Jim Fassel meant everything to his Giants players

The wins and losses are what they’re. The highs — think back on Jan. 14, 2001 — are proper there, chronicled within the media information. So are the lows. He received greater than he misplaced, acquired to a Super Bowl with an upstart crew and lasted seven years in a Big Blue fish bowl that challenges all Giants head coaches to preserve their heads above water.

More than anything Jim Fassel completed from the time he arrived in 1997 to his departure after the 2003 season, he succeeded on this: He acquired his players to play for him.

The upsetting information that Fassel died Monday night at the age of 71 was a merciless Tuesday morning wake-up name to anybody who labored for, performed for, wrote about or rooted for the Giants. Fassel was taken to a hospital close to his house in Las Vegas complaining of chest pains and handed away whereas underneath sedation.

“Big a part of my life,’’ Michael Strahan, one in every of Fassel’s finest players, said Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America.’’ “Just an ideal man, nice coach, and he will likely be missed. I loved each minute with him as my coach.’’

Jim Fassel in 2003.
Jim Fassel in 2003.
New York Post

Some known as Fassel “Gentleman Jim,’’ however he was harder than that, and he gave the Giants group all he had for so long as he was allowed to achieve this.

Fassel, a local of Anaheim, Calif., performed quarterback at Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State, and was a 1972 seventh-round draft decide of the Bears. He was the top coach on the University of Utah and coached John Elway as an assistant with the Broncos. His son, John, is the Cowboys’ particular groups coordinator.

For the report, Fassel was 58-53-1 with the Giants and made the playoffs 3 times in his seven years. He made an impression on normal supervisor George Young throughout his two years (1991 and 1992) as Giants offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, rising above the mess that was the regrettable Ray Handley regime. When it was clear Dan Reeves was not a very good match and the Giants had been prepared to transfer on after the 1996 season, Young employed Fassel, who was coming off a season by which he helped resurrect Boomer Esiason out within the desert with the Cardinals.

Bespectacled (at first) and type of bookish-looking, it was tempting to low cost Fassel’s capacity to encourage a room filled with grizzled NFL sorts. He inherited a sickly quarterback state of affairs — Dave Brown, Kent Graham and rookie Danny Kanell — and made it work. Fassel went with Kanell down the stretch, and a rising protection led by Strahan steered the Giants to a 10-5-1 report and the NFC East title. Fassel was named NFL Coach of the Year in his first season, however his crew blew a lead and misplaced to the Vikings within the first spherical of the playoffs.

On the day earlier than Thanksgiving through the 2000 season, the Giants had been 7-4 however had misplaced two straight video games. Coming off seasons of 8-8 and 7-9, Fassel knew his job safety hinged on getting his crew — with strong-armed Kerry Collins now at quarterback — into the postseason. Fassel walked right into a Wednesday press convention and, after planning this all out one evening earlier, got here up with a doozy of a playoff assure.

“This is a poker game, and I’m shoving my chips to the middle of the table,” Fassel stated. “I’m raising the ante, and anybody who wants in, get in. Anybody who wants out can get out. This team is going to the playoffs, OK? This team is going to the playoffs.”

That crew did go to the playoffs.

“We at all times felt he believed in us,’’ Collins instructed The Post. “He was robust when he wanted to be, however he was encouraging, and he at all times appeared to have us moving into the proper path for the overwhelming majority of the time.’’

Fassel’s Giants received their final 5 regular-season video games to end 12-4. They beat the hated Eagles, 20-10, in a playoff recreation at Giants Stadium — Jason Sehorn’s ballet-like interception was the spotlight — and within the NFC title recreation thrashed the high-powered Vikings 41-0, permitting franchise patriarch Wellington Mara a glowing second in a raucous postgame stadium tackle.

“This team was referred to as the worst team ever to win the home-field advantage in the National Football League,” Mara stated as the group roared. “And today, on our field of painted mud, we proved we’re the worst team ever to win the NFC Championship. In two weeks, we’re going to try to become the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl.”

That didn’t occur, as Fassel’s Giants had been overwhelmed by Ray Lewis and the Ravens’ superlative protection, shedding 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.g 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

There can be yet another memorable, unforgettable second for Fassel. His offense was a dynamo in 2002 and soared to a 38-14 lead in San Francisco in what was growing right into a playoff rout of the 49ers, however an epic collapse, lowlighted by a particular groups fiasco (unhealthy snap by Trey Junkin) produced a 39-38 loss. Fassel was on borrowed time after that and was fired after the Giants went 4-12 in 2003. He was changed by Tom Coughlin and by no means acquired one other head-coaching job within the NFL.

“The truth he by no means acquired one other alternative within the NFL actually bothered him,’’ Collins stated. “I don’t assume he ever acquired over it.’’

Several Giants fans did not want to see Jim Fassel fired in 2003.
Several Giants followers didn’t need to see Jim Fassel fired in 2003.
Anthony J Causi

Fassel with the Giants employed John Fox to run his protection and Sean Payton as a younger assistant to work the offense, and each turned glorious NFL head coaches. Fassel through the 2001 season rose to a troublesome problem after all the New York City space was rocked by the terrorist assault that felled the World Trade Center, visiting Ground Zero and establishing a basis to assist the households of first responders.

Fassel grew pissed off that the Giants didn’t deem him worthy of inclusion of their Ring of Honor. His time with the Giants got here after legendary Bill Parcells and earlier than the legendary Coughlin, however Fassel gave the franchise some beautiful moments.

“We were all saddened to hear of Jim’s passing,’’ co-owner John Mara said, offering condolences on behalf of his family and the Tisch family. “Jim was a good man and his record as our coach speaks for itself. Jim distinguished himself by the way he managed our team and devoted his efforts to the firefighters and other families following the tragedy of 9/11. The players respected Jim and enjoyed playing for him and his coaching staff. And we appreciated his seven years of leading our team.”

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