Broncos General Manager George Paton has fired head coach Vic Fangio less than a day after the team finished the season with a 24-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“For the last three seasons, Vic put his heart and soul into coaching the Broncos. I want to thank Coach Fangio for giving his maximum effort to our organization since the day he was hired," Broncos President Joe Ellis said Sunday in a statement.
This was the Bronco's fifth consecutive losing season, and Fangio's third year at the helm of a team who's brand is often lauded as one of the most popular in the NFL despite recent struggles.
Fangio was hired by former general manager John Elway in 2019. He leaves with a record of 19-30.
“It was an honor and privilege to serve as Head Coach of the Denver Broncos. I want to thank John Elway and Joe Ellis for giving me the opportunity to be part of this storied franchise and special community when they hired me three seasons ago," Fangio said in a parting statement provided by the team.
“Over the past year, I am grateful to have been able to work with George Paton, one of—in my opinion—our league’s best General Managers. Broncos fans, you have a great one in George."
Paton will now search for the Broncos fifth coach in only nine season.
“Looking ahead, there’s a lot of work to be done for us to take the next step. Winning is not easy, and we’re going to embrace the opportunity to improve in every single area of our operation," said Paton. “With the foundation in place, the progress that’s been made and the resources we have to get better, I’m excited about the future of our team. We will find an outstanding leader and head coach for the Broncos and our fans.”
At a press conference on Sunday, Paton said the number one thing he was looking for in a head coach was "leadership." He did not state a preference on an offensive or defensively minded coach, he also did not state whether previous head coaching experience was a prerequisite for this job.
"We're wide open. I think we're gonna have an open book," Paton said.
Paton also deflected any questions about changes at the quarterback position. He did say no current Broncos assistant coaches are candidates for the top job at the moment. He indicated their futures with the organization will be up to the new coach, but praised the work of the defensive coaching staff.
Paton repeated that he believes the Broncos are close to turning things around and getting back to their winning ways. The team has struggled since the departure of Payton Manning six years ago. But after missing the playoffs for six seasons in a row, Paton (who is in his first year as GM) said there's plenty of blame to go around.
"I think the failures on all of us, everyone in the organization (...) we need to look in the mirror and, and fix it," Paton said.
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