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Joe Collier

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Title: Joe Collier  
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Subject: Jack Kemp, Wade Phillips, American Football League All-Star game, Al Groh, Randy Gradishar, Orange Crush Defense, Rod Rust, 1986 Denver Broncos season, Al Bemiller, Louis Wright (American football)
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Joe Collier

Joe Collier
Personal information
Date of birth (1932-06-07) June 7, 1932 (age 82)
Place of birth Rock Island, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) Defensive coordinator
Head coach
College Northwestern University
Head coaching record
Regular season 12–16–1
Postseason 0–1–0
Career record 13–16–1
Team(s) as a coach/administrator




Buffalo Bills
(Linebackers/defensive backs)
Buffalo Bills
(Head coach)
Denver Broncos
(Defensive backs)
Denver Broncos
(Defensive coordinator)
New England Patriots
(Defensive coordinator)

Joel D. Collier (born June 7, 1932) is a former American football coach. He was head coach of the American Football League's Buffalo Bills from 1966 through part of 1968, compiiling a 13–16–1 record.

College career

Collier attended Northwestern University, where he played on the school's football team. In 1952, his junior season, he broke Big Ten Conference records by catching seven touchdown passes and accumulating 650 receiving yards.[1] Following the 1953 college football season, in which he captained the Wildcats, Collier was selected by the New York Giants in the 22nd round of the 1954 NFL Draft.[2][3] However, Collier decided not to play professional football, instead becoming an assistant coach at Western Illinois University after a three-year stint in the U.S. Army.[1]

Buffalo Bills (1962–1968)

After spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the Boston Patriots of the brand new AFL,[4] Collier joined the Buffalo Bills in 1962 and was promoted to head coach in 1966.[2] The Bills' best season under Collier came in his first year, when they won the Eastern Division with a 9–4–1 record, eventually losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL Championship Game.[5] After coming within one game of an AFL championship, the team slumped to 4–10 in 1967.[6] After a poor performance by the Bills in a 1968 pre-season game, Collier set up a scrimmage for his team. During the practice session, quarterback Jack Kemp broke his right leg, an injury that forced him to undergo season-ending surgery.[7] The Bills fired Collier after a 48–6 loss to the Oakland Raiders in the second week of the regular season.[8] Sports Illustrated opined that "Collier's fate undoubtedly was decided..." by Kemp's injury.[9]

Denver Broncos (1969–1988)

Following his time as head coach of the Bills, Collier became a Denver Broncos coach in 1969 and spent 20 years with the team, who reached three Super Bowls with him as defensive coordinator. Collier was the architect of the Broncos' 3-4 defense in the late 1970s, a scheme that was known as the Orange Crush Defense.[10] After being hired by Lou Saban, he remained the defensive coordinator for four subsequent Broncos head coaches.[11] Dan Reeves fired Collier after the 1988 NFL season.[10]

New England Patriots (1991–1992)

From 1991 to 1992, he was defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.[4]


Collier's son, Joel Collier, was hired in February 2009 by Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, a former executive for the Patriots, as a defensive backs coach for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.[12] By 2010, he was the team's assistant general manager.[13] Prior to 2009, Collier was the secondary coach of the New England Patriots. Before his stint with the Patriots, he spent 11 years as an assistant for the Miami Dolphins.[4]


External links

  • Joe Collier NFL Coaching Record
  • Joe Collier Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks
Preceded by
Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Wade Phillips
Preceded by
Rod Rust
New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Al Groh
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