Former NFL Head Coach Dennis Green Passes Away at 67
Former NFL coach Dennis Green has passed away at the age of 67. He spent 10 years coaching the Minnesota Vikings and 3 years coaching the Arizona Cardinals. The cause of death was complications from cardiac arrest.
The Vikings released the following statement:
“We are incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green. Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach. He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Green family.”
Green became the 2nd African-American coach in league history following Art Shell. He led the Vikings to the playoffs 8 times in 10 years and accomplished doing so with a different quarterback nearly every season he coached the team. The 1998 Vikings were among the most exciting and dominant teams in NFL history going 15-1 while averaging 34.8 points per game. They were upset in overtime of the NFC Championship by the Atlanta Falcons.
Green’s Vikings also reached the NFC Championship in 2000, a game they lost to the New York Giants. He has the 2nd most wins and 2nd best winning percentage among coaches in Vikings’ history trailing only Bud Grant.
Green’s Move to Arizona
Green went on to coach the Cardinals from 2004-2006. Team President Michael Bidwell released the following statement:
“All of us at the Cardinals are incredibly saddened by the news of Dennis Green’s passing. Coach Green will rightly be remembered as a true innovator, leader and pioneer among football coaches. We express our deepest sympathy to his family and his many friends.”
Green did not enjoy the same success in Arizona that he had in Minnesota, but his time in the desert was memorable to pro football fans due to an angry rant on a Monday night. His Cardinals had dominated the highly-regarded Chicago Bears before an epic 4th quarter collapse. They blew a 20-point lead without the Bears scoring an offensive touchdown.
Green’s passion for football was evident after the game as he memorably and angrily stated, “The Bears are who we thought they were! That’s why we took the damn field! If you want to crown them then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook!”
Green’s NFL coaching record was 113-94 and his teams went 4-8 in the playoffs. He also coached at the college level leading Northwestern and Stanford. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1982.
Green also played college football as a running back for Iowa from 1968-1970.
(Dennis Green Passes Away)