Wow, does Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio know how to make an entrance or what? This is almost as hot of a trending topic as the Taco Bell debate about whether or not its new Crispy Chicken Taco Sandwich is a taco or a sandwich.
But as meaningless as Fangio’s temper tantrum was regarding Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s decision to try to tie the NFL record for consecutive games with 100 yards rushing, it turned out to reveal something about the character of Fangio.
Fangio, 63, suffers from a bad case of Grumpy Old Man’s disease, but in revealing this, he made an outrageous accusation against the Ravens’ entire organization, and he really should be forced to apologize to Harbaugh and the Ravens.
If Fangio wanted to focus on the unwritten rules — that the Ravens merely crossed the line when the game was well in hand — that’s fine.
But during his Monday news conference, Fangio acted tough and called what Harbaugh did “kind of bull___” and added that he “expected it of them. In 37 years in pro ball, I’ve never seen anything like it. But it was to be expected, and we expected it.”
A very astute Broncos reporter asked why he expected it from the Ravens. (Fangio was an assistant under Harbaugh from 2008-2009.)
“Because I just know how they operate,” Fangio said. “That’s just their mode of operation there. Player safety is secondary.”
Huh? Where was the outrage during the two years you worked under Harbaugh? Surely, he could have been a whistleblower and outted the ruthless Harbaugh for putting player safety second? All these other years you worked in the league, how about giving the goods to the NFL Players Association? You would’ve been a hero.
Now we learn all about all the secrets you know about John Harbaugh because of 5 stinking rushing yards?
Fangio left Baltimore after the 2009 season to become the defensive coordinator for John’s brother, Jim, at Stanford. By all accounts he is a solid defensive mind, but it seems he left with a king-sized chip on his shoulder. Whatever the reason, he has embarrassed himself and his employers with such an incendiary accusation.
But the Ravens shouldn’t just let this go. Ravens president Dick Cass should talk to his counterpart in Denver and quietly demand a retraction or go public with the demand. That is, unless Fangio can somehow show that the Ravens truly do put player safety secondary.
Look, before the season betting markets had Fangio as one of the most likely coaches to be fired in 2021. And despite the Broncos’ brilliant 3-0 start against three 0-3 teams, Fangio’s record stands at 15-21 after his loss to the Ravens. In my book, after watching his team, he’ll be lucky to stay on as head coach after the 2021 season.
Fangio was an uninspiring, old-school choice by Denver president of football operations John Elway after a failed two-year run by Vance Joseph. Prior to that, the Broncos had enjoyed a very solid six-year run under John Fox (2011-2014) and Gary Kubiak (2015-2016). Denver went 67-29 and won a Super Bowl during those six years. Since then, the Broncos are 26-42.
Elway actually should be the one taking a front-and-center position to demand that Fangio walk back on the hornet’s nest his Grumpy Old Man’s fit has steeped the Broncos’ organization in.
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