Media-savvy Mooch a natural for NFL Network

With his photogenic looks, natural charisma, smooth delivery and obvious passion for the game, Steve Mariucci always gave the impression while he was head coach of the 49ers from 1997-2002 that he'd be a perfect candidate to talk about football in front of network television cameras if the coaching thing didn't quite work out.

The coaching thing didn't quite work out – Mooch was fired by the 49ers after the 2002 season and didn't even make it halfway through the lucrative five-year, $25 million deal he signed in 2003 to coach the Detroit Lions – so now Mariucci has joined the NFL Network as an analyst.

After he was canned by the Lions last November, Mariucci – a 28-year coaching veteran – served as an analyst for the NFL Total Access Super Bowl XL pregame show in Detroit. In his new role, he will offer insight, analysis and a look inside the Xs-and-Os on NFL Total Access and the new NFL GameDay 90-minute wrap-up show each NFL Sunday.

Mariucci will also appear on NFL Total Access each Monday night of the regular season, on the pregame show for each of NFL Network's eight games in the "Run Up to the Playoffs" package, and at numerous other events including Hall of Fame weekend, playoff games, Super Bowl XLI and the 2007 Scouting Combine.

"Steve brings to NFL Network the animated, conversant style he brought to NFL Films coverage of his teams each week," said NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein. "We hope the studio is big enough to contain his enthusiasm."

In nine seasons as a NFL head coach, Mariucci posted a 75-71 record. With the 49ers, Mariucci went 60-43 – including a 3-4 mark in the playoffs – while producing four winning seasons in his six years with the team. He began and ended his stay in San Francisco by leading the 49ers to their last two NFC West championships (1997, 2002) and he took the Niners to their last NFC championship game following the 1997 season.

Inheriting a team in the twilight of a two-decade dynasty, Mariucci's first season with the 49ers was his best. He became one of 13 head coaches since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to lead his team to a division title in his first season. Mariucci established a NFL mark for consecutive wins by a rookie head coach that season with an 11-game winning streak.

But things did not go nearly as well in Detroit, where he compiled a 15-28 record before the Lions fired him on Nov. 28, four days after Detroit's listless 27-7 loss on national television on Thanksgiving Day to the Atlanta Falcons.

Before joining the 49ers, Mariucci had his first taste of head coaching in 1996 during a one-year stint at nearby Cal, where he caught the attention of then-49ers president Carmen Policy, who later hired him in early 1997 to succeed George Seifert – who left the team with the highest winning percentage of any head coach in NFL history.

Previously, Mariucci was quarterbacks coach with the Green Bay Packers from 1992-95, the first four years in Brett Favre's Packers career. Favre threw for 14,825 yards and 108 touchdowns in those four seasons, earning 1995 AP NFL MVP honors and leading the Packers to the 1995 NFC Championship Game. Prior to his Packers tenure, Mariucci spent 10 years as an assistant coach on the college and professional levels.

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