Forrest Gregg

Last updated

Forrest Gregg
No. 75, 79
Position: Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born:(1933-10-18)October 18, 1933
Birthright, Texas
Died:April 12, 2019(2019-04-12) (aged 85)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school: Sulphur Springs
(Sulphur Springs, Texas)
College: SMU
NFL Draft: 1956  / Round: 2 / Pick: 20
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:193
Fumble recoveries:8
NFL coaching record:75–85–1
Player stats at NFL.com

Alvis Forrest Gregg (October 18, 1933 – April 12, 2019) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL) [1] , the Canadian Football League, and the NCAA. A Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman for 16 seasons, he was a part of six NFL championships, five of them with the Green Bay Packers before closing out his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys with a win in Super Bowl VI. Gregg was later the head coach of three NFL teams (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Packers), as well as two Canadian Football League teams (Toronto Argonauts and Shreveport Pirates).

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Canadian Football League Professional Canadian football league

The Canadian Football League is a professional sports league in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football. The league consists of nine teams, each located in a city in Canada. They are divided into two divisions: four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division.

Contents

As a head coach, he led the 1981 Bengals to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the 49ers by a score of 26–21. [2]

Early life and college career

Born in Birthright, Texas, Gregg attended Sulphur Springs High School in Sulphur Springs and played college football at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. [2]

Birthright, Texas Unincorporated community in Texas, United States

Birthright, also known as Lone Star, is an unincorporated community in Hopkins County, Texas, United States. Birthright is located on Farm to Market Road 71 10 miles (16 km) north of Sulphur Springs.

Sulphur Springs, Texas City in Texas, United States

Sulphur Springs is a city in Hopkins County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,449. It is the county seat of Hopkins County. Sulphur Springs is located along the western edge of Northeast Texas.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Playing career

Gregg was a key player on the Packers dynasty of head coach Vince Lombardi that won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s. He played mostly at right tackle, but also filled in at guard. [2] Gregg earned an "iron-man" tag by playing in a then-league record 188 consecutive games in 16 seasons, from 1956 until 1971. He also won All-NFL acclaim eight straight years from 1960 through 1967 and was selected to play in nine Pro Bowls. [1]

Vince Lombardi American football player, coach, and executive

Vincent Thomas Lombardi was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years, in addition to winning the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Following his sudden death from cancer in 1970, the NFL Super Bowl trophy was named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, the year after his death. Lombardi is considered by many to be the greatest coach in football history, and he is more significantly recognized as one of the greatest coaches and leaders in the history of any American sport.

Super Bowl Annual championship game of the National Football League in American football

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) where the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) competes against the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC). The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season. The upcoming Super Bowl is Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, 2020, following the 2019 regular season.

Pro Bowl all-star game of the National Football League (NFL)

The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). From the merger with the rival American Football League (AFL) in 1970 up through 2013 and since 2017, it is officially called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference (AFC) against those in the National Football Conference (NFC). From 2014 through 2016, the NFL experimented with an unconferenced format, where the teams were selected by two honorary team captains, instead of selecting players from each conference. The players were picked in a televised "schoolyard pick" prior to the game.

Gregg closed his career with the Dallas Cowboys, as did his Packer teammate, cornerback Herb Adderley. They both helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl VI in January 1972, making them the only players (along with former teammate Fuzzy Thurston, who was on the Baltimore Colts NFL championship team in 1958 and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots) in professional football history to play on six teams that won NFL Championships. Gregg wore jersey number 75 for 15 seasons in Green Bay, but that number belonged to Jethro Pugh in Dallas, so Gregg wore number 79 for his final season in 1971.[ citation needed ]

Herbert Anthony Adderley is a former American football cornerback who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL), and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1958 Baltimore Colts season

The 1958 Baltimore Colts season was the sixth season for the team in the National Football League. The Colts finished the 1958 season with a record of 9 wins and 3 losses to win their first Western Conference title. They won their first league title in the NFL championship game, which ended in overtime.

