For Pete's sake
Catching up with Pete Cronan
FRAMINGHAM -- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs thought so highly of Pete Cronan that he mentioned the Boston College standout in his induction speech into the pro football Hall of Fame. There is no doubt Cronan was a favorite of Gibbs, but more importantly, Cronan was respected by Gibbs.
"I was sitting in a Chicago hotel room and I was watching Greg Gumbel interview Joe Gibbs," said Cronan. "He asked Joe, 'Who was the greatest player you ever coached?' His response was 'It would be unfair to single out any one player because I have coached a lot of great ones. I will tell you my favorite player I ever coached was Pete Cronan.' I was invited to Joe's Hall of Fame induction, but I had a family wedding so I couldn't attend. It's funny because people came out of the bar saying we just saw Joe Gibbs mention your name."
Cronan, who played his high school football at Marian High School (Framingham) and his college football at Boston College, enjoyed a nine-year NFL career playing with the Seattle Seahawks in the late 1970s and finishing up his career with the Redskins under Gibbs.
It was with the Redskins where Cronan had the opportunity to play in two Super Bowls: Super Bowl XVII, where the Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins, 27-17, and Super Bowl XVIII the following year, where Washington fell 38-8 to the Los Angeles Raiders. "It was a very unique experience in that was surreal," Cronan said. "You had to enjoy it while it was happening, but you couldn't lose focus because there was still work to be done."
"We played much like (the Patriots) do now. Frankly, (Bill) Belichick has done nothing more then take Gibbs' formula for success and modernized it and embellished it. Fundamentally it's the same concept and we had a string where we always knew somebody was going to make a play. We always seemed to do that."
These days, Cronan resides in Hopkinton with his wife Debbie, their two daughters Allyson and Ashley, and son Nicholas. "My wife is from Watertown and I am from Framingham," said Conan. "We consciously made an effort to give our kids relationships with extended family. [After moving to Seattle when being drafted by the Seahawks,] we decided to relocate and re-establish our roots in the Greater Boston area. The kids have strong deep relationships with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles."
Cronan is currently an executive at the Merrill Corporation, a financial printer in Boston. "I'm responsible for all the sites in the east region, including Boston," said Cronan. "I've always wanted to coach and arrived here five years ago. I find myself in that role enabling people to succeed. I take a great deal of satisfaction watching people who I help succeed."
In addition, Cronan has been a member of the Boston College football radio-broadcast team for the past 17 seasons. Currently, he's teamed up with John Rooke to call the games on the radio (WEEI 850 AM). Since 1987, Cronan has worked with broadcasters Sean Grande, Dick Lutsk, and Sean McDonough.
"If I got out of the game I just couldn't live without it," said Cronan. "I got an opportunity my first year out of football to broadcast which allowed me to stay around the game -- to see the sights, to smell the smells, and to hear the sounds. I was a part of it without worrying about the wins and losses and getting hurt. The broadcasting filled a huge void."
Cronan, who played with Boston College from 1973-76, enjoyed a stellar career with the Eagles. He played defensive tackle and linebacker earning All-ECAC honors in 1975 and 1976. He was the ECAC Player of the Year in 1976.
For his achievements, Cronan was inducted into Boston College's Varsity Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. "I think the whole relationship with B.C. was a wonderful one for me," said Cronan, who was heavily recruited by BC, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. "I take a great deal of pride in the place."
After Boston College, he was drafted in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks and played with the them from 1977-79 and 1981. He then played for the Redskins from 1981-85 and served as the special teams captain in 1982.
"Playing nine years is quite an accomplishment," said Cronan. "When I was a rookie in Seattle we had 12 rookies and when the dust settled I was the only one left. I was the only one to play on a Super Bowl team and the only one that was voted team captain of a Super Bowl team."