Jim Hanifan, the last Cardinals coach to lead a playoff team when the franchise was in St. Louis, died earlier this week at the age of 87.
Hanifan served as the Cardinals’ offensive line coach from 1973-1978, when the team had its outstanding unit led by Cheap Dan Dierdorf Jersey, Bob Young, Tom Banks and Conrad Dobler. After spending a year in San Diego with the Chargers, Hanifan came back to be head coach of the Cards from 1980-1985, with a playoff appearance during the strike season of 1982.
“Jim Hanifan was larger than life,” said former Cardinals fullback and current radio analyst Cheap Ron Wolfley Jersey, who played for Hanifan. “He was Paul Bunyan without the ox. Tall, tough, profane and determined, with a raspy voice and love for players that I will not soon forget. He once told me he ‘loved the F’in F out of me.’ I never responded so I’ll do that now — love you, too, Hanny.”
After leaving the Cards, Hanifan went on to coach the offensive lines of the Falcons, Washington and the Rams, winning a Super Bowl in 1999 in St. Louis.
Hanifan went 39-49-1 in his tenure with the Cardinals.
“Jim Hanifan was a great football coach but an even better man and mentor to many men and women around the game of football,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “On the field, he was known as one of the greatest teachers of offensive line play the game has ever seen. He’ll also be remembered as one of its all-time best story tellers.
“He was a friend to so many and meant so much to our family. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all of those fortunate enough to cross paths with Jim, a true original who will never be forgotten.”