By Dave Campbell | Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Bud Grant, the stoic and demanding Hall of Fame coach who took the Minnesota Vikings and their mighty Purple People Eaters defense to four Super Bowls in eight years and lost all of them, died Saturday. He was 95.
The Vikings announced Grant’s death on social media.
“No single individual more defined the Minnesota Vikings than Bud Grant. A once-in-a-lifetime man, Bud will forever be synonymous with success, toughness, the North and the Vikings,” owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf said in a joint statement distributed by the team. “In short, he was the Vikings.”
Wearing his trademark purple Vikings cap and a stone-faced demeanor, Grant displayed a steely sideline gaze that became synonymous with his teams. He was a mainstay among coaches of his era, a decorated group that included Don Shula, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, John Madden and Hank Stram. Grant, however, had little interest in accolades.
“The only reason I can see for a head coach getting credit for something good is that he gets so much blame when something is bad,” Grant once said. “The whole secret, I think, is to not react to either the good or the bad.”
He guided the Vikings from 1967-85, with a one-year hiatus in 1984, on his way to a 158-96-5 record with 11 division championships in 18 seasons. He went 10-12 in the playoffs.
When he retired, Grant was eighth on the NFL’s all-time victory list.
“There are so many adjectives appropriate to describe Coach Bud Grant: legendary, determined, successful. Underneath his outwardly stoic demeanor that some misunderstood as a coldness laid the warm heart of a man who truly loved his players and the sport of football,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said.
After replacing another Hall of Famer, Norm Van Brocklin, Grant assembled the revered defensive line dubbed the Purple People Eaters. The line — whose motto was “Meet at the quarterback” — was joined by a powerful offense that helped Minnesota reach the Super Bowl in 1970, the final edition of the big game before the AFL-NFL merger.
The heavily favored Vikings fell 23-7 to Kansas City, setting a tone for the infamous run of title game losses to Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland from the perceived lesser conference following the 1973, 1974 and 1976 seasons.
“If you’re going to succeed, survive is maybe a better word,” Grant said during his Pro Football Hall of Fame …read more
Source:: The Mercury News