below.
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