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Inventor of the Shotgun Formation passes on


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Shotgun formation inventor Red Hickey dies

March 30, 2006

APTOS, Calif. (AP) -- Howard "Red" Hickey, the NFL coach who invented the shotgun offensive formation with the 49ers, died Thursday, his son said. He was 89.

Jeffrey Hickey didn't disclose the cause of his father's death.

Hickey coached San Francisco from 1959-63, going 27-27-1 before resigning three games into the 1963 season. He also played on the Cleveland Rams' 1945 championship team, was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams' title club in 1951 and spent two decades as an assistant and scout for the Dallas Cowboys.

He made history in 1960 when he combined elements of a punt formation, a spread passing attack and a double-wing formation invented by Stanford's Pop Warner into the shotgun -- so named by Hickey because it sprayed receivers around the field.


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I'll throw my two cents in here, my great Uncle, Red Hickey, brought the shotgun formation from the college to the Pro level when he coached the 49ers. He introduced it to the Cowboys when he came to Landry's staff as a scout. I remember the first time I met my dad's "favorite" uncle, when I was 13, Uncle Red had all the Superbowl rings and my Aunt Cecelia had a necklace made out of a NFC championship ring. Although I hated the Cowboys, I was impressed with the hardware. He was a great guy and will be missed.

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