Longtime NFL coach Vic Fangio has never won a Super Bowl and next year he’ll try to fix that as the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. But on Sunday, Fangio could get an early taste of Super Bowl success after a near-40 year career that started in 1986 with the New Orleans Saints, as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff.
That was something not widely reported or known until Sunday, as multiple reports indicate that Fangio signed on with the Eagles to assist offensive coordinator Shane Steichen—reportedly the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts—after recently signing a two-week contract. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the arrangement has been in the works for months, but didn’t officially begin until mid-postseason.
Fangio has relationships all over the Eagles’ staff — not just with the defensive staff — and those helped set up this arrangement. It’s hard to imagine a better resource than the grizzled veteran who has seen it all.
There had been some talk of Fangio working as a consultant with Philly this season following his tenure as Broncos head coach from 2019-2021, but he opted to travel and take time away, instead.
When the regular season ended, Eagles coaches he’s close with reached out to him to essentially say, “Do you want to go on this ride with us?” Fangio did, and soon afterward, he signed his contract.
Fangio also has extensive history against Patrick Mahomes, given his three-year stint as the Broncos head coach, although Denver never beat Kansas City during that run.
Patrick Mahomes has consistantly spoken about how difficult it is to go against Vic Fangio. Yes he beat him every time they faced when Fangio was in Denver. But Mahomes massive respect for what Vic does is real. https://t.co/So7k4u6umb— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) February 12, 2023
Fangio’s NFL career started as linebackers coach with the Saints for Jim Mora, Sr. in ‘86, a position he held until 1994 before jumping over to Carolina to become the first defensive coordinator in Panthers franchise history. As an expansion team, Fangio’s Carolina defense finished an impressive eighth in points allowed in 1995, then second in 1996, reaching the NFC Championship game in their second year of existence. The Panthers staff was dismantled after a disappointing 1998 season and Fangio re-joined Mora’s staff with the Colts in 1999, but by 2001 the defense was among the worst in the league.
He was again the defensive coordinator of an expansion team in 2002, this time for the Houston Texans, a position he held for four years. But the defense was at times terrible and by 2006, Fangio was back to coaching linebackers, this time with the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t until his stint as a defensive coordinator for Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014 that Vic Fangio became a name connected to premier defenses.
The #Eagles have gotten help from an unexpected place -- Vic Fangio signed a 2-week contract with Philly to help its offense prepare for KC's defense. Tomorrow, he'll join Miami as the #Dolphins DC.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2023
My story: https://t.co/NVw6qQGnFi
The 49ers defense ranked top five in yards allowed and top 10 in points allowed for all four seasons under Fangio, with 2012 being his first and only trip to the Super Bowl. He then went to Chicago and by his fourth season as the Bears defensive coordinator, they had the No. 1 defense in the NFL. He was then hired as the Denver Broncos head coach in 2019 and despite a lack of wins, the Broncos had the No. 3 scoring defense when they fired Fangio two years ago.
Vic Fangio spent the past season away from coaching but always close to rumors of any openings for a defensive coordinator until it was finally confirmed at the end of January that he would join Mike McDaniel’s staff with the Dolphins in 2023. It’s a job that won’t officially start until after Fangio tries to “win” his first Super Bowl as a temporary member of Nick Sirianni’s staff in Philadelphia.
There’s Vic Fangio on the Eagles’ bench… pic.twitter.com/ApTRzU9cMk— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 12, 2023
With over 35 years of experience in the NFL, Fangio has made countless connections around the league and the desire for a “Fangio-esque” defense can be seen all around pro football. His fingerprints clearly still remain in San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver, while former assistants like Clint Hurtt (Seahawks defensive coordinator), Brandon Staley (Chargers head coach), Sean Desai (Seahawks assistant head coach), Ejiro Evero (Panthers defensive coordinator) have made their mark recently.
Clearly, Philadelphia also wants Vic Fangio to leave a mark on the Eagles before he sets down his roots in Miami. Even if the encounter is brief, a Super Bowl trip could leave a lasting impression on both the Eagles and certainly on Fangio.