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Giants Now: Football world reflects on Jim Fassel


Remembering former coach Jim Fassel, 1949-2021

Jim Fassel, who led the Giants to three playoff berths and a Super Bowl and mentored some of the franchise's greatest players in his seven seasons as the team's coach, has passed away. He was 71.

According to numerous reports, Fassel, who lived outside of Las Vegas, was taken to a hospital with chest pains and died of a heart attack while under sedation.

Fassel coached the Giants from 1997-2003. His 58 career regular-season victories are the fourth-highest total among the 19 coaches in the 96-year history of the franchise. He was named NFL Coach of the Year after his first season.

"On behalf of the Mara and Tisch families and our entire organization, I would like to express our condolences to the Fassel family and Jim's friends," Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said. "We were all saddened to hear of Jim's passing. Jim was a good man and his record as our coach speaks for itself. Jim distinguished himself by the way he managed our team and devoted his efforts to the fire fighters and other families following the tragedy of 9-11. The players respected Jim and enjoyed playing for him and his coaching staff. And we appreciated his seven years of leading our team."

On Dec. 17, 2003, with two games remaining in what became a 4-12 year, Fassel announced he would resign after the season, knowing he would almost certainly have been fired had he not been proactive.

Fassel coached at the collegiate and professional levels for 30 years. He was the head coach at the University of Utah from 1985-89 and he coached in four different professional leagues (the World Football League, United States Football League, NFL and UFL). Fassel coached Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway as an offensive coordinator at Stanford and with the Denver Broncos and he also had NFL stints with the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals. But it is his seven seasons with the Giants that Fassel most treasured.

"It was a great time, a great time," Fassel said in an interview at his home in Manhattan Beach, Calif. in 2014. "People ask me, 'Wasn't the media awful to you?' No, I'm friends with a lot of them. I respect the media. They have a job to do. I'll tell you what, I was with (five) different franchises (including Baltimore, where he served as an assistant post-Giants), but the Giants is how I learned to coach in the NFL, mainly from (the late general manager and Pro Football Hall of Famer) George Young. They run it right. They put the marbles in a row to win."

View photos of former head coach Jim Fassel, who led the Giants to three playoff berths and a Super Bowl.

After being named the 16th head coach in Giants history on January 15, 1997, Fassel led the team to a divisional title and was named NFL Coach of the Year in his inaugural season.

In 2000, Jim Fassel led the Giants to the NFC's No. 1 seed with a 12-4 record, a 41-0 demolition of Minnesota in the conference championship game and a berth in Super Bowl XXXV.

Check out the video below to re-live the Giants shutting out the Vikings, 41-0, in the 2000 NFC Championship Game.

On Dec. 13, 1998, the Giants upset the defending Super Bowl champion, the 13-0 Denver Broncos, 20-16, on Kent Graham's 37-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer with 48 seconds remaining.

Before he was head coach, Jim Fassel's big break came when he was hired to coach quarterbacks in 1991.

Many former players and figures from across the football world took to social media to remember the former head coach.

Logan Ryan seeks advice from Giants greats

There is talk about the Giants boasting one of the best secondaries in the NFL in 2021. Logan Ryan is aware, and he is not shying away from it.

After the Giants opened up mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, the ninth-year pro said he looks at what the best rooms in the league look like and uses it as his "barometer" for his group in terms of practicing and pushing each other. But the 31 other clubs aren't his only concern. Ryan, who is entering his first full season with the Giants, also looked into the past.

"I reached out personally this year to Antrel Rolle, I reached out to Jason Sehorn, and I reached out to Corey Webster," Ryan said. "I reached out to those guys and said, 'Hey, I want to pick your brain and be great like you. I respect what you have done in the past. Can you give me anything?'"

They had plenty to share.

Rolle never missed a start in his five seasons with the Giants and was a vocal leader of the Super Bowl XLVI-wining team; Corey Webster won two Super Bowls with the franchise and made one of the biggest plays in the team's postseason history with an overtime interception of Brett Favre in the 2007 NFC Championship Game; and Sehorn played in more than 100 games and helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance.

"All those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary, and they were willing and eager to help out," Ryan said. "They were thankful that I reached out to try to build the bridge between the current secondary and former greats. I want to be like them and lead those units, and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player. I'm an empty cup. They are filling it up, and I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud."

Giants announce 2021 preseason dates & times

The Giants today announced the dates and kickoff times for their three 2021 preseason games.

The NFL this year increased each team's regular-season schedule to 17 games and reduced the traditional four-game preseason to three.

The Giants will play their first game on Saturday, Aug. 14, when they host the Jets at 7:30 p.m. The teams met in 51 consecutive summers (1969-2019) before last year's game – and the NFL's entire preseason schedule – was canceled due to the pandemic. This will be just the fourth time the teams that share MetLife Stadium will meet in the preseason opener. They also faced each other to open the preseason in 1983, 2010 and 2019 and were scheduled to do so again in 2020. The Giants have won the four previous preseason meetings to tie the annual series – which began in 1969 – at 25-25-1. The tie was in 1972.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, the Giants will play a rare early-afternoon preseason game when they visit the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. The teams' preseason series is also tied, at 9-9. They last met in the preseason on Aug. 9, 2018, a 20-10 Browns victory in New Jersey. The Giants' most recent preseason visit to Cleveland was on Aug. 21, 2017, when they lost, 10-6.

Coach Joe Judge will face his former team for the first time when the Giants and New England Patriots meet in MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. The Giants and Patriots will continue a tradition of ending the preseason by playing each other, as they did for 15 consecutive summers from 2005-19. The Giants lead the preseason series, 20-10. The two teams first met in the preseason in 1971.

All three Giants preseason games will air in the New York area on NBC 4 NY.

In their most recent preseason in 2019, the Giants were 4-0, defeating the Jets, Bears, Bengals and Patriots.

The Giants open their regular season on Sunday, Sept. 12, at home against the Denver Broncos. They do not play any of their preseason opponents in the regular season.

How tough is the Giants' schedule? Click to view each team's strength of schedule for the 2021 season based on the records of their opponents from 2020.

Top photos from Giants Minicamp

Check out the gallery below to view the best photos from Tuesday's minicamp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

View the best photos from Tuesday's minicamp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

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Single Game Tickets

A limited number of Giants 2021 single game tickets are on sale now

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