Jack Patera

John Arlen Patera (August 1, 1933 – October 31, 2018) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League. He played for the Baltimore Colts, Chicago Cardinals, and Dallas Cowboys, and was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and Minnesota Vikings. Patera was the first head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, with a career head coaching record of 35–59–0 (.372), all with the Seahawks.

Jack Patera
No. 61, 56
Personal information
Born:August 1, 1933
Bismarck, North Dakota
Died:October 31, 2018 (aged 85)
Cle Elum, Washington
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:234 lb (106 kg)
Career information
High school:Portland (OR) Washington
NFL Draft:1955 / Round: 4 / Pick: 44
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:61
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Early years

Born in Bismarck, North Dakota, Patera attended Washington High School in Portland, Oregon.[1] Upon graduation in 1951, he enrolled at the University of Oregon in Eugene,[2] where he played college football for the Ducks from 1951 through 1954, earning All-Pacific Coast Conference honors as a guard in his senior year. He was selected to play in the East–West Shrine Game,[3] the Hula Bowl,[4] and the College All-Star Game (in August 1955).[5]

In 1982, Patera was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.[6] In 2000, he was inducted into the University of Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Baltimore Colts

Patera was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the fourth round (44th overall) of the 1955 NFL Draft. Although he was the left guard as a rookie, because of an injury to the starting middle linebacker, he was forced to play both offense and defense for three weeks, before concentrating fully on being the team's middle linebacker.

Patera played linebacker for three seasons under head coach Weeb Ewbank. After choosing not to switch back to offense, he was released on September 15, 1958.

Chicago Cardinals

Two days later on September 17, Patera was signed by the Chicago Cardinals and played for two seasons under head coach Frank Ivy.

Dallas Cowboys

In 1960, Patera was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the expansion draft. Under head coach Tom Landry, he was designated as the first starting middle linebacker in franchise history. His playing career ended early when he re-injured his knee in the fourth game of the season against the Cleveland Browns. He was replaced with Jerry Tubbs.

Patera returned in 1961, but played in only two games and retired at the end of the season after not being fully recovered from his previous injury.

Coaching career

Assistant coach

His playing days over, Patera turned his attention to coaching and joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1963 as a defensive line coach. During his tenure with the Rams from 1963 to 1967, he was responsible for directing the Fearsome Foursome, one of the most dominating defensive lines in the NFL during the sixties.

In 1968, Patera became an assistant coach for the New York Giants, but left after one year to take an assistant coaching position with the Minnesota Vikings under head coach Bud Grant. As defensive line coach with the Vikings from 1969 through 1975, Patera worked with another very talented and dominant defensive line, nicknamed the Purple People Eaters. During this period, the Vikings went to three Super Bowls (IV, VIII, IX).

Head coach

In January 1976, Patera was hired as the head coach for the expansion Seattle Seahawks.[1][7] Shortly after arriving, he began the difficult task of building a competitive team from the ground up. Along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seahawks selected 39 players through the expansion draft on March 30–31.[8] The other 26 teams each protected 29 players on their rosters; Seattle and Tampa Bay alternated selections from the remaining pool of unprotected players. Acquiring quality veteran players via free agency was not an aspect of the league at that time. However, the Seahawks were awarded the second overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, a pick they used on defensive tackle Steve Niehaus, an All-America defensive tackle at Notre Dame, who went on to be a bust in the NFL, unlike fellow Fighting Irish defensive linemen Ross Browner and Mike Fanning, each of whom went on to start in a Super Bowl and enjoyed lengthy professional careers.[9]

Since he would not have the player talent to compete with other NFL teams possessing superior power, speed and finesse, Patera resorted to a wide-open gambling style offense that was centered around a passing game using lots of creative gadget plays. "I had a team that could move the ball like hell, but couldn’t stop anybody." Patera said. "So I figured that to win more ballgames we’d simply have to gamble more often. I would much rather have beaten teams on muscle and execution, but we just didn’t have the talent."[10]

Even with the lack of talent, Patera still found a way to win games, but in 1976, the Seahawks had a 2–12 record, typical for a first year expansion team. The season showed promise for the future with quarterback Jim Zorn and wide receiver Steve Largent beginning to develop into a potent offensive combination and behind them, Seattle posted a 5–9 record in 1977. When the Seahawks improved to 9–7 in their third season, Patera was voted the NFL Coach of the Year in 1978 by the Associated Press and The Sporting News. The Seahawks were 9–7 again in 1979, but had disappointing losing seasons in 1980 (4–12) and 1981 (6–10).

As a head coach, Patera was considered to be a stern disciplinarian with strict rules of conduct. For example, he required players to hold their helmets a certain way on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem. His players were required to wear coats and ties when traveling on the road. One of his most controversial rules was that he wouldn't allow players to have water breaks during practices at training camp in Cheney in eastern Washington, where temperatures frequently reached above 90 °F (32 °C) in July and August.

