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Herm Edwards

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Herm Edwards

Herm Edwards
Edwards in 2007
No. 46, 42
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-04-27) April 27, 1954
Place of birth: Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school: Monterey (CA)
College: San Diego State
Undrafted: 1977
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
  • UPI Second-Team All-NFC (1980, 1982)
Career NFL statistics
Stats at
Head coaching record
Regular season: 54–74
Postseason: 2–4
Career record: 56–78
Coaching stats at

Herman "Herm" Edwards, Jr. (born April 27, 1954) is an American football analyst who most recently coached in the National Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs. Since 2009, he has been a pro football analyst for ESPN.[1] He played cornerback for 10 seasons (1977–1986) with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons. Prior to his coaching career, Edwards was known best as the player who recovered a fumble by Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik on a play dubbed "The Miracle at the Meadowlands."

Before being hired as the 10th head coach in Kansas City Chiefs history, Edwards was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2001 to 2005. He is known for his gameday terminology, dubbed "Hermisms" by fans. Of these, the quote and sound bite, "You play to win the game!", a message that Edwards gave during a New York Jets press conference, became the title of his book, a collection of "leadership lessons" for the reader to use as personal motivation.


  • Playing career 1
  • Coaching career 2
    • Early years 2.1
    • New York Jets 2.2
      • Controversial departure from New York 2.2.1
    • Kansas City Chiefs 2.3
  • Head coaching record 3
  • "Hermisms" 4
    • With New York 4.1
    • With Kansas City 4.2
  • Personal 5
  • References and notes 6
  • External links 7

Playing career

Edwards was born on an Army base in Eatontown, New Jersey.[2] The son of an African American World War II veteran and his German wife, Edwards played college football at the University of California in 1972 and 1974, at Monterey Peninsula Junior College in 1973, and at San Diego State in his senior year, 1975. He graduated from SDSU with a degree in criminal justice. Edwards was very committed to the community he adopted on the Monterey Peninsula. He helped promote Monterey County Special Olympics for several years. His public involvement helped educate Monterey County residents about the importance of athletics with the developmentally disabled.

In the NFL, Edwards played nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1977 to 1986, making a championship appearance with the team in Super Bowl XV. His 33 career interceptions is one short of the franchise record. He never missed a game in his nine seasons with the Eagles, remaining active with the team for 135 consecutive regular-season games until being cut by then-incoming head coach Buddy Ryan in 1986. Edwards went on to play briefly for the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons in 1986 before announcing his retirement.

The highlight of Edwards' playing career occurred on November 19, 1978, in the final seconds of a game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. The Giants led 17-12 and the Eagles had no time-outs remaining; but instead of simply taking the snap from center and taking a knee, Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik attempted to hand the ball off to running back Larry Csonka. However, the ball came loose, and Edwards picked it up and returned it for a touchdown, enabling the Eagles to win 19-17. This play became known in Philadelphia as The Miracle at the Meadowlands and in New York as simply "The Fumble."

Philadelphia's implementation of the victory formation, which was designed as a result of The Miracle at the Meadowlands, was known as the "Herman Edwards play."

Coaching career

Early years

After his playing career ended, Edwards became a defensive assistant at San Jose State University (1987–1989), then was an NFL scout and defensive backs coach with the Kansas City Chiefs (1990–1995), for former Browns, Chiefs, Redskins, and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996–2000), he was a defensive backs/assistant head coach under Tony Dungy. On January 28, 2001, despite never having previously held a head coaching or coordinator position, Edwards was hired as head coach of the New York Jets .

New York Jets

In his five years as the Jets head coach, Edwards compiled a 39-41 record, including a 2-3 record in the playoffs and a 5-15 stretch during his final 20 regular season games with the club. Despite inheriting a veteran team with a strong 3-4 defense from 2006 NFL Draft. Overall, Edwards' tenure as head coach of the Jets was marred by chronic clock management problems, an ultra-conservative "play not to lose" mentality, and a lack of any discernible defensive philosophy, despite Edwards' supposed expertise in the Cover 2 defense.[3][4] The Jets replaced Edwards by hiring Eric Mangini, a senior assistant coach with the New England Patriots.

