May 25, 2024

Former Bills coach, Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Collier dies at 91

Joe Collier, who coached the Bills for three years before serving for 17 seasons as defensive coordinator of the Broncos, has died. He was 91.

The Broncos announced Collier’s passing on Tuesday.

He was the architect of the 3-4 defense, and he helped the Broncos to Super Bowl appearances in 1977, 1986, and 1987.

He was defensive backs coach in Denver from 1969 through 1971, before becoming defensive coordinator in 1972. He stayed in that position through 1988. He later returned to the NFL in 1991, serving as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator for two seasons.

Collier coached the Bills from 1966 through 1968. In his first year, Buffalo went 9-4-1 and lost to the Chiefs in the AFL Championship, the game preceding the first Super Bowl.

Collier was a two-time All-American receiver at Northwestern, in 1951 and 1952. Drafted by the Giants in 1954, he never played pro football. Instead, he spent three years in the military before starting a coaching career.