Patera's relationship with the local press in Seattle was stormy at times. He did not enjoy the constant questions about his coaching decisions and the dissection of his teams performance by the sports reporters. He once held a seven-second press conference after a particularly difficult loss in Seattle. After asking, "Any questions?", he left the room when reporters started giggling when none of them spoke up.

In 1982, the players' association (NFLPA) was threatening to strike over deadlocked negotiations with NFL team owners to give a percentage of the gross revenues for player salaries. Patera's relationship with his players rapidly deteriorated when he first threatened and then fined players for participating in a union solidarity handshake with the opposing team at midfield during pre-season games (actually it was team management that made the decision; GM John Thompson was a former head of the NFL bargaining committee). When Sam McCullum, a popular player and union representative, was cut by Patera one week before the season started, it was speculated the release was done as retaliation for McCullum's union activities.[11] The release was eventually ruled an illegal termination in an "Unfair Labor Practice" lawsuit brought against the team by the NFLPA and McCullum.

After losing the first two games of the 1982 season, Patera was fired by the Seahawks on October 13, along with general manager Thompson.[12][13] The announcement was made by John Nordstrom, representing the Nordstrom family as majority owners. The firing occurred during the 57-day NFL players strike which had started on September 21. He was replaced by Mike McCormack, the Seahawks director of football operations, as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 1982 season.[14]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SEA 1976 2 12 0 .143 5th in NFC West
SEA 1977 5 9 0 .357 5th in AFC West
SEA 1978 9 7 0 .563 T-2nd in AFC West
SEA 1979 9 7 0 .563 T-3rd in AFC West
SEA 1980 4 12 0 .250 5th in AFC West
SEA 1981 6 10 0 .375 5th in AFC West
SEA 1982 0 2 0 .000
SEA total 35 59 0 .372
Total 35 59 0 .372

Personal life

After leaving the Seahawks, Patera never took another coaching position and completely retired from football. He resided east of Seattle in Cle Elum with his three dogs. He and his wife, Susan, were divorced after 44 years of marriage. They had four children, 9 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren.[2]

Patera was the older brother of Olympic weightlifter and professional wrestler Ken Patera and San Francisco 49ers player Dennis Patera.

On a morning deer hunt east of Eugene in 1954, Patera accidentally shot and killed former Oregon teammate Ken Sweitzer, a graduate assistant with the team.[15][16] It was ruled accidental and he was cleared of negligence.[17]

Patera died at the age of 85 from pancreatic cancer on October 31, 2018.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Patera explains his views". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 5, 1976. p. 2C.
  2. ^ a b Baker, Geoff (January 22, 2015). "Catching up with Jack Patera, the Seahawks' first coach". Seattle Times.
  3. ^ Strite, Dick (January 2, 1955). "East nips West 13-12". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1C.
  4. ^ "Hula Bowl slated in Honolulu Sunday". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 7, 1955. p. 2B.
  5. ^ "All-Stars beat Browns 30-27". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. August 13, 1955. p. 7.
  6. ^ "Hall of Fame Roll of Honor Members". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  7. ^ ""D" key to success". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 6, 1976. p. 15.
  8. ^ "Seattle, Tampa begin drafting". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. March 30, 1976. p. 2C.
  9. ^ Kristopher Jones (February 15, 2005). "Jack Patera: America Loves an Underdog". Scout.com. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Feathering a nest of Seahawks". Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Seahawks may strike Sunday". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. September 8, 1982. p. 27.
  12. ^ Cour, Jim (October 14, 1982). "Patera fired". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. 29.
  13. ^ "Do Seahawks want James?". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 14, 1982. p. 1C.
  14. ^ The Hawkstorian (February 16, 2005). "Mike McCormack: The Interim Genius". Scout.com. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  15. ^ "Shot kills ex-Oregon grid star". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). October 14, 1954. p. 1A.
  16. ^ "Tragedy stuns Oregon squad". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. October 15, 1954. p. 14.
  17. ^ "Patera cleared of negligence". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). October 15, 1954. p. 1A.
  18. ^ Condotta, Bob (October 31, 2018). "Jack Patera, first coach of Seahawks, dies at 85". Seattle Times.
1954 All-Pacific Coast football team

The 1954 All-Pacific Coast Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Pacific Coast teams for the 1954 college football season.

