Allie Sherman, who coached the Giants from 1961-68 and led the team to the NFL Championship Game three times in his first three seasons, died Saturday at his home in New York. He was 91.
Sherman's death was announced yesterday by his family, according to The New York Times.
The Brooklyn-born Sherman, a former offensive coordinator for the Giants and before that a quarterback and defensive back for Philadelphia in the 1940s, took over for Jim Lee Howell in 1961 and went a combined 33-8-1 in his first three seasons. His Giants teams lost all three championship games. Sherman was selected as the NFL's coach of the year in his first two seasons.
Sherman utilized the T-formation during his days as the Brooklyn College quarterback, and he used the formation during his days as an NFL assistant and head coach.
The 1964 season signaled the beginning of a rocky finish to his head-coaching career, as the Giants went 2-10-2. He never had another winning season as many of his star players, including quarterback Y.A. Tittle, running backs Alex Webster, Kyle Rote and Frank Gifford, wide receiver Del Shofner and defensive linemen Andy Robustelli and Roosevelt Grier, retired. Sherman infamously traded away All-Pro linebacker Sam Huff to Washington, a move for which Huff never forgave Sherman. Sherman also traded Grier and kicker Don Chandler, two popular players.
Toward the end of his run as the Giants' coach, fans who wanted to see him fired serenaded him with choruses of "Goodbye, Allie" at home games.
Sherman's parents emigrated from Russia to Brooklyn in 1920, and he took up handball in high school after being told he was too small to play football. Sherman played quarterback at Brooklyn College, where he captained the 1941-42 teams.
Sherman replaced Vince Lombardi as the Giants' offensive coordinator in 1959 after Lombardi left to become the Packers' head coach.