Fassel earned 60 wins over seven seasons at the helm of the New York Giants, reaching Super Bowl XXXV in 2001.
Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel passed away on Monday at the age of 71. Fassel’s death was first reported by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times and confirmed by his son John.
Fassel is best known for his seven-year stint (1997-2003) at the helm of the Giants, earning a 58-53-1 record. His 58 wins are good for the fourth-best tally in franchise history. Fassel’s New York career began in 1991 when he took the Giants’ quarterbacks coach job under Bill Parcells after five seasons as the head man at the University of Utah. He was the Giants’ offensive coordinator during the 1992 season taking assistant coaching stints in Denver, Oakland, and Arizona.
The Giants welcomed Fassel back in 1997 when he succeeded Dan Reeves as the head coach. With a 10-5-1 mark, Fassel guided the Giants to their first NFC East division title in seven years and earned Coach of the Year honors for the turnaround efforts.
Fassel’s New York masterpiece came in 2000 when he guided the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance. The Giants started the year by winning seven of their first nine games but faced scrutiny after dropping consecutive home contests to St. Louis and Detroit. Following the latter loss to the Lions, Fassel boldly declared “this team is going to the playoffs”.
New York would then go on to win their last five regular season contests en route to winning not only the NFC East but the top seed in the conference as well. They would then top Philadelphia and Minnesota to reach Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa. The latter showing against the Vikings was one of the most lopsided postseason contests in NFL postseason history, as the Giants earned a 41-0 win and outgained them 518-114. A third Super Bowl was not to be, however, as the Giants fell to the Baltimore Ravens in the game’s 35th edition.
Fassel would lead the Giants to the playoffs one last time in 2003, falling to San Francisco in the wild card round. He and the Giants parted ways after the following season, after which he spent three seasons in Baltimore, the latter two as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. After a three-year hiatus, Fassel returned to coaching in 2009, joining the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. Las Vegas won each of the first two UFL titles and held an undefeated 4-0 record when the league suspended operations in 2012.
According to Farmer’s report, Fassel, who continued to live in Las Vegas, suffered chest pains on Monday and was taken to a hospital, where he died of a heart attack while under sedation. He is survived by four children, including John, who currently serves as the special teams coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags