Dan Reeves
Reeves in 2014
No. 30
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:(1944-01-19)January 19, 1944
Rome, Georgia
Died:January 1, 2022(2022-01-01) (aged 77)
Atlanta, Georgia
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Americus (Americus, Georgia)
College:South Carolina
Undrafted:1965
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player
As assistant coach
As head coach
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:1,990
Yards per carry:3.7
Rushing touchdowns:25
Receptions:129
Receiving yards:1,693
Receiving touchdowns:17
Head coaching record
Regular season:190–165–2
Postseason:11–9
Career:201–174–2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Daniel Edward Reeves (January 19, 1944 – January 1, 2022) was an American football running back and coach in the National Football League (NFL). During his 38 years in the NFL, Reeves participated in nine Super Bowls, the third most for an individual. As a player, he spent the entirety of his eight-season career with the Dallas Cowboys, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1965. After retiring from playing, he served as an assistant coach with the Cowboys (1972, 1974–1980), and later as a head coach for 23 seasons, successively with the Denver Broncos (1981–1992), the New York Giants (1993–1996), and the Atlanta Falcons (1997–2003).

Reeves made his first two Super Bowl appearances during his playing career, winning one in Super Bowl VI. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for Cowboys, where he made three more championship appearances and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XII. As the head coach of the Broncos for twelve seasons, Reeves led the team to three championship appearances in Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXII, and Super Bowl XXIV, each of which ended in defeat. Following four seasons as the head coach of the New York Giants, Reeves served as the Falcons' head coach for seven seasons. With the Falcons, he led the franchise to their first championship appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII, where he was defeated by his former team, the Broncos. He was the third coach to ever lead two different teams to the Super Bowl, a feat matched by four other coaches.[1]

One of only nine NFL head coaches to win 200 career games, Reeves has the most playoff wins (eleven, tied with Marv Levy) and Super Bowl appearances (four, tied with Levy and Bud Grant) among NFL head coaches who have not won a championship. He also holds the head coaching record for most regular season losses in the NFL (165), tied with Jeff Fisher, although Reeves has a higher winning percentage. Reeves is one of only two eligible NFL head coaches with 200 career wins who have not been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was twice named AP NFL Coach of the Year, in 1993 with the Giants and in 1998 with the Falcons, He was inducted to the Broncos Ring of Fame in 2014.

Early years

Born in Rome, Georgia, Reeves grew up in Americus, Georgia. He attended Americus High School, where he participated in football, baseball, and basketball.[2]

After Reeves missed four games with a broken collarbone during his senior season, only the University of South Carolina was interested enough to offer him a football scholarship. The interest from other schools came later, when he won the MVP trophy at the Georgia High School football All-star game, but he decided to stay with his first choice. Reeves also was selected to the All-state basketball team in 1961.[3]

College career

Reeves played college football for the South Carolina Gamecocks, where he was a three-year starter at quarterback from 1962 to 1964. Reeves became the starting quarterback during his sophomore year in 1962 and was named second-team All-conference after his junior and senior years.[4][5]

Even though he only compiled an 8–21–4 (.303) record, Reeves ended his college career as the leading passer in Gamecock history, accumulating 2,561 yards passing, to go along with sixteen touchdowns and three games with 100 rushing yards.[6] Reeves also played for the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team.[7]

In 1977, Reeves was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.[8] In 2006, he was inducted into the State of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.[9]

Professional playing career

Although he went undrafted after graduation, Reeves received professional sports offers from the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League (NFL), the San Diego Chargers in the American Football League (AFL) and the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball. Reeves signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 1965 to play safety, but was later moved to halfback when a series of injuries depleted the team's depth during training camp.[10]

