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Weeb Ewbank

Coached In Memorable Games

Ewbank had the distinction of coaching in history-making games. He coached the first sudden death overtime victory title game, in 1958, as coach of the Colts. When the game ended in a 17-17 tie at the end of regulation, no one knew what to do, but they eventually figured it out, setting a precedent for the league.

He also coached in the "Heidi Bowl." On an NBC televised game, with sixty-five seconds remaining, Ewbank's Jets kicked a field goal to take a 32-29 lead over the Raiders in Oakland. At that point, it was 7 p.m. EST, and NBC cut off its coverage of the game with fifty seconds remaining (except on the West Coast) to begin the two-hour children's movie "Heidi." Jets fans were livid, especially when they learned that the Raiders came back to score two touchdowns in nine seconds to win 43-32.

Ewbank was with the Cleveland Browns in their 1950 NFL debut against the Philadelphia Eagles. And then, in what was probably his sweetest victory, coached the Jets, with Joe Namath at the helm, to an upset in Super Bowl III over his former team, the Baltimore Colts. Ewbank was also on the sidelines in the 1970 debut of Monday Night Football, picking up a win against Cleveland.

Though he won a championship with Unitas, Ewbank was fired after the 1962 season, to be replaced by thirty-three-year-old coach Don Shula. When he went to the New York Jets as head coach and general manager in 1963, he needed just five seasons to take Jets to the Super Bowl. Jets owner Sonny Werblin had signed Joe Namath to a $400,000 contract-the richest in team sports at the time. Namath proved to be the catalyst the team needed.

Chronology

1907 Born May 6 to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ewbank in Fairview area of Richmond, Indiana
1916 Delivered orders for his father in a horse-drawn wagon
1924 Graduated from Morton High School, Richmond
1928 Graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he was quarterback
1929-30 Coached football at Van Wert, Ohio
1930 Named head football coach at McGuffey High School, Oxford
1930 Assists with coaching at Miami University (Ohio)
1942-45 Joins Navy and is assistant coach for Paul Brown at Great Lakes Naval Training Center
1946 Becomes backfield coach at Brown University, where quarterback was Joe Paterno
1949 Joins Paul Brown as assistant coach of the Cleveland Browns
1954 Takes head coaching position with Baltimore Colts
1958 Coaches Baltimore in the first sudden-death overtime game in NFL history
1959 "Weeb Ewbank Day" declared in Richmond, Indiana
1962 Fired by Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom
1963 Named head coach of New York Jets
1973 Retires from coaching
1974 Inducted into Indiana Football Hall of Fame
1977 Co-authors book Football Greats
1978 Inducted into Professional Football hall of Fame
1998 Dies at age 91 at his Oxford, Ohio home on November 17

Awards and Accomplishments

1958 Coached against New York Giants, winning in overtime in what has been called "the greatest game in history"
1959 Won NFL Championship with Baltimore Colts
1963 Won Super Bowl III with Joe Namath as his quarterback
1969 Inducted as charter member in Miami University (Ohio) Hall of Fame
1974 Inducted into Indiana Football Hall of Fame
1978 Inducted into National Professional Football Hall of Fame

Additional topics

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