Controversial departure from New York

Following the 2005 season, Carl Peterson (president of the Kansas City Chiefs) hinted to the press about interest in hiring Edwards that could have been considered tampering. The Jets granted permission to the Chiefs to speak with Edwards.[5] At the time, Edwards had two years remaining on his contract with the Jets. However, Peterson wanted Edwards (a longtime personal acquaintance) to succeed head coach Dick Vermeil, who had just retired. As the rumors started swirling, a war of words between the two teams began to start up in the media. In the midst of all the speculation, Edwards tried to use what leverage he thought he had with the Jets to get a contract extension and hefty pay raise from the Jets, which only served to further anger the club's owner. Eventually, the two teams worked out a deal, and the Chiefs sent the Jets a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft as compensation (the Jets later used this selection to take Leon Washington).[6]

Kansas City Chiefs

On September 10, 2006, Edwards made his regular-season coaching debut with the Chiefs as the team lost at home to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-10. Edwards' first win with the Chiefs came on October 1, 2006 with a defeat of the San Francisco 49ers, 41-0 in, the third game of the season.

The 2006 Kansas City Chiefs season would see many highs and lows. Starting quarterback Trent Green suffered a serious concussion in the first game of the season. Despite Green's injury, the Chiefs continued to stay in contention, largely thanks to backup quarterback Damon Huard and Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson. In a move some considered controversial, Edwards chose to sit Huard and start Green when he returned from injury.[7] .[8] At the time, Huard's performance at quarterback was one of the best in the league, having thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception, averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt, and posting a quarterback rating of 98.0[9] (2nd best rating in the NFL, second to only Peyton Manning). Additionally, the Chiefs were 5-3 in games started by Huard in 2006. Upon his return, Green struggled and failed to perform at the level of play that he had achieved in previous seasons, throwing seven touchdowns (against nine interceptions) and going 4-4 as a starter.[4] Green's poor play led to Edwards placing more of the offensive burden on the shoulders of Larry Johnson, who ultimately ended up setting a record for rushing attempts in a season.

The Chiefs finished the 2006 season with a 9-7 record, edging out the Denver Broncos (who lost in OT to the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of the season) by divisional tiebreaker for second place in the AFC West, and making the playoffs as the sixth seed in the AFC. This was their first playoff appearance in the last 3 seasons, despite the 2005 Chiefs having had a better record at 10-6 the previous year.

On January 6, 2007, the Edwards-led Chiefs were soundly defeated by the Indianapolis Colts 23-8. In the first half, the Chiefs offense failed to produce a single first down. This was the first time in the modern NFL era (post AFL-NFL Merger), and the first time since 1960, that any team had been held without a first down in the first half of a playoff game [5].

Edwards' second regular season with the Chiefs began on September 9, 2007. Edwards streak of losses on opening day continued as the Chiefs lost to Houston Texans, by the score of 20-3. This loss marked the first time since the opening day of the 1970 season that the Chiefs had lost by a margin of 17 points on opening day, and was the first time in a decade that the Chiefs had been held to three points or less on opening day. The Chiefs under Edwards ended the 2007 season 4-12 with a nine-game losing streak, which tied the then-longest losing streak in the history of the Chiefs franchise.

In the 2007 season, the Chiefs were plagued with quarterback, running back, kicker and offensive coaching controversies. Damon Huard started the season and compiled a 4-5 record. He was benched in favor of Edwards' 2006 draft choice Brodie Croyle, who split time with Huard mid-season, was injured, then finished most of the season. Croyle played in a total of nine games and did not win any. Running back Larry Johnson injured his foot mid-season and was replaced by Priest Holmes who came out of retirement late in the year and was ineffective. Kicker Justin Medlock was Edwards' draft choice but was cut after the first game and replaced by Dave Rayner. He was cut late in the year and replaced with John Carney. Finally, after promoting Mike Solari from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator in 2007, Edwards fired Solari and replaced him with Chan Gailey in early 2008. He also fired his offensive line coach, receivers coach, and running backs coach.

