The legendary Dennis Green died Friday at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest. After a lengthy coaching career, he leaves behind a lasting mark on the game of football. Here are some of the best moments of his career.
Getty ImagesScott Cunningham
His unforgettable postgame rant
Perhaps Green’s most memorable moment came in October 2006 following a loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The Bears beat Green’s Cardinals, 24-23 after Arizona gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter. Green went on an iconic rant in his postgame press conference with the unforgettable line being, “They are who we thought they were.” It’s a moment no NFL fan will ever forget.
Coaching Vikings in 1998 NFC Championship
In his 10 years as the Vikings' head coach, Green led Minnesota to the playoffs eight times. His most accomplished trip to the postseason came in 1998 when he led the 15-1 Vikings to the NFC Championship game. He was attempting to become the first African-American head coach to reach the Super Bowl, but he fell just short of doing so. The Vikings lost 30-27 in overtime to the Falcons. (The Vikings would reach the NFC title game once more in Green's tenure -- in 2000 against the Giants, also ending in a loss.)
Becoming the first African-American coach in Vikings history
When Green was hired by the Vikings in 1992, he became the franchise's first African-American head coach, which carried plenty of historical significance in itself. He also became just the second African-American NFL head coach in the modern era, after Art Shell. Not only was it a notable signing by the Vikings, but it turned out to be a smart one as he's the second-winningest coach in team history, behind only the legendary Bud Grant.
Getty ImagesMatthew Stockman
Starting “Community Tuesdays” program
The “NFL Community Tuesdays” program was an initiative started by Green for the Vikings, which has now spread throughout the entire league. It was a program built upon getting players more involved in the community on their only off-day -- Tuesday. Whether it’s going to visit schools or participating in food drives, it helped build relationships between players and their cities, which was hugely important.
Getty ImagesRich Gabrielson
Drafting Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss
Green coached some of the most prolific offenses in the league. That’s largely thanks to the wide receivers he had a hand in drafting. In 2004, Green drafted Larry Fitzgerald out of Pitt, who has turned into one of the top receivers in the game. Just six years earlier while with the Vikings, Green and Minnesota made the selection of Randy Moss -- also one of the best wideouts to ever play. Not bad for a couple of drafts.
Getty ImagesNorm Hall
Leading Vikings to 15-1 in 1998, setting scoring record
Not only did the 1998 Vikings reach the NFC Championship game, but they were one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen -- even to this day. Led by Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith, Randy Moss and Cris Carter, Green's squad that year went 15-1 and set the NFL record for the most points scored in a season (556). They’re still regarded as one of the best offenses ever.
AFP/Getty ImagesPAUL BUCK
Breaking Northwestern’s 34-game losing streak
Back in 1982, Green was in his first season as Northwestern’s head coach. Lacking much experience, Green was tasked with ending the school’s dreadful 34-game losing streak. His Wildcats ended the skid against Northern Illinois, setting off a wild celebration with fans and players storming the field. Goalposts were torn down as the university was elated to see the winless streak come to an end. And ironically enough, the quarterback for the Wildcats was Sandy Schwab, the son of Charles Schwab.