Glanville, Jerry

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o Home
Sent:  2/19     Received: 2/25  (6 days)
See Also: Houston Oilers Official Autograph Souvenir 

Jerry Glanville certainly has earned a reputation for being controversial- from wearing all black at football games, getting bit by a rattlesnake before a game, to leaving tickets at the will call ticket booth for Elvis. Its these antics that earned Glanville a reputation in the media over his accomplishments as a coach primarily for the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons.

After his college career as a linebacker ended at Western Kentucky, Jerry became a graduate assistant at the school alongside Joe Bugel. By 1974 the enigmatic Glanville had worked his way into the professional ranks with the Detroit Lions as an assistant coach. He’d join the Falcons as an assistant in 1978, and be promoted to defensive coordinator in 1979. He’d help the team win its first NFC West Division Title in 1980 behind strong defensive play, and remain with the franchise through 1982. Glanville briefly joined the Bills in 1983, before heading over to the Oilers to become their defensive coordinator in 1984. With the dismissal of Hugh Campbell after the 1985 season, Glanville secured the head coaching job from owner Bud Adams, and vowed to return the Oilers to glory- something they hadn’t seen since the Luv Ya’ Blu Era and Bum Phillips.

After a slow start in 1986, Glanville’s team began delivering on those promises in 1987. The team rolled to a 10-6 record and second place in the contentious AFC Central and advanced to the Divisional Round after beating the Seahawks in an overtime Wild Card contest. They’d get spanked by Denver. The Central at the time consisted of Marty Schottenheimer in Cleveland, Chuck Noll in Pittsburgh, Sam Wyche in Cincinatti and Jerry in Houston. The Oilers had been a disrespected doormat since the early 80s, but under Jerry’s leadership they transformed into a mean and dirty team. The Oilers gambling defense and special teams became the hallmark of the franchise and the Astrodome became known to other teams as: The House of Pain. The Oilers quickly became upstarts, and were rivals of every team in the division. Infamously after being skewered by the Oilers at the Astrodome, Noll approached Glanville at mid-field after the game and accused him of being dirty. Wyche and Glanville traded punches running up the score on each other’s home contests. The Oilers were also known as a ruthless home team, but a paper tiger on the road- that got in trouble making stupid penalties and errors.

Glanville also had a flare for implementing college style offenses, forcing Warren Moon to run the option, and quietly implementing portions of the Run ‘N Shoot offense, calling it the “Red Gun”. Glanville returned the Oilers to the playoffs in 1988, and again the Oilers came on late to beat the Browns in a snowy nail-biter at Cleveleand 24-23 advancing to the Divisional Round. Again the Oilers were beaten- this time by Buffalo. By 1989, Glanville’s schtick was beginning to wear, and the Oilers, were the prime losers in Plan B as many future players and stars left for greener pastures. Among the bigger names to leave during the Glanville years were offensive lineman John Davis and special teams demon Steve Tasker leaving for Buffalo, safety Keith Bostic heading for Indianapolis, and TE Jamie Williams headed for San Fransisco. Eventually this took a heavy toll on the Oilers’ depth. They’d scrape up enough elbow grease to enter the playoffs in 1989 and 9-7 but be bounced in the first round after losing an embarrassing contest to the Steelers. During the game, Jerry would kick an onside to Pittsburgh to show them how much he disrespected their offense. It only served to backfire in his face. It would be the end of the road for Jerry in Houston. Unable to get past the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Bud Adams demanded Glanville’s resignation after the season. It was sudden and unexpected for somebody who had guided the team out of the cellar of a hotly contested division and into the playoffs 3 straight seasons.  A tearful farewell by Glanville, only proved to be what amounted to crocodile tears between the two, as Glanville was quickly snatched up by Atlanta, while Houston went with the opposite of Jerry in Jack Pardee.

It appeared that Jerry was going to have the final laugh against Houston at first. He drubbed the Oilers 47-27  in his debut and then gave the gameball to SMU (-a team that had been trounced by Pardee’s Houston Cougars a year before 95-21). The Falcons embraced Jerry’s persona going so far as welcoming the franchise back to its black uniform roots. A full-time commitment to the Red Gun offense saw the transformation of Chris Miller into an All Pro quarterback, and the fleecing of the Colts in the Jeff George trade allowed the Falcons to get offensive tackle Chris Hinton and budding wide receiver Andre Rison from Indianapolis, in addition to a bevvy of draft choices.  He’d also sign cast off Oilers, grabbing Mike Rozier and Robert Lyles in 1990, and Drew Hill in 1991 via free agency. After a 5-11 mark in 1990, Jerry helped Atlanta return to the playoffs for the first time in roughly 10 years after the 1991 season posting a 10-6 record. The Falcons also played close to the fire like the Oilers, with an aggressive 3-4 defense, great special teams, and a bad attitude, but after taking a step back in 1992 and 1993 with duplicate 5-11 records, Glanville’s tenure in Atlanta would be up. He’d be replaced by his personal friend June Jones-which would initially chide Glanville.  Jerry was a notorious ‘doghouser’ and if you didn’t play the way he wanted, you were either cut, traded, or even worse- sat on the bench.  During his tenure in Atlanta, Glanville had the distinction of getting rid of not one, but two future Hall of Famers in the beginning of their careers. Brett Farve was be traded to the Packers for John Stephens, and future CFL HoFer Mike Pringle was cut but found greater glory in the CFL as their career leading rusher.

Glanville spent extensive time in the studio as an NFL broadcaster, a stock car racing owner, and then returned to college football in 2005 rekindling his friendship with June Jones at Hawaii. After 2 seasons there as the defensive coordinator, Jerry brought his style to Portland State to coach the Vikings, but after a dismal tenure there from 2007-2009, Jerry was dismissed. In 2010, the UFL hired Jerry Glanville to coach the Hartford Colonials. Assembling an impressive staff and then rallying fans, Glanville couldn’t understand why the UFL couldn’t work. Then the UFL ‘suspended’ the Colonials before they even took the field. Jerry was not without a job. The league reassigned him to color commentating games, and helping the league find new locations to play at. Glanville did not answer my question about if the UFL had folded.

Jerry Glanville was a character I grew up with. I really liked him. I just thought that his mouth and attitude got him in a lot of trouble with other teams and the media. While he’d always have something smart to say, he was always a target. I remember being very upset that the Oilers fired him- especially since he had guided the team to the playoffs those previous seasons. When people talk about the attitude of Rex Ryan, I always tell people he was nothing compared to the bravado that is Jerry Glanville.

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