Jim Fassel, whose bold promise of a playoff bid late in the 2000 season seemingly catapulted the New York Giants into a place in the Super Bowl, has expired.
The Giants said Tuesday that household members educated them of his departure.
Son John Fassel, special teams coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, confirmed the death to the Los Angeles Times. He told the paper his father was shot to a Las Vegas hospital with chest pains and died while being treated Monday.
Fassel, the 1997 NFL coach of the year, guided the Giants from 1997 to 2003, posting a 58-53-1 record. He was 2-3 at the postseason, including a 34-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl in February 2001.
Fassel’s 58 victories place him supporting Steve Owen (153), Tom Coughlin (102) and Bill Parcells (77) among Giants coaches.
Fassel coached several outstanding players for the Giants, including Hall of Famer Michael Strahan. Strahan, now a co-host of”Good Morning America” and a television personality, called Fassel that a significant portion of the life.
“Just a great man, great coach, and he will be missed,” stated the former defensive end, who sent condolences to the Fassel household during Tuesday’s GMA broadcast.
“I enjoyed enjoyed every second with him as my coach and after my career once we continue to remain in touch and speak,” Strahan said.
Present Giants trainer Joe Judge spoke of Fassel’s ties to the group during minicamp Tuesday.
“That’s something which makes you kind of sit back and reflect. It brings up a great deal of great coaches who have been through here,” Judge said. “Look, it is definitely an honor to be in the exact same position as all of these coaches”
He played quarterback at Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State. Back in 1972, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears. He played in the NFL and World Football League.
He was the planner using the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and also Arizona Cardinals before returning to New York as head coach after Dan Reeves was fired.
Taking over in 1997, Fassel inherited a team that had missed the playoffs five of their past six seasons under Ray Handley and Reeves. He quickly turned things around, posting a 10-5-1 mark and leading New York into the NFC East title, its first since winning the Super Bowl under Parcells in February 1991.
The Giants missed the playoffs the next two seasons. They appeared headed into the postseason in 2000 after launching with a 7-2 record, but consecutives losses to St. Louis and Detroit in November had lots of believing the team was going to fold.
Fassel had other thoughts. On Nov. 22, four days before a match with Arizona, the coach put his reputation at stake, telling the press to target him.
“I will take full responsibility. I’m increasing the stakes right now,” he explained. “This is a poker game, I’m shoving my chips into the center of the desk, I am increasing the ante. This group will the playoffs. OK. This group will the playoffs.”
The Giants crushed Arizona 31-7 and finished the regular season on a five-game winning beef which gave them the NFC East title with a 12-4 record. Playoff wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota followed before the Ravens crushed them in the Super Bowl.
New York missed the playoffs in 2001, made it as a wild card in 2002, but Fassel missing the team in ’03 and announced two games before the conclusion of the ’03 he wouldn’t be returning. He would have been terminated.
Coughlin was hired and directed them to Super Bowls following the ’07 and ’11 seasons.
Fassel played college football before a short career in the NFL and Canadian soccer. He was also a part of the training staffs at Denver, Oakland, Arizona and Baltimore, as well as head coach at the University of Utah. He served as a head coach in the NFL back, but had been the head guy for the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives.
Fassel combined Westwood One radio for a color commentator for the Sunday NFL games in 2007. He remained with the network for two seasons, calling Sunday afternoon games with Harry Kalas and”Sunday Night Football” with Dave Sims. Fassel was also part of Westwood One’s playoff coverage those 2 decades, calling various games, and worked the 2007 and 2008 NFC championship matches.