Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel has passed away at the age of 71.
His son John, formerly an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams and currently the Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator, confirmed the sad news to the Los Angeles Times Monday night.
The younger Fassel told the outlet that his father began suffering chest pains that night and had been taken to a local hospital, where he sadly passed while under sedation for a heart attack.
Fassel was named the Giants head coach in 1997, following the dismissal of Dan Reeves. He would then lead the Giants through the 2003 season, a span that included the franchise's third Super Bowl appearance (XXXV), which they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Tampa.
That Super Bowl appearance capped an amazing turnaround season in which Fassel famously guaranteed the team was going to the playoffs while it was in the midst of a two-game losing streak.
“This team is going to the playoffs,” he said in a speech in which he also famously said he was pushing his chips to the middle of the table and was driving the bus.
“I believe in my players, I believe in my coaches and I believe in myself. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I have a lot of confidence in my coaches and I have a lot of confidence in the players and I have no fear. I came into this season with a lots of people wondering if I was worried about my job. I'm not worried about it, I'm not worried about the pressure. I've got no worries. I've got no fear. None. Zero. Count on it.”
Fassel, who had spent the 1991-1992 seasons as an assistant coach on the Giants staff, was also one of the Giants rocks during the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, balancing his duties as head football coach with efforts to raise money in support of first responders at Ground Zero in the coming days.
The Giants reached the playoffs three times during Fassel's tenure and finished 58-53-1 in seven seasons. Fassel, whose 58 career victories are fourth highest total among the 19 head coaches in franchise history, was also named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1997.
After parting ways with the Giants following the 2003 season, Fassel spent three seasons with the Ravens, including 2004 as a senior offensive consultant and 2005-2006 as the team's offensive coordinator.
Be sure to keep it locked on Giants Country all the time!