In 1966, Tom Landry, looking for more speed at running back, shifted All-Pro safety Mel Renfro to offense. Renfro was hurt in the opening game, against the New York Giants, and Reeves took advantage of his opportunity by having a breakout season, leading the team in rushing with 757 yards and scoring with 96 points, while finishing second in receiving with 557 yards.[11] His performance helped the Cowboys take some of the running load from fullback Don Perkins and reach their first championship game. Reeves set a franchise record with sixteen touchdowns (eight rushing and eight receiving), had over 1,300 all-purpose yards, was sixth in the NFL in rushing, first in touchdowns, and sixth in scoring.[12] He was also voted to The Sporting News All-Pro team at the end of the year.[13]

In 1967, Reeves posted back-to-back seasons with more than 600 rushing yards, ranking second on the team in rushing with 603 yards and third in receiving with 490 yards. In the week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons, he set a franchise record after scoring four touchdowns.[14] In the week 13 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Reeves scored touchdowns rushing, receiving, and passing in the same game.[15] He remained a starter until Week 4 of the 1968 season, when he tore ligaments in his left knee and was lost for the season.[16]

The injury ended up hampering Reeves for the remainder of his career and limiting his abilities. Head coach Tom Landry started playing him in spots and asked him to become a player-coach, while being passed on the depth chart by Calvin Hill and Duane Thomas. Reeves remained in that role for three years, until he retired as an active player to become a full-time assistant coach on February 22, 1972.[17][18]

Reeves played eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, collected 1,990 rushing yards, 1,693 receiving yards, and 42 touchdowns.[19] The Cowboys made the playoffs every year, reaching the Super Bowl twice and culminating in a 24–3 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI following the 1971 season. In Super Bowl V with the Cowboys and Colts tied at 13 in the last two minutes, he let a pass go through his hands that was intercepted, setting up the Colts in Dallas territory. The Colts won the game on a 32-yard field goal from Jim O'Brien with five seconds left. He threw a touchdown pass in the Cowboys' losing effort in the legendary subzero Ice Bowl against the Green Bay Packers for the 1967 NFL title.[20]

In 2010, Reeves was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.[21]

Coaching career

Reeves, a protégé of Tom Landry, became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he joined the Denver Broncos in 1981 as vice president and head coach. After acquiring quarterback John Elway in a trade, Reeves guided the Broncos to six post-season appearances, five divisional titles, three AFC championships, and three Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXII, and Super Bowl XXIV) during his twelve year tenure. He was the only AFC coach in the decade of the 1980s to lead his team to consecutive Super Bowl berths, and his Broncos appeared in the Super Bowl three times during a span of four years.[22] Reeves and Elway did not always see eye-to-eye, to the point where quarterback Tommy Maddox was drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the 1992 draft. This came off the heels of the 1991 season in which Reeves had fired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Shanahan for "insubordination", as Reeves felt that Shanahan was driving a wedge between him and Elway, who said in 1990 that his relationship with the head coach was "the worst."[23][24] Reeves was fired after the season[25] and replaced by his protégé and friend Wade Phillips, who was previously the Broncos' defensive coordinator.[26] Upon the death of Reeves in 2022, Elway stated that Reeves was a "winner" and said he owed a good deal of his career to Reeves.[27]

Reeves was hired as head coach by the New York Giants for the 1993 season. In his first season, he led the Giants to an 11–5 record and a berth in the playoffs. Reeves's 1993 season record is the best ever for a first-year Giants coach, and he was named the 1993 Associated Press Coach of the Year after helping them improve from a 6–10 record in 1992.[28] Reeves was fired after the Giants went 5–11 in 1995 and 6–10 in 1996.[29]

In 1997, Reeves was named the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Under his command the team, which had finished the 1996 campaign with a 3–13 record, steadily improved. After going 7–9 in his first season, the Falcons went 14–2 in 1998, going on to capture their first NFC championship. He became the third coach (after Bill Parcells and Chuck Knox) to lead three different franchises to the playoffs.[23] Reeves coached the Falcons to a 12–2 record before being hospitalized for the final two regular season games to undergo quadruple-bypass heart surgery in December. Reeves managed to return to the sidelines just three weeks later to lead the Falcons to victory in their first NFC Championship. During Super Bowl XXXIII, Reeves's Falcons were pitched against his former team, the defending champion Denver Broncos whose quarterback Elway was in his final season that had Shanahan as head coach. The Falcons lost, 34–19.[30] In the process, Reeves earned the NFL's top coaching awards as he was named the 1998 NFL Coach of the Year.[31] In 2003, after winning just three of the first thirteen games, Reeves asked to be released and the Falcons replaced him with Wade Phillips as interim coach for three games.[32]

In 2007, Reeves had an active role in the startup of Georgia State University's football program.[33] In January 2009, Reeves interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers for their offensive coordinator job.[34] After negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys, Reeves became a consultant for the team in February 2009. This role was short-lived, lasting two days before Reeves turned in the keys to his office and left. Reeves and the Cowboys could apparently not reach conclusions as to Reeves's role with the team. In the days following, it was revealed that the dispute came down to a contract clause specifying a number of hours per week to be worked, which Reeves deemed insulting.[34]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DEN 1981 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West
DEN 1982 2 7 0 .222 5th in AFC West
DEN 1983 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Seattle Seahawks in AFC Wild Card Game
DEN 1984 13 3 0 .813 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Divisional Game
DEN 1985 11 5 0 .688 2nd in AFC West
DEN 1986 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XXI
DEN 1987 10 4 1 .700 1st in AFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII
DEN 1988 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC West
DEN 1989 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV
DEN 1990 5 11 0 .313 5th in AFC West
DEN 1991 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Buffalo Bills in AFC Championship Game
DEN 1992 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West
DEN Total 110 73 1 .601 7 6 .538
NYG 1993 11 5 0 .688 2nd in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Divisional Game
NYG 1994 9 7 0 .563 2nd in NFC East
NYG 1995 5 11 0 .313 4th in NFC East
NYG 1996 6 10 0 .375 5th in NFC East
NYG Total 31 33 0 .484 1 1 .500
ATL 1997 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC West
ATL 1998 14 2 0 .875 1st in NFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII
ATL 1999 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC West
ATL 2000 4 12 0 .250 5th in NFC West
ATL 2001 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC West
ATL 2002 9 6 1 .594 2nd in NFC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Divisional Game
ATL 2003 3 10 0 .231 Fired mid-season
ATL Total 49 59 1 .454 3 2 .600
Total[35] 190 165 2 .535 11 9 .550

Broadcast career

Reeves covered NFL games as a color analyst (teamed with play-by-play man Bill Rosinski) for the second Sunday afternoon game on the Westwood One radio network.[36][37]

Personal life and death

Reeves was married to Pam Reeves, and had three children and six grandchildren.[38] Reeves and his future wife dated in high school, where she was a cheerleader.[2] While coaching for the Giants, Reeves and his wife were residents of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey.[39] He was a Christian.[40]

Reeves' nephew is David Andrews, who plays in the NFL.[41][42]

Reeves died from complications of dementia at his home in Atlanta on January 1, 2022, 18 days before his 78th birthday.[7]

