fbpx
NCAANFL

Dennis Green, A Hurricane Of Football Funk, Blazed A Trail For Others 

Earlier this afternoon, the NFL Today pregame show on CBS ran special Thanksgiving Day feature on the late head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, Dennis Green.  In July, the National Football League lost a beloved friend when Green passed away from cardiac arrest at the age of 67.  From 1992-2001 Green led the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons at the helm. Some remember him for his fiery press conference while coaching Arizona, most think of him as a pioneer.  But viewers learned that Dennis Green should be acknowledged for so much more — especially this time of the year. 

In his honor, we’re re-windind J.R. Gamble’s Shadow League column that was published in July, as we paid homage to Green’s legacy.

***

When pioneers pass away, they take a piece of history with them. We lose something, but it’s hard to express exactly what it is. You just know that an integral part of something you truly love is gone.

Legendary NFL coach Dennis Green died suddenly on Thursday evening of a heart attack. The 67 year old was one of the first African-American head coaches in the NFL, and although he never won a Super Bowl, he helped revolutionize the game, proved his ability to lead men and execute with intelligence from his days as head coach at Stanford University to his glory years leading the Minnesota Vikings rebirth in the 1990’s.

Image title

                                    (Photo Credit: nfl.com)

For a guy whose father and mother died when he was 11 and 13 respectively, just being able to survive was an accomplishment. Green didnt stop at survival, he went on to become one of the best football coaches that ever lived.

After several years of gaining experience with different major colleges as an assistant, Green got his first head coaching job in 1981 at Northwestern University, a school that had lost 31 of its last 33 games. He helped shake Northwesterns losing culture and broke the conference’s coaching color barrier. Green was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 1982.

Crushing stereotypes and busting through barriers like a fullback leading an old school, Power-I rushing play, was the basics for Green. He was an innovator, a players coach and only the second African-American head coach in Division I-A history.

In 1992, hed become the second African American head coach after Art Shell in the modern NFL era, and only the third of all-time (Fritz Pollard was the first). He immediately showed a profound coaching prowess and through his first six years as HC, Green never flexed a losing record and the Vikings missed the playoffs once. The NFL has seen a ton of coaches ride on its carousel since then and 90 percent haven’t experienced Green’s success.

“Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach,” the Vikings said in a statement. “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.”

Green was a member of the prolific coaching corps constructed by 49ers head coach Bill Walsh in the 1980’s. It was a group that has produced a number of high-profile NFL coaches, game shapers and changers, including George Seifert and Mike Holmgren.

Image title

                                        (Photo Credit: 49ers.com)

He also had a successful career as an NFL analyst, lending his keen insight, emotion and professional credibility.  

In his 13 years as an NFL head coach, Green compiled a 113-94 record with the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. In 1998, he had his defining season as a coach, as his multi-talented Vikings squad went 15-1 in the regular season and broke the record for most points scored in one campaign.

Unfortunately they lost in the NFC Championship Game, but the standard of Vikings excellence was set and the franchise hasnt come close to matching the success of Greens tenure to this day.

The Harrisburg, Pa. native was a leader of men; a throwback who often wore his emotions on his sleeve, was no nonsense, but was also a comedian at times, who understood the value in being humble and laid back. He was a strategist as well as an inspiration to his players.

Oakland  Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio played for Green on those legendary Vikings teams led by quarterback Randall Cunningham and wide receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. That aerially-gifted machine made the NFC Championship Game in both 1998 and 2000.

Dennis Green created an outstanding environment for his players and I was privileged to spend four great years under his guidance in Minnesota, said Del Rio, in a statement. He was a real trailblazer and his impact on the game continues to live through the many successful coaches that he mentored. One of his phrases, or Denny-isms as we call them, is Were going to plan our work and work our plan. I still use that Denny-ism today. Coach Green is going to be missed dearly by everyone that was lucky enough to know him.                                 

Image title

                                          (Photo Credit: dailynews.com)

C.C. joined Colin Cowherd Friday to discuss his late coach, and the impact he had on both football and Carter himself.

He started the three-receiver offense and I became the first big, slot receiver, said the prolific pass-snatcher. He also developed me as a man and challenged me as a leader and gave me a great deal of responsibility and no one took more second chances on human beings than Dennis Green…He was all about that.

Its Greens handling of men that distinguished him more than anything else. His understanding of the culture and the players and beyond money, fame and a starting position, what they really needed to flourish in life.

Carter says he was a true father figure.

If you look at a lot of the players who had success with him, they’re guys that didn’t have father figures. Myself and Randy Moss were the biggest examples of that, Carter told Cowherd.

I was able to talk to him, about the things I was going through as a man. I’d say definitely a father figure but also as an African-American, he really pushed the African-American players to fulfill their roles, not only as fathers, but in society. To have a voice, make your life mean something. He grew up in an era where Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, all the greats at the time, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Jim Brown, those are the guys that had an influence on him. So privately that influence was put on me.

The lasting impact Green has on the game as a winning minority coach is far-reaching. You can see some of Green in every African-American coach today.  Mike Tomlin has his fire and controlled aggression. Lovie Smith has Greens silent confidence. Todd Bowles has his intellectual approach to the game and understanding of defenses.  

Overall, Green has a coaching lineage as impressive as anyones. Super Bowl winning coaches Brian Billick, Baltimore Ravens (19992007) and Dungy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19962001), Indianapolis Colts (20022008), as well as Mike Tice, Minnesota Vikings (20012005) were all assistants under Green who became head coaches.

With the recent attention being paid to the NFLs lack of diversity in the hiring of head coaches, Greens illustrious career should be used as an example of what a Black coach can achieve when given the opportunity and a blueprint for any man longing to assume the fragile, overwhelming and burdensome job of NFL HC.

Green’s 1998 season was the most successful season ever recorded by an African-American coach in the NFL before Tony Dungy stole his thunder and a Super Bowl ring with Peyton Manning.

He tied his career with an immortal bow, the perfect coaches rant and an unforgettable representation of his passion for the game on Monday Night Football in a crucial contest against the Chicago Bears on October 16, 2006. After losing a 20-point lead to the Chicago Bears in less than twenty minutes, Green spit his most memorable 16 bars of fury at reporters and dropped the mic and passionately exited the pro game that season like the hurricane of football funk that he was.   

Tags

Related Articles

40 Comments

  1. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have performed a formidable job and our whole neighborhood can be grateful to you.

  2. Hi there, simply was alert to your blog via Google, and located that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you happen to continue this in future. Lots of other people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  3. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  4. What i do not realize is in reality how you are now not really much more well-preferred than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You already know therefore considerably in terms of this topic, produced me individually consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated except it is one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs great. Always deal with it up!

  5. Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  6. I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me understand in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  7. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  8. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  9. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, awesome blog!

  10. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Cheers

  12. I will immediately take hold of your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please permit me recognise in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  13. I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  14. You could definitely see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  15. That is very interesting, You’re an overly professional blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking extra of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  16. hey there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this web site, since I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

  17. Great – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task.

  18. Hello, you used to write magnificent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring?K I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  19. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What a great website.

  20. After study just a few of the weblog posts in your website now, and I really like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site checklist and will probably be checking back soon. Pls take a look at my site as properly and let me know what you think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Close