Former NFL player, head coach Walt Michaels dead at 89

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The daughter of former NFL player and head coach Walt Michaels announced, via the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, that her father died on Wednesday at the age of 89.

Michaels was a seventh-round pick by the Browns in 1951 and was traded to the Packers before the start of his rookie season. He returned to the Browns the next year and played linebacker for Cleveland through the 1961 season. He won two titles and the Browns made it to the championship game five times while Michaels was on the roster. Michaels was also selected for five Pro Bowls.

Michaels played one more game with the Jets in 1963 while serving as the team’s defensive coordinator and won a Super Bowl ring after helping the team overcome the Colts in Super Bowl III. He moved to the Eagles in the same role from 1973 to 1975 and returned to the Jets in 1976.

He was promoted to head coach the next year and went 39-47-1 over six seasons. The Jets advanced to the AFC Championship Game in 1982, which turned out to be Michaels’s final season with the team as he resigned a short time later.

Michaels would go on to coach the USFL’s New Jersey Generals in 1984 and 1985. The team went 25-11 in those seasons.

Our condolences go out to Michaels’s friends and loved ones.

6 responses to “Former NFL player, head coach Walt Michaels dead at 89

  1. I always thought if Michaels wasn’t fired by the Jets their mid-1980s teams would’ve competed at a championship level for years. No Joe Walton as HC and I can’t imagine Michaels would’ve drafted Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino. Imagine the sack exchange on one side of the ball and Marino throwing to Wesley Walker and Al Toon on the offensive side. What might have been.

  2. Michaels was a heckuva player and I thought he was a good coach, too. It’s too bad he had a tough time dealing with the pressure of coaching and it really affected him. It’s a big part of he resigned as Jets head coach.
    R.I.P. Walt.

  3. I’m not a Jets or Raiders fan, but I always thought the 1982 playoff game between them in the strike-shortened season was one of the very best playoff games of that era. A tough, hard-fought victory by the Jets against a super talented Raiders team in LA with rookie Marcus Allen that won the SB the following year. A great game. It didn’t hurt that Enberg/Olson did the game.

  4. I used to watch NFL highlights all the time growing up as I have followed NFL since I was kid and it got to the point whenever I hear Walt Michaels name I always remember his hat blowing off on the sidelines on the football follies and it was always a nice chuckle for me and most of all I have much respect for Walt Michaels as you can tell he loved being out there and was a pleasure to watch . Thanks for many great memories Coach Michaels and may you RIP .

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