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'Grateful to have known him and to have been his friend' | Jeff Hullinger remembers Dan Reeves

The 11Alive Anchor reflects on his relationship with the coach who brought the Falcons to the Super Bowl for the first time.

ATLANTA — On Saturday, Jan. 1, former Falcons coach Dan Reeves died at the age of 77. In a personal essay, 11Alive Anchor Jeff Hullinger remembers the longtime NFL coach who brought the Falcons to their first Super Bowl appearance.

The last time I saw Dan Reeves was in the parking lot of Peachtree Road Methodist in February of 2018. 

He told me he was enjoying his grandchildren, and then laughed, “these honey-do-lists are much longer than when I was in the league (NFL).”

Dan Reeves died today after struggling with dementia. He was 77. 

The Americus, Georgia native was defined by faith, family, football and fairness. He was extraordinarily patient and decent in an occupation unfamiliar with such words. 

RELATED: Dan Reeves, coach who took Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII, dies at 77

I first met Dan when I was hosting a Denver Broncos television show in 1982. 

When Coach Reeves arrived in 1997 in Atlanta, the Falcons were a wretched franchise coming off the Jeff George debacle. He brought more than a steady coaching hand, Coach Reeves' professionalism buoyed the entire organization.

The Minneapolis victory over the superior Vikings in the 1999 NFC Title game remains forever amazing. 

It was Coach Reeves who pushed for the Michael Vick (2003) deal on draft day, a seminal Atlanta sports event altering the Falcons' trajectory on and off the field. 

Dan Reeves was a kind, caring, Hall of Fame man. I’m grateful to have known him and to have been his friend.

The last time I saw Dan Reeves was in the parking lot of Peachtree Road Methodist in February of 2018. He told me he...

Posted by Jeff Hullinger 11Alive on Saturday, January 1, 2022