Patera, Seahawks’ first coach, dies at 85

Jack Patera, a former NFL player who became the first head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, died Wednesday at the age of 85.

The team confirmed his death and said pancreatic cancer was the cause.

After playing college football at Oregon, Patera was chosen by the Baltimore Colts as the 44th overall pick of the 1955 NFL Draft. He played both guard on offense and middle linebacker, but a squabble with coach Weeb Ewbank about his position led to him being cut in 1958. He later played for the Chicago Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys.

His player career done because of injuries, Patera became the defensive line coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 1963, then moved on to the Minnesota Vikings.

When Seattle gained an expansion franchise in 1976, he was hired as the first coach. He was named NFL Coach of the Year when the Seahawks finished 9-7, but the team never had a better record than that under Patera, and he was fired in the 1982 season.

He finished with a 35-59 record.

“We didn’t have the great success,” Patera told the Seattle Times later. “But we had an exciting team and good times. We had some fun times.”

Patera never coached again.

—Field Level Media

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