View Full Version : Sad news - Jim Johnson passes away at 68

07-28-2009, 04:56 PM
(wire copy)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Philadelphia Eagles are saddened to announce Jim Johnson has passed away this afternoon at the age of 68 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Eagles president Joe Banner and head coach Andy Reid will be available to the media at approximately 7 pm tonight in the media tent adjacent to the practice fields at Lehigh University.

A veteran of 22 years as an NFL assistant, Johnson is regarded as one of the top defensive masterminds in National Football League history. Over the last decade, he gained a great deal of notoriety as the orchestrator of the renowned Eagles defense. His aggressive style kept Philadelphia at or near the top of the NFL in nearly every major defensive category since joining Andy Reidís staff on January 22, 1999.

From 2000-08, Johnson's units ranked 2nd in the NFL in sacks (390), 3rd down efficiency (34.0%) and red zone touchdown percentage (43.9%), and fourth in fewest points allowed (17.7 per game). During his 10-year tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles earned seven playoff berths, five trips to the NFC Championship game and one Super Bowl appearance (following the 2004 season).

As the Eagles defensive chief, Johnson's defense has produced 26 Pro Bowl selections: Brian Dawkins (7), Troy Vincent (5), Jeremiah Trotter (4), Hugh Douglas (3), Lito Sheppard (2), Asante Samuel (1), Trent Cole (1), Michael Lewis (1), Corey Simon (1), and Bobby Taylor (1).

Four of his defensive assistants have gone on to successful careers with other NFL franchises: Steve Spagnuolo (head coach of the St. Louis Rams), John Harbaugh (head coach of the Baltimore Ravens), Ron Rivera (defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers) and Leslie Frazier (defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings).

Prior to his tenure in Philadelphia, Johnson served as the linebackers coach with Seattle in 1998. That year, Johnson helped the Seahawks register 10 touchdowns on defense, including eight interceptions returned for scores, 2nd most in NFL history. He arrived in Seattle after a four-year stint in Indianapolis, the last two as defensive coordinator. While with the Colts, Johnson helped them secure a berth in the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh in 1995.

Johnson spent eight seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (1986-93). After overseeing the Cards defensive line for four seasons, Johnson excelled as their secondary coach, helping Aeneas Williams become the first rookie cornerback to lead the league in interceptions (6) since 1981.

Johnson began his coaching career as head coach at Missouri Southern (1967-68), before serving four-year tenures at Drake and Indiana. From 1977-83, Johnson served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Notre Dame, a stint that included a national championship in 1977.

An all-conference quarterback himself at Missouri (where he played in the same backfield with long-time NFL executive Bill Tobin), Johnson went on to spend two seasons with Buffalo as a tight end (1963-64).

A native of Maywood, IL, Johnson (born 5/26/41) earned a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in physical education from Missouri.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Vicky, two children, Scott and Michelle, and four grandchildren, Katie, Justin, Brandon, and Jax.

07-28-2009, 05:04 PM
So sorry to hear that.

An excellent coach.

07-28-2009, 05:05 PM
That's horrible news. RIP

07-28-2009, 05:07 PM
RIP, JJ. The Eagle nation thank you and will miss you.

07-28-2009, 05:08 PM
Is this the guy that literally stepped down like two days ago??

Dan B.
07-28-2009, 05:08 PM
That's really sad news. I always loved his defenses and thought he was an excellent coach.

Is this the guy that literally stepped down like two days ago??

Yep. His replacement was Sean McDermott, who I was hoping the Texans would talk to during the offseason.

07-28-2009, 05:17 PM
Genius on Defense. I have been hoping that the reason the Texans have been drafing DE's was so they could be like the eagles defense, constantly rotating lineman. I really admired that defense.

07-28-2009, 05:28 PM
Very sad news. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family & friends.

07-28-2009, 05:57 PM
RIP Jim. Prayers to his family and friends. And even Eagle Nation.

The rest of the NFC East rests a little easier today.

07-28-2009, 05:58 PM
Fantastic coach and by all accounts an overall fantastic human being.

He will be missed.

Buccaneer Bruce
07-28-2009, 05:59 PM
R.I.P. to a great coach and by all accounts a good guy.

07-28-2009, 06:02 PM
This is very sad news not just for Eagles nation but for the entire NFL nation. Jim had a great nack for coaching. His D always played strong and they just had a will to win. Too bad the Eagles came up short in their one and only SB bid an SB ring would have just been the final peice to a legendary career for Jim. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this time of greef for everyone involved. May he RIP there might never be a D mastermind again like coach Jim Johnson in the NFL he knew how to do his job and did it so well and he took pride in what he did for a living.

07-28-2009, 06:13 PM
RIP to a great coach and the NFL will miss him.

Thoughts and prayers to his family.

07-28-2009, 06:48 PM
Is this the guy that literally stepped down like two days ago??

He had been rumored to have been sick for quite awhile, even while coaching.

I didn't post my thoughts on this the other day, because I was going to say that I bet it's only a matter of a few weeks or a month or so before he passed on. For the change to have been made, it had to have been in the last stages.

So, now I can say this: That man could coach a defense. Period.

Some have "it," and he definitely had it. Also, he leaves a family behind. So it's a great loss for a lot of people. Least of all the fans.

07-28-2009, 07:41 PM
Terrible news. Jim Johnson was a genius on the field and he will be sorely missed not only by Eagle fans, but everyone who can appreciate a great defense.

Rip Jim, you'll be missed.

07-29-2009, 06:43 AM
Read LZ's write up. It's a good read: Jim Johnson might be gone, but here are examples of his greatness (http://blogs.chron.com/fantasyfootball/2009/07/jim_johnson_might_be_gone_but.html)

And wear sunscreen regularly, avoid intentional sun, and get your skin checked out on a regular basis. Many skin cancers can be treatable if you catch them early.

Very very sad.

07-29-2009, 09:28 AM
This saddened me more than usual for some reason. I do not know the man, but I truly enjoyed watching his work on the field. Being a defensive guy myself, I always found myself getting more pumped than usual watching the Eagles D constantly bring the heat.

By no means am I an Eagles fan, but they are my fave to win that division this season.

R.I.P. Coach

The Pencil Neck
07-29-2009, 08:18 PM
When we lived near Philly, I became an Eagle's fan. I really liked this guy. He was a genius. This was really sad news for me.

07-29-2009, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the feedback. That is very useful.

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False Start
07-29-2009, 09:45 PM
He will be missed. He was one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history, IMO.

R.I.P. Jim Johnson :(