Dan Reeves, a Super Bowl winner as a Dallas Cowboys player but a four-time loser in the big game as a coach with the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons, has died at the age of 77.
Reeves’ family announced his passing following complications from a long illness in a statement to NFL Network on Saturday morning.
They said Reeves died “peacefully and surrounded by his loving family at his home in Atlanta” and added that his legacy would “continue through his many friends, players and fans as well as the rest of the NFL community.”
Reeves participated in what was once a record nine Super Bowls during his 38 years in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl as a versatile player with the Dallas Cowboys and also as an assistant coach on the team.
Reeves posted a 190-165-2 record during his head coaching stints with the Broncos (1981-92), New York Giants (1993-96) and Falcons (1997-2003).
As a player, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys in 1965, quickly shifting positions from quarterback to halfback given Dallas’ injuries at the latter position.
Reeves recorded 1,990 rushing yards and 1,693 receiving yards with 42 total touchdowns (25 rushing, 17 receiving) during his eight seasons with the Cowboys.
He helped them secure a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI before joining the team’s coaching staff and assisting them in advancing to the Super Bowl on three more occasions.
Reeves, at 37, became the youngest head coach in the NFL at the time when he joined the Broncos in 1981. The team advanced to the Super Bowl in 1986, 1987 and 1989 seasons – losing each time – before he was fired following the 1992 season.
He joined the Giants in 1993 and was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year later that season. He spent three more seasons with New York before being fired after the 1996 campaign.
“Dan Reeves had a legendary NFL career as both a player and a coach,” Giants president John Mara said in a statement.
“He made an indelible mark on the League and all of the people he played with, coached and worked alongside. He was one of the finest men I have ever been around in this business. Our deepest condolences to (wife) Pam and the entire Reeves family.”
Reeves joined the Falcons in 1997 and guided the club to the Super Bowl the following season, only for the club to fall to John Elway and the Broncos. The Georgia native was named NFL Coach of the Year following the 1998 season.