FILE – In this Dec. 29, 2013 file photo, former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant bids farewell to the Metrodome during a ceremony following the game against the Detroit Lions. On Saturday, March 11, 2023, Grant passed away at the age of 95. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Bud Grant, the stoic and demanding Hall of Fame coach who led the Minnesota Vikings and their Purple People Eaters defense to four Super Bowls in eight years and lost all of them, has died. He was 95 years old.
The Vikings announced Grant’s death on social media Saturday.
We are absolutely devastated to announce that legendary Minnesota Vikings coach and Hall of Famer Bud Grant passed away this morning at the age of 95. “We, like all Vikings and NFL fans, are shocked and saddened by the terrible news.”
Always wearing the purple Vikings cap and with his tough demeanor, his unwavering countenance became the face of his teams. He guided the Vikings from 1967-1985 with a bye in 1984 and finished with a 158-96-5 record, 11 division championships in 18 seasons. He went 10-12 in the postseason.
When Grant retired, he was the eighth-winningest coach in the NFL.
He was a mainstay among the coaches of his day, a decorated group that included Don Shula, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, John Madden and Hank Stram. But Grant had little interest in individual recognition.
“The only reason I see that a coach gets credit for something good is that he gets blamed when something goes wrong,” he said at one point. “The secret is not to react in the good and bad.”
After replacing Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin, Grant formed a renowned defensive line known as the Purple People Eaters. The line, whose motto was “See you at the quarterback” was coupled with a powerful offense that led Minnesota to the Super Bowl in 1970, the last edition of the great game before the AFL-NFL merger.
“If you’re going to succeed, survive is a better word,” Grant said at the 1994 Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio. “You have to face losses. You die every time you lose, but you have to get over it.”
He is survived by his partner, Pat Smith, six children, 19 grandchildren, and through 2021, 13 great-grandchildren. His wife of 59 years, Patricia, passed away in 2009. One of his sons, Mike Grant, built a strong football program at Eden Prairie High School, 15 minutes from his father’s house, and won 11 state championships in 22 years. between 1996 and 2017.
FILE – In this Dec. 14, 1980 photo, Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant smiles as he walks into the locker room with his arms around linebacker Matt Blair after beating the Cleveland Browns. On Saturday, March 11, 2023, Grant passes away at the age of 95. (AP Photo/File)