Books

References

  1. ^ Banks, Don (January 25, 2016). "The six coaches who have led two different teams to Super Bowl - Sports Illustrated". Si.com. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Jones, Jamie. "Former NFL coach Dan Reeves speaks about ups, downs of marriage". Northwest Georgia News.
  3. ^ Gustafson, Ken (September 4, 2018). "Dan Reeves to be the honorary captain before Panthers' home game against Shaw". Americus Times-Recorder. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  4. ^ McLemore, Dwayne (January 1, 2022). "Dan Reeves, Gamecocks Hall of Fame QB and NFL coaching great, has died". The State. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  5. ^ "Dan Reeves - SC Football Hall of Fame | Become a life changer for our youth!". Scfootballhof.org. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "Two former Gamecocks nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame". September 14, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Newberry, Paul (January 1, 2022). "Former Broncos, Falcons, Giants coach Dan Reeves dies at 77". Associated Press. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  8. ^ "University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
  9. ^ "Gamecock great Dan Reeves passes away at age 77". WSPA. January 1, 2022.
  10. ^ McClary, Tara (October 15, 2019). "Guest Commentary: It's time for Dan Reeves to take his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". Denverpost.com. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  11. ^ "1966 Dallas Cowboys Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  12. ^ "1966 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  13. ^ "Green Bay, Dallas Dominate NFL All-Star Division Teams". Newspapers.com. December 25, 1966. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  14. ^ "Dan Reeves Having His Troubles This Season". Newspapers.com. November 6, 1967. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  15. ^ "Tough Cowboy Defense Shackles Eagles, 38-17". Newspapers.com. December 11, 1967. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  16. ^ "Dan Reeves, Spectator". Newspapers.com. December 1, 1968. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  17. ^ Netherland, Tom. "Dan Reeves in Bristol Jan. 31". HeraldCourier.com.
  18. ^ Wallace, William N. "Cards Get Anderson, Send Lane to Packers," The New York Times, Wednesday, February 23, 1972. Retrieved September 27, 2020
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "The Ice Bowl - Football History | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site".
  21. ^ Werner, John. "TEXAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME PROFILE: Former Cowboy Reeves found success as player, assistant and head coach". WacoTrib.com.
  22. ^ "MHR Radio: Why isn't Dan Reeves in the Hall of Fame?". February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  23. ^ a b Ira Miller, Chronicle Staff Writer (January 25, 1999). "BAD BLOOD / Reeves, Shanahan and Elway bring their respective feuds into Super Bowl mix". Sfgate.com. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  24. ^ "Denver Broncos: John Elway ribs team for drafting Tommy Maddox in 1992". Broncoswire.usatoday.com. April 24, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  25. ^ "Denver Broncos fire Dan Reeves". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1992. p. 3B. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  26. ^ "NFL news: Washington Redskins tried to trade for John Elway in 1991". Broncoswire.usatoday.com. December 21, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  27. ^ https://www.denverpost.com/2022/01/01/kiszla-broncos-dan-reeves-appreciation/
  28. ^ "A Giant Honor: The AP chooses Reeves as Coach of the Year". Newspapers.com. January 7, 1994. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  29. ^ "Giants fire Dan Reeves". Newspapers.com. December 23, 1996. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  30. ^ "No tears, no blame in Falcons locker room". www.espn.com.
  31. ^ "Reeves picked best for second time". Newspapers.com. January 3, 1999. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  32. ^ "Reeves beats owner to the punch". ESPN.com. December 10, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "Dan Reeves Hired as Football Consultant". Georgia State University. April 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  34. ^ a b "Cowboys not working with Reeves". ESPN. February 5, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  35. ^ "Dan Reeves Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  36. ^ "Ex-NFL coaches: Where are they now?". ESPN.com. October 18, 2007.
  37. ^ "Rosinski draws the call on Carolina game". ESPN.com. October 8, 2008.
  38. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  39. ^ Meisel, Barry. "ON THE FIRING LINE A DEATH WISH FOR REEVES? NO WAY. HE'S DYING TO WIN", New York Daily News, September 11, 1996. Accessed May 8, 2017. "Pam and Dan Reeves live in a townhouse in Ho-Ho-Kus."
  40. ^ Hooper, Ed. "Dan Reeves speaks faith, NFL in Valdosta". Valdosta Daily Times.
  41. ^ Smith, Loran. "Loran Smith: David Andrews' ties to Georgia help him land with the Patriots". Gwinnett Daily Post.
  42. ^ "Patriots' David Andrews has unique mentor in Dan Reeves". The Boston Globe. September 25, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2022.