Former Patriots head coach, Giants OC Erhardt dies at 80

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ron Erhardt, the former head coach of the New England Patriots and offensive architect of the New York Giants' two Super Bowl titles under Bill Parcells, has died. He was 80.

The Giants announced that Erhardt died in Boca Raton, Fla. on Wednesday morning.

"Ron was a wonderful man and a great coach," Giants chief executive John Mara said. "He was a big part of our success in the 1980s and was an important contributor to our first two Super Bowl championships."

Erhardt compiled a 21-28 record in three seasons as head coach of the Patriots -- he served as co-head coach with Hank Bullough for the team's final game in 1978 before taking over the following year.

His best season came in 1980, when the Patriots finished 10-6 after a 6-1 start.

Erhardt was hired by Ray Perkins as the Giants offensive coordinator in 1982, about a month after being released by the Patriots.

During Erhardt's eight seasons as offensive coordinator, the Giants reached the playoffs five times, won three NFC East titles and two Super Bowls. Phil Simms was the quarterback for the first one over Denver after the 1986 season, and Jeff Hostetler ran the team en route to the second title after Simms broke his left foot late in the 1990 season.

"I learned an awful lot from him. He went on and did some amazing things offensively," Hostetler said. "What amazes me, is that system is still out there, still being used, and works as successfully as ever. It is -- without a doubt, out of all the systems I've been involved with and that's probably five, six, or seven different systems -- the most simple as far as verbiage, and most consistent."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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