NFL News of January 3, 2003

If Sid Gillman wasn’t the father of the modern passing game, he was its doting uncle_always coaching, teaching, studying, tweaking, praising the virtues of the forward pass.

A Hall of Fame coach and offensive innovator, Gillman devoted his life to football from his early days at Miami of Ohio and the University of Cincinnati to nurturing the upstart American Football League in the early 1960s.

Gillman, 91, died at home in his sleep early Friday, according to his wife of 67 years, Esther.

Gillman coached the Los Angeles Rams from 1955-59 and the Chargers in Los Angeles and San Diego from 1960-69—their first 10 years of existence—and again in 1971.

…Fired in 1959 as coach of the Los Angeles Rams after five seasons of turmoil with headstrong quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, Gillman lent instant class and organizational skill to the AFL as coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, who moved to San Diego in 1961.

Gillman’s four-man staff in those days included Chuck Noll, who was to win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Al Davis, now managing general partner of the Oakland Raiders. With the Rams, Gillman gave George Allen his first coaching job.

— Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune “Gillman, innovative NFL coach, dies at 91”

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