This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
The NFL, and the football world as a whole, mourns the passing of coaching icon Dan Reeves.
Many people woke up on New Year’s Day to the sad news that former NFL head coach Dan Reeves died at the age of 77 in his home in Atlanta.
Reeves had struggled with dementia and had been out of the public spotlight for years. However, he leaves behind an incredible football legacy. From his days as a three-sport athlete in Americus, Georgia, to playing quarterback for the South Carolina Gamecocks, to playing running back for Tom Landry at the Dallas Cowboys, Reeves is best remembered for being the head coach.
Reeves served as an assistant under Landry before taking over the Denver Broncos in 1981. With John Elway as his star quarterback, the Broncos reached three Super Bowls under his wing. After being released in Denver, he took over the New York Giants and led them to the playoffs in 1993. Then, the native of Georgia returned home to help turn the Atlanta Falcons into something.
The Falcons reached the NFC Finals twice under his leadership. This included the unforgettable race to the 1998 Super Bowl with the original Dirty Birds. Four years later, the Falcons became the first team in NFL history to beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in a playoff game, thanks in large part to one of the greatest games in Michael Vick’s NFL career. He was fired only a year later.
Reeves went 190-165-2 in his coaching career, taking four different teams to the Super Bowl and nine in total, surpassed only by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
The NFL world is mourning the passing of head coach icon Dan Reeves
All five teams closely linked to Reeves sent heartfelt messages about their former player and head coach.
“Reeves coached the Broncos with integrity, character and toughness along with the sincere appreciation of his players and coaches. His time with the Broncos was part of a remarkable 39-year career in professional football, appearing in the Super Bowl nine times as a player or coach.” – Denver Broncos organization.
“Dan Reeves had a legendary NFL career as both a player and a coach. He left an indelible mark on the league and all the people he played with, trained and worked with. He was one of the best men I have ever been near in this industry. Our deepest condolences to Pam and the entire Reeves family. “- John Mara, President of the New York Giants.
“Dan Reeves leaves a lasting legacy in our game as a player and coach. His track record of success in Dallas, Denver, New York and Atlanta over decades speaks for itself and marks a long and successful life and career in football. On behalf of the Atlanta Falcons, I extend our condolences to Dan’s family and friends as they mourn his passing. “- Arthur M. Blank, Atlanta Falcons Owner and Chairman.
Not only did Reeves leave an indelible impact on the four organizations he coached, but he made the players he led better. Whether it was Elway, Vick, former Falcons kicker Jay Feely, former Giants quarterback Danny Kanell or his nephew, New England Patriots center David Andrews, his legacy will continue with those he helped teach football and how to play it with the class. .
Although it’s been almost 20 years since Reeves last coached the Falcons, his untimely passing can serve as a reminder of how truly underrated a head coach he was. Reeves should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No one has ever had a bad thing to say about Coach Reeves. He will be missed.