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Former Cardinals head coach Joe Bugel dead at 80

Head coach Joe Bugel of the Phoenix Cardinals signals to his players during a football game against the Washington Redskins on September 15, 1991 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Former Cardinals head coach Joe Bugel died Sunday at the age of 80.

Bugel was the head coach of the then-Phoenix Cardinals from 1990-93 and was the 34th head coach in franchise history.

“Joe impacted so many people in his 80 years of life and nearly 50 years coaching football,” Cardinals owner and president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to every one of them but especially to his wife Brenda and the entire Bugel family.

“His accomplishments as one of our sport’s truly legendary coaches speaks for themselves. But the first thing I think of is how he lived his life and the kind of quality human being Joe Bugel was. We join all those who today celebrate his remarkable life and mourn his passing.”

During his time in Arizona, Bugel compiled a 20-44 record (.313). His best season as a member of the Cardinals came in 1993, when he 7-9 (.438).

Bugel, who was well-known for his offensive line work, got his start in the NFL in 1975 as an offensive assistant for the Detroit Lions. He later joined the Oilers (1977) in the same role for four seasons before accepting the role of offensive coordinator with the Joe Gibbs-led Washington Redskins (1981-89).

Coining “The Hogs” term in 1982, Bugel helped create a dominating offensive line. With Bugel at the helm, the Redskins scored a then-league high in points in 1983 (541), and had four 1,000-yard rushers. Bugel was a part of three Super Bowls, winning two of them as a member of the Washington franchise.

Following his stint in Phoenix, Bugel headed to Oakland as a Raiders’ assistant coach to the offense from 1995 to 1996. He took over head coaching duties in 1997, going 4-12.

He also made a stop in San Diego (1998-01), acting as the Chargers’ offensive line coach before finishing his career back with the Redskins in the same role (2004-09).


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