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Dr. O, Ron Erhardt, Passes Away at 81

Posted by Randy Lange on March 21, 2012 – 6:03 pm

We have sad news to report today on the death of Ron Erhardt, the Jets’ offensive coordinator in 1996 and their quarterbacks coach in Bill Parcells’ first year at the Green & White helm in 1997. Erhardt, 81, passed away this morning in Boca Raton, Fla.

His Jets stop was the final one in a strong career as an NFL assistant coach who had a knack for coaching in Super Bowls and an impressive nickname for his work with several offenses: Dr. O.

His first two championship games came as Parcells’ offensive coordinator for the Giants. Parcells, who had been Erhardt’s linebackers coach when Ron was the Patriots’ head coach for three seasons. Both Parcells and Erhardt were on Ray Perkins’ staff in ’82.

When Perkins departed for Alabama, Parcells became the Giants’ HC and Erhardt his OC. The two were on the staffs that guided the Giants to Super Bowl victories after the 1986 and ’90 seasons.

Erhardt left for Pittsburgh in ’92 and ran Bill Cowher’s offense for four seasons. The Steelers were a top-10 offense in three of those four years, led the NFL in rushing in 1994, and played in Super Bowl XXX.

In 1996 Rich Kotite brought Erhardt to the Jets and the offense was one of the few bright spots in the 1-15 season, tying for 12th in total yards and coming in 10th in passing yards despite having to transition at QB from an injured Neil O’Donnell to Frank Reich to Glenn Foley by season’s end.

Parcells returned to the metropolitan area to guide the Jets in ’97 and retained Erhardt for one more year. Then Ron left Bergen County for Florida, where he polished his golf game during the day before he and his wife, Anita, enjoyed the Boca night life and had the kids, sons Rob and Jim and daughters Jan and Jill, down as often as they could on the weekends.

In ’81, New England owner Billy Sullivan dismissed Erhardt two days after the Pats finished 2-14, reportedly saying, “Ron’s just too nice a guy.” I can attest to Ron’s niceness and decency and I also can say that he felt the Patriots gave him a short hook at the end of an injury-plagued season after his Pats went 19-13 in his first two seasons.

But Ron was a football lifer and he moved on to his next gig and the one after that. The former head coach at two North Dakota parochial high schools and North Dakota State never got another head-coaching nod, but he didn’t need one to leave a strong pro legacy.

At the risk of repeating myself from my profile on new Jets offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo from two weeks ago, he said he never met Erhardt but was benefitting from Dr. O’s work from many two decades before.

“People say this is Parcells’ system, but really, it’s Ron’s,” DeGuglielmo told me then. “Every offensive system has a way of calling things, identifying players and routes, things like that. This system has a very distinct way of calling plays and formations. It’s a traditional, professional, two-back, play-action type of offense, but it easily adapts to more open offenses. If you can use the term old-school, this system has old-school qualities with the flexibility to be new-school. The way we call it, you can go from traditional to spread out with ease.”

It would be a fitting tribute if the Jets of Rex Ryan, coordinator Tony Sparano and DeGuglielmo among others can take the system that Ron Erhardt helped shape and knock some aces into the cup in his honor this season.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Dr. O, Ron Erhardt, Passes Away at 81”

  1. By russ on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    great coach and a nice person …he deserves hall of fame…

  2. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry to hear about Ron, but I can’t say I’m sorry that he’s being spared the sight of what a joke this franchise has become.

  3. By wayne on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    RIP coach Erhardt.

  4. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    With rare exceptions (Slauson, Edwards), ya can still count on Joe Willie Whiteshoes: “Namath issued harsh criticism of the trade, calling it “a publicity stunt.” Namath said he hopes the trade falls through, which is a strong possibility.
    “Absolutely!” Namath said of voiding the trade. “And I’m a Tim Tebow fan. But I’m a bigger Jet fan than I am a Tim Tebow fan.” Back to more predictable Jet FO failures, you might recall back in December I said that Satele was being pushed out at C on OAK and would be a good backup for us. Too late, the Fish just signed him while we’re fooling around with Tebow, Stanton, and other mismanagement of the O. That’s it for me today, getalife, I’m off to Malibu for dinner and drinks with some swimsuit models…

  5. By oasus on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Erhardt for jets ring of honor

  6. By walt on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Randy I was wondering if the 2.5 million dollars we had to pay Denver for the Tebow trade wiil go against our salary cap this year.

  7. By wayne on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Joe Namath said it best, “they don’t know what they’re doing over there”. Mark Sanchez had better come out like gangbusters, because not only will there be problems in his locker room, they’ll be calling for his replacement in that stadium…………..Especially in games where Timmy is particularly effective………………Boys competition has arrived and neither T or Rex will be able to control it……….Mark better come out fast.His tail is in the fire now.

  8. By Dug on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Welcome to The Jets Tim !
    Looking forward to seeing what He does through you here !!! P.T.L.

  9. By karan on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    I feel bad for Mark Sanchez. This proves the team has no faith in him because thats really so sad. I mean the guy is only 25, has four road playoff wins in his young career and the Jets pull this stunt. Give him a chance dang it, he’s only completed his 3rd season.

  10. By karan on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    So Tim had a chance of choosing Jacksonville and New York and he ends up chosing New York. Tim, I’ve always liked ya but you would have been a great fit in Jacksonville. Joe Namath certainly wasn’t pleased about this, can’t blame him. Well, now that Tim is in New York, I’m assuming it won’t be long term, at least I hope not.

