Born: April 27, 1954
Town: Eatontown, New Jersey
Herman Edwards Jr. was born April 27, 1954 at Ft. Monmouth in Eatontown. His mother, Martha, was born in Germany and lived through World War II as a teenager. She met Herman Sr., a Master Sargeant in the Army, while working in the PX at a base in Gelnhausen in 1947. They were married in 1953 and, when Herman was five, moved back to Europe after another transfer. Eventually the family settled in Seaside, in Northern California. Herman was a Cowboys fan as a boy, His favorite player was Bob Hayes—so much so that his friends called him Mr. Bob.
Herman attended Monterey High School and starred for Dan Albert’s Toreadores football squad. Although he loved to read, Herman had little interest in academics when he began high school, but Coach Albert mentored him and gave him perspective on the value of a good education. In Herman’s three years on the team, Monterey High lost just one game. A total of five players from the squad in the early 1970s went on to star in the college ranks. Herman was a lock-down defensive back. As a senior in 19712, he intercepted 22 passes and led his team to a state championship.
Herman was recruited by the University of California and played for the varsity in 1972. He took a year off and attended Monterey Peninsula Junior College in 1973, then returned to Cal for the 1974 season. He transferred to San Diego State for his senior season, but went undrafted in 1976. In 1977, he made the Philadelphia Eagles as a walk-on and earned a starting spot at cornerback in training camp. He intercepted 6 passes as a rookie. He followed that up with a 7-interception season in 1978.
Herman gained eternal fame late in the 1978 season when he pounced on a botched handoff between Joe Pisarcik and Larry Csonka as the Giants were trying to run out the clock with seconds left in the fourth quarter. He ran the ball into the end zone for a miraculous victory.
In 1980, the Eagles won the NFC title but lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl. Herman played five more seasons with the Eagles, starting every one of his 135 games with the club. He played one final season in 1986 after new coach Buddy Ryan cut him, splitting time between the Rams and Falcons before retiring at age 32. His 33 career interceptions ranked second all-time among Philadelphia defenders.
Herman embarked on his coaching career in 1987, starting at his alma mater San Diego State as a defensive assistant. In 1990, he joined Marty Schottenheimer’s staff with the Kansas City Chiefs. That staff also included Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy. In 1996, Dungy brought him to Tampa Bay to be his assistant head coach, In 2001, the New York Jets hired Herman to be their head coach. He immediately revamped the defense, and got the team to the playoffs his first two seasons. Both years, New York lost to the Oakland Raiders. After missing the postseason in 2003, the Jets returned to the playoffs in 2005, but lost to the Steelers. In 2006, Herman was “traded” to the Chiefs for a draft pick (which turned out to be Leon Washington). He replaced his former coach, Dick Vermeil, who had announced his retirement.
Herman’s first year as KC coach saw him take the Chiefs to the playoffs as a Wild Card despite injuries to key players. They lost in the first round to the Colts. After a 4–3 start in 2007, the Chiefs lost 9 straight to finish 4–12. Once again, the club was hobbled by injuries, especially on offense. A decision was made to rebuild, and after trading and cutting a number of veterans, Herman found himself coaching one of the youngest teams in the NFL in 2008. The result was a 2–14 record, and a pink slip at the end of the season. He took a job as a football analyst with ESPN and continued to work as a motivational speaker. Herman is also involved in several charities.
NJ Football History
It Happened in Jersey