Our thoughts are certainly with Jack Pardee — the former Washington Redskins head coach and one of the cornerstones of the Redskins’ “Over The Hill Gang” — who has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and has six to nine months to live, his family says.
Despite the grim diagnosis, Pardee’s daughter Anne reports Jack remains in good spirits. That’s great to hear.
Pardee, a standout linebacker at Texas A&M where he played under Paul “Bear” Bryant, was part of the revitalization of the Redskins’ defense in the early 1970s. As part of the “Over The Hill Gang,” Pardee played the last two seasons of his career with the Redskins in 1971 and 1972. In 1971, he intercepted five passes — returning one for a touchdown — and was named All-Pro.
Pardee was head coach of the Redskins from 1978-1980, when he compiled a 24-24 record. In 1979, the Redskins came within one game of making the playoffs.
Under his watch, Pardee also made a few critical decisions that would wind up paying off big for the Redskins in the years to come:
- Pardee brought defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon to the Redskins in 1978. Petitbon — who was also a key part of the “Over The Hill Gang” — was the primary defensive mind during the Washington Redskins’ most successful period in team history, when they appeared in four Super Bowls, winning three. Petitbon groomed the careers of Redskins greats Dave Butz, Monte Coleman, Darrell Green, Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Wilber Marshall, Neal Olkewicz and several other greats and this year was voted one of the 80 Greatest Redskins of all-time.
- Pardee re-ignited the career of great running back John Riggins. Riggins posted 1,000-yard seasons in 1978 — when he was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year — and in 1979, before retiring prior to the 1980 season. Riggins, of course, came back in 1981 and, upon his retirement, stood in the top five in all-time NFL rushing yards (11,352), carries (2,916) and touchdowns (104).
- Pardee even helped the Redskins after his stint as the team’s head coach was over. In 1984, Pardee — then head coach of the Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League — converted a young, slick tailback named Ricky Sanders to wide receiver. After the USFL folded in 1986, the Redskins traded a third-round pick to the New England Patriots to acquire Sanders, who would go on to excel in Washington’s three-receiver sets and set a Super Bowl record with 193 receiving yards and had two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
Pardee was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1957, where he played until he was traded to the Redskins in 1971. He sat out the 1965 season to battle melanoma before coming back the following year. He was a unanimous All-Pro selection in 1963.
Pardee was also head coach of the Florida Blazers (World Football League; 1974), the Chicago Bears (1975-77), the University of Houston (1987-89), the Houston Oilers (1990-94) and the Birmingham Barracudas (Canadian Football League; 1995).
The University of Houston set several offensive records under Pardee in the 1989 season. The Cougars led the country in total offense (624.9 yards per game) and passing offense (511 yards per game), and quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy. Houston (9-2) finished the season ranked No. 14 in the nation.
What a career.
So, with that, we, again, send our thoughts to Jack Pardee and his family.
Tags: Jack Pardee, over the hill gang, washington redskins
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