  11. By MIKE on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    RIP Doc. I hope the D gets back to where it was two years ago. Even if Jets QB situation works out which would mean Sanchez would attempt around 20 passes a game and Tebow does his wildcat thing, it will mean Jets D will have the pressure on them.The acquisition of Tebow does take pressure off Jets to acquire a RB. A little off topic but what what do you guys think of MLB Hightower from Alabama at 16 if some other players are gone?

  12. By DKM on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    Sad RIP ……… Dr.O…… Mr. Erhardt

  13. By DKM on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    I have to let my feelings go on this make no sense deal. Im trying hard to find out what the thinking behind this senseless act was…… guess what i cant find it. Im awstruck, dumbfounded and neverless disappointed in the FO, and in hinside schould have known that only and only my beloved Jets would do something like this.
    I will not look further for answers how this is possiblely working cause there is none.
    However im glad to inform anybody who wants to know that im willing once again to fork over $ 2500 bucks to be part of this Circus.

  14. By DKM on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    I will also absolutly concede to the likes of JFS64, joe, wayne and so on that im running next to your Bandwagoon, im not on it yet, but ill get there.

    Let it be known that i have bin strongly advocating along side JFS64 for Woody to sell the Team to a investor group lead by CURTIS MARTIN & PEOPLE who at least pretend to care for the JETS & there FANS. This is not how you run your business thats clearly how you run it into the ground if you happen to have to much Money and treat your Football Team as TOY, JIM DOLAN anybody.

  15. By DKM on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    I also will not surrender my Tickets to any Holy Man interested, alltough i have to admit and i apolegize for my weak Moment there that i thought about it.

    But Mr. T and FO, i bleed green and i always will, your inceserity hurts me deeply and it can only be forgiven with a SB WIN, otherwise as in any business this is considert a unforgivable error wich only can be correctet with your resegnation or fireing.

    Yes i admit that i was giving you any benefit of a doubt to right this ship, but you also will bring me slowly but surly to my knees and have me whining as so many other good faithfull Jets fans. IM BEATEN.

  16. By Tom Spicer on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    A 4th & a 6th round pick plus $5,000,000 for Tebow THIS IS A TERRIBLE TRADE. MR.T really does not know what he is doing. Woody is more concered with selling luxury suites, psl seats & jerseys. He does not care about winning this trade will set the Jets back 5 to 10 years. The 1st incompletion Mark has the crowd will boo, the 1st pick he has the crowd will scream for Tebow & the 1st bad game he has the who world will want Tebow to play. We will then sit for ANOTHER 3 years & watch Tebow flop. At this point we will have to go out & draft another rookie & it will take years to know if he is the guy or not. THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAVE POSSIBLY HAPPENED!

  17. By Tom Spicer on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    Well you did it now MR.T you are only concered with the back page of the paper & not winning. You just made 100% sure the Mark will NEVER succedd as the QB of the Jets. You might as well cut him now! But 3 weeks from now Woody will be happy cause Tebows Jet Jersey will be a #1 seller!

  18. By DKM on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    What do we know, this Offseason has bin a total Rollercoaster ride more and more with a Crash ending instead the WOW feeling.
    And i dont know what else to suggsest to anybody here what to do in FA cause it sure has backfired 10fold this Offseason.
    This looks more like the NY KNICKS in there heydays under Isaiah Thomas.

    Linsanity and Tebowmania in the same Town is a lot to take at this point, with no relieve in side.
    Thank GOD only 2 Weeks till Opening Day and i hope my Yankees will make this pain all go away and i have the 28 WS to look forward to.

  19. By DKM on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    joe, maybe you schould have waited a little longer buying a computer this is not a good time to come back, could have saved yourself a lot of aggrevation and Dough.

  20. By AK_Jet on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    I’m all for it, the less snaps Sanchez has the better! Better yet, let’s have McElroy and Tebow split snaps. To be honest I wasn’t for us getting Tebow, but that’s using my own understanding, something in my heart says this will be good for us.

  21. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    DKM and Spicer, what did I say a few days ago? I said you can’t trust anybody who’s not honest with you and in Mr T and Rex, we have the 2 most dishonest Jet figures of all time. They’re a disgrace to the Jets, to New York City, to the NFL. But my question for YOU is, why have you fallen for it for so long? Why did you defend Rex when he lied about Clowney, Woodhead, Turner, Cook, T Wilson, and most of all about his belief in Sanchez? Why did you fall for it when Mr T and Rex just kept saying “Mark’s the starter”? And then went after Manning? And then pretended Stanton was any good? And now pretend they know what they’re doing? Why do you set yourself up for misery time after time out of perverse (in that it’s self-destructive) “loyalty”?

  22. By Tom Spicer on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64, Because I am a long time suffering Jet fan (is there any other kind?) I bleed green & love my team but a day like to day it is very VERY hard to be a Jet fan. This does not make FOOTBALL sense it will only hurt our QB. There is nothing positive that come come of this but money which is all it seems they care about.

  23. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 22, 2012 | Reply

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Spice. Like I’ve said, I’ve started to put Sanchez down as a 1-in-4 shot to become a great QB but if you’re gonna give him more chances to become that QB — and extending his contract and talking about how great he is would seem to indicate that you are — why in the world would you bring in a distraction like Tebow and more use of the Wildcat? While I wouldn’t like it, I’d better understand just trading Sanchez, keeping Tebow, and saying, “We think Tebow’s gonna be better, we’re giving him the job.” But it seems obvious that you’re right about money or rather about hype, which Woody and Mr T seem to think leads to money. What it usually leads to is misery. The route to money in the NFL is to build a dynasty.

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