Jim Lee Howell
|Date of birth:||September 27, 1914|
|Place of birth:||Lonoke, Arkansas|
|Date of death:||January 4, 1995(aged 80)|
|Place of death:||Lonoke, Arkansas|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Head coaching record|
|Coaching stats at pro-football-reference.com|
James Lee Howell (September 27, 1914 – January 4, 1995) was an American football player and coach for the National Football League's New York Giants. Howell was born in Arkansas and played college football and basketball at the University of Arkansas. He was drafted by the Giants in the 1937 NFL Draft and played wide receiver and defensive back from 1937 to 1947. While playing for the Giants, He was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives representing Lonoke County in 1940 and served one term during the January to March 1941 session of the legislature. After his playing career ended, he was head coach for Wagner College football.
Howell took over the team as head coach in 1954 from a popular fan, media and player favorite Steve Owen. Howell quickly hired Vince Lombardi as his offensive coordinator and shortly after converted Tom Landry from player to defensive coordinator. From 1954 to 1960, the Giants played in three NFL Championship Games, defeating George Halas’s Chicago Bears in 1956 by the score of 47–7.
During Howell’s seven seasons as head coach, he earned a career 53–27–4 record, with a .630 winning percentage. He drafted and coached a roster of stars including six future Pro Football Hall of Famers, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Rosey Brown, Emlen Tunnell, Frank Gifford and Don Maynard. Although his conservative, defensive style was unpopular with the fans and NY media, the Giants' success on the field was more satisfying. Several other players from this era went on to become head coaches and broadcasters.
Howell played and coached in an era when football went from a relatively simple game to one of great complexity with schemes, formations and playbooks designed to deceive as much as over power. With future Hall of Fame coordinators Lombardi and Landry, Howell’s job was frequently to play the diplomat within his own team. Rivalries and feuds were legendary.
Howell stayed with the team as Director of Player Personnel until his retirement in 1981. He died on January 4, 1995 in Lonoke, Arkansas.
- Encyclopedia of Arkansas
- Arkansas Secretary of State Historical Report 2008, p. 194