1960 NFL expansion draft

The 1960 NFL expansion draft was the first National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Dallas Rangers, selected its initial players. The NFL awarded Dallas, Texas a franchise to compete for revenue with Lamar Hunt's Dallas Texans of the upstart American Football League. The Dallas expansion franchise was approved too late for it to participate in the 1960 NFL draft which had been held on November 30, 1959. Dallas is the only NFL expansion team to not have had the benefit of a college draft in its first year.So that the Rangers (Cowboys) could become competitive with existing teams, the league gave them the opportunity to select current players from existing teams. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on March 13, 1960. In this draft, the Rangers chose 36 players from the existing 12 teams. The NFL also assigned the rights to 1960 NFL draft picks Don Meredith (who had been drafted by the Chicago Bears) and Don Perkins (drafted by the Baltimore Colts) to the Cowboys for a couple of future draft picks.22 players made the active roster that season. 11 players played only one year with Dallas. Eight players (including Jack Patera, who was injured early in the 1961 season) played in 1960 and 1961. The three remaining players from the draft started for several years, including: Bob Fry, Tackle, 1960–64; Jerry Tubbs, Linebacker, 1960–66; and Frank Clarke, Wide Receiver, 1960–67.On March 19, 1960, the Rangers renamed themselves the Cowboys.

1961 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1961 Dallas Cowboys season was their second in the National Football League. The team finished with 4 wins, 9 losses, and 1 tie, placing them 6th in the Eastern Conference.

1976 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1976 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's first season with the National Football League. The 1976 season was the team's only one in the NFC until the league realigned divisions before the 2002 season, at which point the Seahawks were once again placed in the NFC West. The Seahawks obtained a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee from the Houston Oilers, who had drafted receiver Steve Largent in the 4th round in 1976. Largent would go on to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, making it to seven Pro Bowls and recording over 13,000 receiving yards in a 13-year career with the Seahawks.

However, before the Seahawks even played their first game, tragedy struck, as the team's owner Lloyd W. Nordstrom, died from a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico. Nordstrom had been instrumental in landing an NFL team in the Pacific Northwest, and hiring the front office, but he never had a chance to see his team take the field. The Seahawks, coached by Jack Patera, played their first game on September 12 in a sold-out Kingdome. The Seahawks played a solid game, but had their desperation final pass intercepted in the endzone in a 30-24 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Seahawks would go on to lose their first five games, before beating the Buccaneers, their brothers in expansion, 13-10 in Tampa on October 17. Three weeks later, the Seahawks would earn their first home victory by beating the Atlanta Falcons 30-13 behind the 124-yard effort of running back Sherman Smith. These two wins would be the only ones in the season, as the first-year team compiled a record of 2-12.

1978 NFL season

The 1978 NFL season was the 59th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.

The season ended with Super Bowl XIII when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

The average salary for a player in 1978 was under $62,600, up 13.2 percent over the previous year. Fran Tarkenton was the highest-paid quarterback at $360,000 and running back O. J. Simpson was the highest paid player, at just under $733,400.

1978 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1978 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's third season in the National Football League. The Seahawks won nine games, giving the franchise its first winning season. Coach Jack Patera won the National Football League Coach of the Year Award at seasons end.

Led by the third ranked offense, the team had some achievements. David Sims led the AFC in total touchdowns (TDs) – 15, including 14 rushing – and the team had 28 rushing TDs, number two in the league. Steve Largent made his first Pro Bowl with 71 receptions and 8 TDs. Quarterback Jim Zorn earned his sole All-Pro honor of his career by making the second team. The defense, however, lagged far behind ranking 26th.

Season highlights included defeating the Oakland Raiders twice and a last-second win over the Minnesota Vikings. Also a memorable game was a 20–17 loss in overtime to the Denver Broncos. Following an interception of a Jim Zorn pass off of a deflection, in overtime, the Broncos drove to the 1 yard line, but could not punch it in for a TD. Jim Turner missed an 18-yard field goal attempt, but the Seahawks were penalized for having 12 men on the field and the Broncos made the second kick. A 37–10 defeat in San Diego in week 15 eliminated the Seahawks from playoff contention, but a 23–19 win at home against Kansas City gave the team their first winning season.

1981 NFL season

The 1981 NFL season was the 62nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVI when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26–21 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan.

1982 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1982 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's seventh season with the National Football League, which was interrupted by a 57-day players strike, which began on September 21, after the second game.

The Seahawks lost their first two games, and three weeks into the strike, head coach Jack Patera and general manager John Thompson were fired on Wednesday, October 13, and Mike McCormack took over as head coach for the remainder of the season.

After the strike ended in November, the Seahawks won twice to even their record at 2–2, then lost a close game to the Los Angeles Raiders. After beating the Bears the next week, the team was upset 16–0 in the Kingdome by the New England Patriots. Seattle finished at 4–5 and missed the expanded playoffs as the second team out in the tiebreaker.

