Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has an interview for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching job, but hasn’t given it an ounce of thought.
With eight head coaching jobs available around the NFL, and a handful of jobs opening every single year, you would think a strong coordinator like Vic Fangio would have a lead job somewhere in the NFL by now.
Fangio is 60 years old and has never held a head coaching position at any level of football. He’s been a coach since 1979.
Interesting fact: Fangio was the first defensive coordinator in the history of the expansion Carolina Panthers (1995) and Houston Texans (2002). He left Houston after four seasons to work as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. From 2006-2009, that’s where Fangio remained.
Likely on the recommendation of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Fangio got a defensive coordinator position at Stanford in 2010 with Jim Harbaugh the year before Harbaugh made the jump to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.
Fangio followed him there.
The 49ers quickly became one of the best and toughest defenses in the NFL starting in 2011, ranking second in the NFL in scoring, first in turnovers forced, and number one against the run.
The 49ers’ defense remained a top unit through 2014 which was Fangio’s last in that role for them. He was considered for San Francisco’s head coaching position after Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan, but was passed on for Jim Tomsula, a decision that really hurt the 49ers.
He took over the Bears’ defense in 2015 with John Fox as head coach, and as the roster was re-built really from the ground up, he’s taken them from 20th in the NFL to 24th in 2016, all the way up to 9th in the league in 2017 and number one in 2018.
Wherever Fangio goes, a great defense is soon to follow, especially if that defense already has pieces in place. The Chicago Bears are a team with seemingly average pieces offensively but they have such a good defense, they need to be considered a legitimate threat in the 2018 playoffs.
The Broncos have a lot of defensive pieces and some up-and-coming young talent on the offensive side of the ball. Denver obviously needs a quarterback and innovative coach on that side of the ball, but Fangio’s expertise defensively would seemingly strengthen the best area of the Broncos.
If you have a top five defense, you can do a lot of damage in the NFL.
It seems like Fangio is a strong candidate for the Broncos’ job, but apparently, he’s not doing much to prepare for his interview, which is reportedly on Monday.
"‘‘I have not returned one phone call,’’ he said. ‘‘I have not done one piece of work for it. I refuse to. And that’s it.’’Vic Fangio on head coaching opportunities (via Chicago Sun Times)"
Fangio’s focus is obviously on the Bears’ playoff run right now, but at what cost?
That article also stated that Fangio has only had three head coaching interviews in his career prior to this year. He joked in the article that his lack of perceived interest in the coaching jobs, stating, “Maybe that’s why I’m here.”
Despite the fact that Fangio has apparently not called these teams back, the Broncos and Dolphins are still planning on interviewing him Monday. The Bears’ playoff fate hangs in the balance, and if they lose on Sunday to the Eagles, Denver and Miami could be interviewing a very upset Fangio.
Is his laser focus a turn-off, or is it an admirable quality? It seems like Fangio has done this at least a couple of times before in his coaching career. There have been other rumors floating around that Fangio’s lack of a head coaching job in the NFL is due to the fact that he turned off owners in the past.
Perhaps Fangio’s experience with the 49ers in 2015 has made him callous to head coaching opportunities. He also narrowly missed out on becoming head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1997.
Before he was so focused on the Bears’ playoff game, Fangio did have a little bit more to say about potentially becoming a head coach back in November:
"“It would be nice, but I am not going to burn the house down if it doesn’t happen or think anything less or be unhappy with my coaching career or whatever.”Fangio (via Chicago Tribune)"
Even from the outside, it’s easy to see Fangio’s dry sense of humor and perhaps a bit of pent-up resentment for not getting a head coaching gig to this point in his career. Not getting the 49ers job in 2015 had to be a major blow and Fangio perhaps at that point resigned himself to the fact that he may never be a head coach in the NFL.
But the opportunity is certainly there in 2019, and the Broncos would be a great fit.
The more I get to know about this prospective head coaching candidate, the more I like him, even if he is about as dry as they come.
Fangio is a no-nonsense coach who commands the focus and respect of his players. He clearly knows what he’s doing running a defense, and if he’s more focused on the playoffs than the Denver Broncos job at this point, I would see that as a huge positive.
Weren’t we as a collective fan base in Denver upset with John Fox and Jack Del Rio in 2014-15 for seemingly having one foot out the door, ready to get out of Denver and get to their ‘dream jobs’ with the Bears and Raiders respectively?
Wouldn’t it have been nice knowing that, even if the Broncos didn’t win the Super Bowl that year that those coaches had given everything they had to the moment?
I will take a head coach who refuses to let noise from the outside distract him any day.