Atlanta Falcons 50: Greatest Atlanta Falcons Coaches #4


Today, Ryan Robertson continues Blogging Dirty’s “Falcons 50” countdown to kickoff. Ryan is looking at the Falcons’ top five coaches in franchise history, today revealing No. 4.

You can find the full list of Falcons 50 posts here.

When you think back upon some of the unique “characters” that have traversed the sidelines for an NFL team, very few stick out more than the next coach on our list. That would be the one and only Jerry Glanville.

His tenure would start as the defensive backs coach for the Falcons in 1977, and eventually would take him to defensive coordinator and onto head coach after a successful stop with the Houston Oilers.

Glanville, known for his flare and his oddball persona, was hired as secondary coach in 1977 under then head coach Leeman Bennett.

The defensive scheme they implemented, which would soon become known as the “Gritz Blitz”, was infamous for changing the way teams put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It involved rushing multiple defenders from different angles to confuse offensive linemen.

Glanville would then be promoted to defensive coordinator and he would continue to field solid defenses, although the team as a whole only had one winning season.

After his departure from the Atlanta Falcons, Jerry Glanville would bounce around a couple of teams before securing the head coaching job of the Houston Oilers in 1986.

Once in Houston, Glanville quickly became a villain in the eyes of the rival coaches in the division. He earned a reputation of being a dirty coach, but he did bring the potential out of his players, which was one of his greatest skills.

Glanville made the playoffs three times in Houston, appearing in two AFC Divisional Round games. His success earned him the opportunity to helm his old team, the Atlanta Falcons.

Upon taking over as the Falcons coach in 1990, Glanville had some high expectations to live up to. He did in 1991, as he led the Atlanta Falcons to the divisional round of the playoffs. Glanville did so with the same aggressive style of defense that made him famous as the defensive coordinator and a laser focus on special teams.

However, after their loss in the 1991 playoffs, the Falcons would go on to under achieve tremendously the next two seasons under Glanville, posting back to back 6-10 records and ultimately leading to his firing in 1993.

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Perhaps even more so than his outlandish antics, Glanville was known for being the Falcons coach that traded Brett Favre away. Early on in his career, Favre was constantly late to team functions and was instead spending most of his time drinking and partying.

Glanville said it would take a plane crash for him to put Brett Favre on the field. As a result, the Falcons traded Favre to the Packers and the rest, as we know, is history.

While Glanville had his ups and downs during his time as Falcons coach, he was loved by the players and was comfortable enough to do things his way, regardless of what other coaches thought.

He brought flare and charisma to the football field and in turn it rubbed off on his players and fellow coaches. Nobody can say that they will ever forget Jerry Glanville, making him forever infamous in the football universe.

Tomorrow we will reveal the number three greatest Falcons head coach.

Stay tuned, Falcons Fans!