Skip to comments.Arizona Cardinals name Dennis Green head coach
Posted on 01/08/2004 7:20:02 AM PST by Fast 1975
TEMPE, Ariz. - Dennis Green, one of the winningest NFL coaches in the 1990s, agreed to a four-year contract Wednesday to guide the struggling Arizona Cardinals.
The 54-year-old Green, who had a 97-62 record in 10 seasons with Minnesota and led the Vikings into the playoffs eight times, spent the day in San Diego exchanging faxes and phone calls with Cardinals officials in Tempe.
Contract details were finalized Wednesday night. Green will sign the contract Thursday, football operations vice president Rod Graves said. The Cardinals planned to introduce Green at a news conference Friday.
His agent said the deal that made Green the teams 33rd head coach, contains a club option for a fifth season. The Arizona Republic said the deal was worth $10 million for four years, but Graves declined to discuss details of the contract.
Graves backed Greens candidacy from the start and said he was confident the Cardinals made the best choice for someone to pilot the chronically losing team.
Dennis has had great success turning programs around, Graves said. He started at Northwestern and then went to Stanford, and hes had success taking programs who have not performed very well and turned them into championship-type programs.
Graves and vice president Michael Bidwill flew to San Diego on Tuesday to interview Green for a second time and offered him the job.
Michael Bidwill and Gary OHagan, who is Dennis agent, worked very hard to get the details worked out, and they were able to complete it tonight, Graves said.
Green was 4-8 in the postseason, one of the reasons he was fired late in the 2001 season.
The Vikings went 15-1 in 1998 and wound up losing in the NFC title game. They also lost in the 2000 NFC championship game.
Green made a smooth transition to football commentator on television while looking for opportunities to get back on the sideline. He recently interviewed for the head coaching jobs at Oakland and Washington.
He interviewed for several jobs last season, but wanted more control than any of the teams were willing to give him.
A disciple of former 49ers coach Bill Walsh, Green went to the Vikings from Stanford.
The attraction of Arizona for Denny is that the Cardinals organization has had trouble winning and now a lot of people dont expect them to start winning, OHagan said. That creates a lot of upside, an opportunity for success.
He said the teams $355 million stadium under construction in Glendale, Ariz., adjacent to the Phoenix Coyotes new ice arena, was one of the strong points of the job. The roofed football stadium is scheduled to open for the 2006 season and will host the 2008 Super Bowl.
They need to have a winning team because they need to sell tickets, OHagan said. Dennis is a proven winner and thats what the Cardinals need.
The Cardinals have had one winning season since 1984, one playoff appearance since 1982 and one playoff victory since winning the NFL title in 1947 as the Chicago Cardinals. Coach Dave McGinnis was fired after Arizona finished 4-12 last season, one of four teams with that league-worst record.
The teams home fan base has dwindled to about 20,000.
Vikings owner Red McCombs fired Green after the Vikings went 5-10. It was Greens only losing season. His teams made it to the NFC title game twice, but lost at home to Atlanta after the 1998 season and on the road to the New York Giants after the 2000 season.
Green becomes the fourth black head coach in the NFL, the most the league has had at any one time. The other three are Herman Edwards of the Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Bengals and Tony Dungy of the Colts.
The hiring filled the third of seven coaching vacancies, all taken by former NFL head coaches. Tom Coughlin agreed to coach the Giants on Tuesday and Joe Gibbs ended an 11-year retirement Wednesday to return to Washington.
Still to be filled are vacancies in Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago and Oakland.
Green and former Giants coach Jim Fassel, who was Arizonas offensive coordinator in 1996, were front-runners for the job. The team also interviewed New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
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Go Packers, go Packers, go Packers!
Green's a good coach, but I hope AZ doesn't expect miracles overnight.
You know the choice is horrible when even Viking fans - the team you knocked out of the playoffs - are laughing at you.
Remember these things about Ennis Green (Viking fans remove the "D", just like he did here...)
1. Dennis Green is the only coach in NFL history to lose a conference championship game as a double-digit favorite, and was the biggest loser in NFC Championship game history two years later.
2. Dennis Green is the only coach in NFL history to lose games to two different 1-15 teams in the same season.
Additionally, there were stories in the papers here about bigamy, sexual harassment and lack of discipline on and off the field regarding Green. This is a guy who once threatened to sue the team owners for a piece of the club. And now he's all yours.
As I'm told the cowboys say, Denny Green is all hat and no cattle. Good regular season coach who evaporates in the playoffs (4-8) and will drive you absolutely nuts with playcalling and decision-making.
Good luck to you.
This bothers me not at all.
What bothers me is that Red McCombs didn't ditch the loser he hired to replace Green after the Cardinals game.
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