Vic Fangio will not return after three seasons in Denver, the franchise announced Monday.
On the one hand, Fangio's Broncos did not finish above .500 in any of his three seasons, and came in last in the rough-and-tumble AFC West in 2020 and '21.
On the other, his Mile High tenure represents the brutal business of professional football.
Denver represented the 63-year-old's first head coaching job of any kind, the pinnacle of a 40-year journey.
Fangio entered coaching at the Pennsylvania high school level in 1979. He later coached in college and the USFL before landing his first NFL job, as the Saints' linebackers coach in 1986. He'd remain in the league for the next quarter century before returning to college for one season, as Stanford's defensive coordinator. That year saw the Cardinal win the Orange Bowl and Jim Harbaugh win the 49ers' job, with Fangio in tow to run the defense.
The 49ers reached three NFC Championships and a Super Bowl with Fangio on staff.
He took Chicago's defensive coordinator job in 2015, and in 2018 he won the NFL assistant coach of the year award from the Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers Association, a year that saw the Bears lead the NFL in scoring defense.
That success won him the head job in Denver, and now he's out, not even 50 games in.
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