HE WAS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS – ASE’ DENNIS GREEN

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Updated: July 22, 2016

 

 

 

ASE’ DENNIS GREEN

By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief

BASN

 

 

PHILADELPHIA (BASN) Dennis Green, the most successful head coach in the history of the Minnesota Vikings passed away due to cardiac arrest. A trailblazer in becoming the second Black head coach in the NFL, Green complied a 97-62 record while in Minnesota, and his Vikings made the post-season in eight of the ten years he coached, winning the NFC Central (now NFC North) title four times.

 

Green was upfront and real. I had the pleasure to interview him on a couple of occasions, and what I really appreciated about him was that he hated stupid questions and wouldn’t tolerate them, which led to a prickly situation with some beat writers back in Minnesota. He didn’t have a filter with those he was comfortable with; he loved jazz and funk – and was a pretty decent drummer by all accounts.

 

From being set up to fail with a miserable Northwestern team as his first coaching opportunity in 1981, Green coached them beyond expectations and earned Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1982. Green would remain as head man there until 1985 before being offered the chance to coach in the Pac 10 Conference at Stanford in 1989. His success at Stanford propelled his hire to coach the Vikes after the underwhelming Jerry Burns was let go…

 

He made the Vikings a legitimate closer during his tenure there, always peaking when the weather got cold. Minnesota’s stretch runs during December while Green had the headset on meant everyone else in the NFC Central had to watch out.

 

Green was knocking on the door of history in 1998 at the NFC Conference Championship when his Vikings, led QB Randall Cunningham, an electric rookie in WR Randy Moss and one of the most lethal offenses of all time lost a heartbreaker 30-27 to the Atlanta Falcons as placekicker Gary Anderson missed an indoor chip shot – the only field goal attempt he would miss all season.

 

After success bred contempt among some key dispshits in Minny media, Green departed after a 5-10 season and took off a couple seasons before accepting the head coach in Arizona, where he had the misfortune of his Cardinals jumping all over the Chicago Bears on a Monday Night Football game on October 16, 2006 – only to lose 24-20 after blanking them for three quarters, leading to the infamous “they are who we thought they were” press conference. Ironically, most mentions of Green always fall back to this instead of the 15-1 Minnesota team; and in my opinion, not because the sound bite was iconic as much as it presented an image of Green failing. An unfair image, for sure – but in this ESPN era of garbage, this is the shit that they do…

 

He finished with a 16-32 record with the Cardinals (113-94 overall) in 2006 and left coaching for good in 2011 after three years in the United Football League…

 

 

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Also forgotten is how Green was also influential in coaches Brian Billick and Tony Dungy preparing and ascending to the League’s Championship and winning Super Bowls (with Indianapolis and Baltimore) respectively.

 

 

The Vikings presented the following statement:

 

“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.”

 

In the midst of everyday life, we are confronted with constantly changing priorities based our own personal situations.

 

We try to be aware, but most times we’re on cruise control when things are going well. Then the bomb drops.

 

What matters most is in making the best out of every day – because we never know which one will be the last; and even though it has been years since I had the pleasure, I can smile when I hear the phrase from that press conference because

 

Dennis Green was who he knew he was.

 

Ase’.

 

michaelingram@blackathlete.com

 

Copyright(C) 2016 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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