Tom Brady American football quarterback

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He has won six Super Bowls, the most of any football player ever; due to his numerous accomplishments, records, and accolades, he is considered by many sports analysts to be the greatest quarterback of all time.

Vince Lombardi claimed "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!" in his book Run to Daylight. [1] [2] In 1999, he was ranked number 28 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, ranking him second behind Ray Nitschke among players coached by Lombardi, second behind Anthony Muñoz (whom he coached) among offensive tackles, and third behind Munoz and John Hannah among all offensive linemen.[ citation needed ]

Ray Nitschke American football player

Raymond Ernest Nitschke was a professional American football middle linebacker who spent his entire 15-year National Football League (NFL) career with the Green Bay Packers.Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, he was the anchor of the defense for head coach Vince Lombardi in the 1960s, leading the Packers to five NFL championships and victories in the first two Super Bowls.

Anthony Muñoz American football player

Michael Anthony Muñoz, is a former American football offensive tackle who played 13 seasons for the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals. Muñoz is widely considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

John Hannah (American football) American football player, offensive lineman, coach

John Allen Hannah, nicknamed Hog, is a former American football left guard who played for the New England Patriots (1973–1985) in the National Football League (NFL). In 1999 the Sporting News ranked him as the second greatest offensive lineman in NFL history after Anthony Muñoz. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. Sports Illustrated dubbed him, on its August 3, 1981, cover, "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time."

Coaching career

After serving as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers in 1973, he took a similar position the following year with the Browns. After head coach Nick Skorich was dismissed at the conclusion of the 1974 season, Gregg was promoted to head coach in 1975, a position he held through 1977.[ citation needed ]

After sitting out the 1978 season, Gregg returned to coaching in 1979 with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. In 1980, he became the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals for four seasons, through 1983. Gregg's most successful season as a head coach was in 1981, when he led the Bengals to a 124 regular season record. [3] They defeated the San Diego Chargers 277 in the AFC championship game (known as the Freezer Bowl), [4] earning them a trip to Super Bowl XVI, where they lost by five points to the San Francisco 49ers, 2621.[ citation needed ]

When his longtime former teammate Bart Starr was fired after nine years as head coach of the Packers in December 1983, Gregg was allowed out of his contract with the Bengals to take over in Green Bay. [5] He finished his NFL coaching career with the Packers, leading them for four seasons, 1984 through 1987. Gregg's overall record as an NFL coach was 75 wins, 85 losses, and one tie. He also won two and lost two playoff games, all with the Bengals. [6]

Gregg voluntarily left the Packers in January 1988 and took a salary reduction to take over at SMU, his alma mater. [7] [8] He was brought in to revive the Mustang football program after it received the "death penalty" from the NCAA for massive violations of NCAA rules. [8] Although the NCAA had only cancelled the 1987 season, school officials later opted to cancel the 1988 season due to fears that fielding a competitive team would be impossible; nearly every letterman from the 1986 squad had transferred elsewhere. [9] Although Gregg knew that any new coach would be essentially rebuilding the program from scratch, when acting president William Stalcup asked him to return, he felt that he could only accept. [10]

As it turned out, when Gregg arrived, he was presented with a severely undersized and underweight roster composed mostly of freshmen. Gregg was taller and heavier than nearly the entire 70-man squad. The team was so short on offensive linemen that Gregg had to make several wide receivers bulk up and switch to the line. By nearly all accounts, the Mustangs attempting to play the 1988 season under such conditions would have been unthinkable. [11]

In 1989, the Mustangs went 2–9, including a 95–21 thrashing by Houston—the second-worst loss in school history. During that game, eventual Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware threw six touchdown passes against SMU in the first half, and David Klingler added four more in the second half, even with the game long out of reach. Gregg was so disgusted that he refused to shake Houston coach Jack Pardee's hand after the game. [12] Nonetheless, Gregg still looks fondly on the experience. In a 2012 interview with The New York Times , he said that the players on the two teams he coached should have had their numbers retired for restoring dignity to the program. "I never coached a group of kids that had more courage," he said. "They thought that they could play with anyone. They were quality people. It was one of the most pleasurable experiences in my football life. Period." [10]

