Former Patriots, Colts Coach Ron Meyer Dies at Age 76

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 1:  Head Coach Ron Meyer of the Indianapolis Colts reacts on the sidelines against the New York Jets during an NFL football game November 1, 1987 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Meyer was the head coach of the Colts from 1986-91. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Former NFL and college football head coach Ron Meyer died at the age of 76, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed Tuesday night. 

Meyer coached the New England Patriots from 1982 to 1984 and led the Colts from 1986 to 1991. Prior to arriving in the NFL, he was the SMU Mustangs' head coach for six seasons.

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, who played under Meyer for his first three years at SMU, remembered Meyer on Twitter:

Meyer helped lay the foundation for the most successful era of Mustangs football. SMU won 10 games in his final year (1981) and then notched 31 wins for Meyer's replacement, Bobby Collins, over the next three seasons.

The rise and fall of SMU football in the 1980s was the subject of ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Pony Excess.

The Patriots reached the playoffs in Meyer's first year after compiling a 5-4 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season. During a December game against the Miami Dolphins that year, Meyer famously called a timeout so a stadium maintenance worker, Mark Henderson, could plow snow away from the spot where kicker John Smith was going to attempt a 33-yard field goal.

"[Meyer] finally spotted me and comes running after me waving his arms, and he said, 'Get out there and do something,'" Henderson said in a 2010 interview with the Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld. "I knew exactly what he meant, so I jumped on the tractor and proceeded to go out on the 20-yard line, where I was supposed to be."

Henderson recounted how backup quarterback Matt Cavanaugh, who was the holder on the field goal, showed him exactly where to plow. Smith made the field goal, and the Patriots beat the Dolphins 3-0.

Meyer also made a playoff appearance with the Colts in 1987, which was the franchise's first trip to the postseason since moving to Indianapolis three years earlier.