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt set the tone for the 2008 season by expressing his support for Edwards and general manager Carl Peterson and their plan to rebuild the team. However, Clark did warn that he expected the Chiefs to be competitive for a playoff spot.

In an attempt to rebuild the team, the Chiefs cut numerous aging veterans in the offseason, and the team traded Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings. As a result, Edwards fielded one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Edwards' streak of opening day defeats continued as the Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots 17-10. The team eventually skidded to a franchise record of 12 consecutive regular-season defeats. The Chiefs finally ended the streak after defeating the Denver Broncos at home on September 28, 2008 by a score of 33-19. However, they were defeated the following week at the Carolina Panthers. During that game, the Chiefs only managed to gain 127 total yards, their worst performance in 22 years.

Edwards was relieved as coach of the Chiefs on January 23, 2009.

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYJ 2001 10 6 0 .625 3rd in AFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Oakland Raiders in AFC Wild-Card Game.
NYJ 2002 9 7 0 .562 1st in AFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to Oakland Raiders in AFC Divisional Game.
NYJ 2003 6 10 0 .375 4th in AFC East - - - -
NYJ 2004 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Divisional Game.
NYJ 2005 4 12 0 .250 4th in AFC East - - - -
NYJ Total 39 41 0 .487 2 3 .400
KC 2006 9 7 0 .562 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Wild-Card Game.
KC 2007 4 12 0 .250 3rd in AFC West - - - -
KC 2008 2 14 0 .125 4th in AFC West - - - -
KC Total 15 33 0 .313 0 1 .000
Total[10] 54 74 0 .422 2 4 .333


Edwards is known for his motivational speeches and soundbites given at press conferences. Edwards' popularity among motivational speaking has even led to the publication of his own book of quotes.

With New York

  • "This is what's great about sports. This is what the greatest thing about sports is. You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game. You don't play it to just play it. That's the great thing about sports: you play to win, and I don't care if you don't have any wins. You go play to win. When you start tellin' me it doesn't matter, then retire. Get out! 'Cause it matters." - Following a question from New York Times sports reporter Judy Battista's question on the team's ability to win, on October 30, 2002 after a Week 8 loss to the Cleveland Browns left them at 2–5. After this speech, the Jets, sparked by the debut of quarterback Chad Pennington, would go 7–2 and win the AFC Eastern Division Championship. For more see 2002 New York Jets season.

This monologue was later incorporated into a TV commercial for Coors Light beer.

With Kansas City

  • "I did a lot of preaching this week. I had my sermons ready. The good part is the congregation was listening. I wish I had passed the collection plate. I would’ve made a lot of money. But I did it for free." — Edwards, following a win against the Chargers in 2006.[11]
  • "When you're a head coach, you don't know where to stand," Edwards said. "You're screwed up. You go on the field, no one's talking to you. `Somebody's gonna talk to me.' You don't know what to do. So you go over and talk to the other head coach, and kind of shake his hand, then you go, `Where do I stand?'"[12] -- In an interview with South Florida Sun-Sentinel Reporter Ethan J. Skolnick.
  • "Let's not get this thing twisted and think we backed into this deal. We didn't lose, we won. Every team that played this weekend played at home and had an opportunity to get into the playoffs just like us. We just happened to win. What's wrong with that? So, let's not get it twisted and say, 'Well, they're lucky.' We didn't get lucky. We won." — Edwards defending the Chiefs' 9–7 record and entry to the playoffs in 2006-07.[13][14]
  • "When we score seven points, I’ll say we’re slow starting. If we score 21 points, I’ll say, ‘Whoa, we scored a lot of points.’ Twenty-one points – that’s a lot of points. Thirty points? That isn’t even a football game. That’s Arena Football. We’re talking about real football.” [15]
  • “People aren’t used to this in Kansas City. Get over it! It happens. It’s called life. You can’t think you’re too big that it’s not going to happen to you. It happens to everybody." [6] -- Edwards in a press conference after losing six consecutive games.


