NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Allie Sherman, the diminutive son of Russian immigrants who coached the New York Giants to NFL championship games in his first three seasons, has died. He was 91.

Sherman’s family said Monday that he died Saturday at his Manhattan home.

Sherman’s Giants lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1961 and 1962 championship games and to the Chicago Bears in the 1963 title game. He was the NFL Coach of the Year in 1961 and 1962 and finished 57-51-4 in eight seasons with the Giants.

“Had pleasure of speaking with Coach Sherman many times over the years — pure Xs and Os guy – learned something every time,” WFAN reporter Paul Dottino tweeted. “Thanks, Allie.”

At 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Sherman played quarterback at Brooklyn College and spent five seasons in the NFL as a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Eagles coach Greasy Neale once said of Sherman, according to the New York Times: “Never have I seen a player with a greater understanding of the game.”

Sherman served as the Giants’ backfield coach from 1949-52 and was 36-26-2 as the head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1953-57.

He returned to the Giants as a scout in 1958, took over as offensive coach in 1959 when Vince Lombardi left for the Packers and became head coach when Jim Lee Howell retired after the 1960 season.

Sherman was born in Brooklyn in 1923.

He’s survived by wife Joan, son Randy, daughters Lori Sherman and Robin Klausner and two grandchildren.

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