By: Connor Barry
Former NFL Head Coach Dennis Green passed away Thursday Evening at the age of 67. He was the Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. Coach Green’s infamous “They are who we thought they were” rant following blowing a 20 point lead at halftime to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football during his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals sits among the ranks of infamous postgame press conferences alongside Jim E. Mora’s “Playoffs” remark in a press conference and Herm Edwards’s “You Play To Win The Game” speech to the media. But that any under circumstance should be best remembered during his time as an NFL Head Coach. That’s like disregarding Marshawn Lynch’s “Beastquake” run in 2011 and all his great runs in his career and remembering him best for his “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” press conference at Super Bowl Media Day. When you think of Dennis Green’s legacy, his press conference comes secondary. His first head coaching gig was at Northwestern in 1982 and led the Wildcats to a 3-8 season, the equal amount of wins the program had the six seasons before Green took over. He was the Big 10 Coach of the year as a result. He finished 10-45 with Northwestern, but was the second African American Head Coach in Division 1-A history. He became the second African American head coach in NFL history when he was hired by the Minnesota Vikings in 1992. With the Vikings, he led the team to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in the 1998 season. Green had quite the coaching staff while in Minnesota. His assistant coaches on the Vikings include Tony Dungy, Brian Billick, Monte Kiffin, and Willie Shaw (Father of Stanford Head Coach, David Shaw). Dennis Green, 8 playoff appearances in 13 seasons, 4 division titles, coach of 7 Hall of Famers, drafted Larry Fitzgerald to the Cardinals & Randy Moss to the Vikings, and numerous lives of players, coaches, fans, & executives who were touched by his presence. He may have never won a Super Bowl, but Dennis Green was a champion.