Edwards was born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Edwards is the son of Master Sergeant Herman Edwards, Sr., and Martha.[16] Herman Sr. met Martha while he was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. As a child, Edwards was a voracious reader but showed little interest in board games such as Monopoly and Risk.

Edwards graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. Edwards and his wife Lia have two daughters Gabrielle and Vivian. Edwards has a son Marcus from a previous relationship.[17]

Edwards has a 'tradition' of not watching the Super Bowl until he himself participates in one.[18] Edwards did not even watch his friends Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith participate in Super Bowl XLI.[18] Dungy had a tradition much like what Edwards does, that is, with the exceptions of Dungy's victories in both Super Bowls XIII and XLI.[18] Edwards broke that tradition when, to serve in his capacity as an analyst for ESPN, he watched Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.

Edwards has a strict workout regimen that has him in the gym at 5 in the morning six days a week.[19]

Instead of wearing athletic sneakers with his coaching attire, Edwards wears dress shoes. Before every game, Edwards polishes the shoes himself.[20]

Known widely for enthusiasm and faith-based personality, Edwards was born and raised Baptist, but converted with his family and is now a practicing Roman Catholic.

Edwards is known for keeping Fig Newtons in his refrigerator. According to Edwards, they are a reminder of where he's been in his life.[20]

Edwards grew up in Seaside, California and attended Monterey High School.

He appeared in the 2012 episode "Broke," part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series of sports documentaries. In 2013, Edwards will serve as a head coach in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.[21]

References and notes

  1. ^ Firing as Chiefs coach
  2. ^ Merrill, Elizabeth. "Coach driven by family, faith, footballDespite his years away, ties to KC, Chiefs remain strong", Kansas City Star, January 8, 2006. Accessed August 9, 2012. "Seventy-five miles from where his life started on an Army base in Eatontown, NJ, Edwards' New York minute is up."
  3. ^ "Herm Jet-Lagged Takes Blame In New Spin On Collapse". Daily News (New York). 16 November 2004. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Chiefs given permission to talk to Herm Edwards". Kansas City Chiefs official website. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  6. ^ "Herm Edwards named the 10th head coach in Kansas City Chiefs history". Kansas City Chiefs official website. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  7. ^ Huard shines again Kansas City Star, 1 January 2007.
  8. ^ Don’t swap while team clicking Kansas City Star, 8 November 2006.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Herman Edwards Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -
  11. ^ Schraeger, Peter. Get ready to meet Herm, 13 June 2007.
  12. ^,0,2578035.story?page=2&coll=sfla-sports-front
  13. ^ Whitlock, Jason "Herm covering Carl's goof," Kansas City Star, 2 January 2007
  14. ^ Wilbur, Eric. Natural Selection, 3 January 2007.
  15. ^ Herm's Game of Chess, 6 September 2007
  16. ^ Ryan Masters. "Mother-In-Chief". Carmel Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  17. ^ Karen Crouse (2005-08-11), Pro Football; Edwards keeps cool with baby on way, The New York Times
  18. ^ a b c Edwards enjoys quiet Super sunday Kansas City Star, 6 February 2007.
  19. ^ Jen Murphy (24 August 2005). "Jets Coach Sticks to an Intense Routine". Wall Street Journal Online. 
  20. ^ a b What you don't know about Herm, 25 September 2006.
  21. ^ Finley, Ryan (2013-01-08). "Arizona Wildcats football: Tutogi and Quinn accept invites to NFLPA Bowl".  

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from • Pro-Football-Reference
  • Collection of Herman Edwards Quotes and Videos
Preceded by
Tony Dungy
Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Backs Coach
Succeeded by
Kurt Schottenheimer
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