Al Darby

Alvis Russell Darby (born September 14, 1954) is an American former college and professional football player who was a tight end for two seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Darby played college football for the University of Florida, and was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the 1976 NFL Draft. He also played professionally for the NFL's Houston Oilers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dennis Patera

Dennis Allen Patera (born October 17, 1945) is a former American football placekicker who played one season with the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the 49ers in the seventeenth round of the 1968 NFL Draft. He first enrolled at Columbia Basin College before transferring to Brigham Young University. Patera attended Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon.

Jim L. Mora

James Lawrence Mora (born November 19, 1961) is an American football coach who was most recently the head coach of the UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. Prior to taking the job at UCLA, Mora served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL), coaching the Atlanta Falcons from 2004 to 2006 and Seattle Seahawks in 2009. He has also served as an analyst for NFL Network and Fox Sports.

Mora played college football with the Washington Huskies from 1980 to 1983, and began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 1984. He is the son of retired NFL head coach Jim E. Mora.

Ken Patera

Kenneth Wayne Patera (born November 6, 1942) is an American retired professional wrestler, Olympic weightlifter, and strongman competitor from the United States.

List of Seattle Seahawks head coaches

The Seattle Seahawks are a professional American football team based in Seattle, Washington. They are members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, joined the NFL in 1976 as expansion teams. The Seahawks are the only team to have played in both the American Football Conference (AFC) and NFC Championship Games. The team has made three Super Bowl appearances; they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL, before winning Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks then lost Super Bowl XLIX to the New England Patriots.

There have been eight coaches for the Seahawks franchise. The team's current coach, Pete Carroll, joined the team in 2010. Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks' sixth coach, has the team records for the most games coached (160, with 10 playoff games), wins (86), and losses (74). Tom Flores, who coached the team from 1991 to 1994, was the team's least successful coach with a winning percentage of .292. Mike McCormack is the only Seahawks coach to have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

List of Seattle Seahawks seasons

This article is a compilation of the list of seasons completed by the Seattle Seahawks American football franchise of the National Football League (NFL). The list documents the season-by-season records of the Seahawks' franchise from 1976 to present, including postseason records, and league awards for individual players or head coaches. As of the end of the 2018 NFL season, the Seahawks have 23 winning seasons, 17 losing seasons, and 4 seasons where they finished 8–8. With a 35–6 Week 14 win over the Baltimore Ravens on December 13 during the 2015 season, not only did the Seahawks improved to 8–5 at that point in the season, but the Seahawks' all–time franchise regular season win–loss record improved to 313–312–0; this marked the first time ever in team history that the Seahawks have had an overall winning regular season win–loss record (a win–loss record above .500). The Seahawks are the one of four North American men's professional sports teams that have played in Seattle with an all–time winning record, after the Seattle Metropolitans (the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917, folded in 1924), the Seattle SuperSonics (who relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in the summer of 2008), and the Seattle Sounders FC (established in 2007 as an expansion franchise, currently active). Therefore, the Seahawks are currently one of two active North American men's professional sports team located in Seattle with an overall winning record. On October 23, 2016, the Seahawks played the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium and the game ended in a 6–6 tie after OT, which was the first time this ever happened in franchise history.

Mike McCormack (American football)

Michael Joseph McCormack (June 21, 1930 – November 15, 2013) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played with the Cleveland Browns from 1954 through 1962 and served as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Colts and the Seattle Seahawks. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

National Football League Coach of the Year Award

The National Football League Coach of the Year Award is presented annually by various news and sports organizations to the National Football League (NFL) head coach who has done the most outstanding job of working with the talent he has at his disposal. Currently, the most widely recognized award is presented by the Associated Press (AP), although in the past several awards received press recognition. First presented in 1957, the AP award did not include American Football League (AFL) teams. The Sporting News has given a pro football coach of the year award since 1947 and in 1949 gave its award to a non-NFL coach, Paul Brown of the All-America Football Conference's Cleveland Browns. Other NFL Coach of the Year awards are presented by Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America and the Maxwell Football Club. The United Press International (UPI) NFL Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1955. From 1960 to 1969, before the AFL–NFL merger, an award was also given to the most outstanding coach from the AFL. When the leagues merged in 1970, separate awards were given to the best coaches from the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC). The UPI discontinued the awards after 1996.

Oregon Sports Hall of Fame

The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame honors Oregon athletes, teams, coaches, and others who have made a significant contribution to sports in Oregon. The first class was inducted in 1980, with new inductees added in the fall. Operated by the Oregon Sports Trust, the museum is currently closed in preparation for moving to another facility.

Steve Raible

Steven Carl Raible (born June 2, 1954) is a weeknight news anchor for KIRO 7 in Seattle, Washington and the voice play-by-play radio commentator for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was a player for the Seahawks for six seasons.

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