After the season, he was named athletic director. The Mustangs went 1–10 in 1990, and after the season, Gregg resigned as coach to focus on his duties as athletic director. Gregg's coaching record at SMU was three wins and 19 losses, and he served as athletic director until 1994.[ citation needed ]

He returned to the CFL with the Shreveport Pirates in 199495, during that league's brief attempt at expansion to the United States. Gregg's overall record as a CFL coach was 13 wins and 39 losses.[ citation needed ]

When former Shreveport Pirate owner Bernard Glieberman bought a stake in the Ottawa Renegades in May 2005, Gregg was appointed its vice president of football operations.[ citation needed ]

Later life

Gregg retired to Colorado Springs, Colorado. In October 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, thought to be caused by concussions from playing over two decades of high school, college, and professional football. [1] [13] [14]

On April 12, 2019, Gregg was announced to have died at at the age of 85 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. [2] [15]

Head coaching record

College

YearTeamOverallConferenceStandingBowl/playoffs
SMU Mustangs (Southwest Conference)(1989–1990)
1989 SMU 2–90–89th
1990 SMU 1–100–89th
SMU:3–190–16
Total:3–19

NFL

TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
Browns 1975 3110.2144th in AFC Central
Browns 1976 950.6433rd in AFC Central
Browns 1977 670.462(fired)
Browns Total18230.439
Bengals 1980 6100.3754th in AFC Central
Bengals 1981 1240.7501st in AFC Central21.667Lost to 49ers in Super Bowl XVI.
Bengals 1982 720.7783rd in AFC01.000Lost to Jets in AFC First Round Playoffs Game.
Bengals 1983 790.4383rd in AFC Central
Bengals Total32250.56122.500
Packers 1984 880.5002nd in NFC Central
Packers 1985 880.5002nd in NFC Central
Packers 1986 4120.2504th in NFC Central
Packers 1987 591.3673rd in NFC Central
Packers Total25371.447
NFL Total75851.46922.500

CFL

TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
Argonauts 1979 5110.3134th in CFL East
Argonauts Total5110.313
Pirates 1994 3150.1676th in CFL East
Pirates 1995 5130.2785th in CFL South
Pirates Total8280.222
CFL Total13390.250

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Dunne, Tyler (July 7, 2012). "Packers great Gregg faces the battle of his life". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Goldstein, Richard (April 12, 2019). "Forrest Gregg, Iron Man Lineman for Lombardi's Packers, Dies at 85". The New York Times . ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  3. Van Sickle, Gary (January 17, 1982). "King of the Forrest". Milwaukee Journal. p. 3, sports.
  4. Van Sickle, Gary (January 11, 1982). "Bengals are hot on a cold day". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, part 3.
  5. Salituro, Chuck (December 25, 1983). "Gregg shortened Parins' search". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports.
  6. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/GregFo0.htm
  7. Perkins, Eddie (January 15, 1988). "The rebuilding starts for SMU, Packers". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1C.
  8. 1 2 "Forrest Gregg eager to resurrect Mustangs". Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. January 15, 1988. p. 15.
  9. Frank, Peter. "'88 football season canceled by SMU." New York Times, April 11, 1987.
  10. 1 2 Drape, Joe (August 1, 2012). "Coach Who Revived S.M.U. Looks Back With Pride". The New York Times. pp. B20. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  11. Woodbury, Richard. Rebuilding a Shattered Team. Time , November 4, 1988.
  12. Drago, Mike (August 11, 1996). "`Death Penalty' Still Hurts SMU". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  13. "Hall Of Famer Forrest Gregg Fighting Parkinson's". NPR. Associated Press. November 16, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  14. "Forrest Gregg won't sue NFL". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 17, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  15. "Forrest Gregg's legacy? One of the best offensive linemen ever". NFL.com. Retrieved 2019-04-12.