If you’re a Bears fan, could this week get any worse? After the heartbreaking finish to the game against the Eagles, word broke on Wednesday that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would be leaving to accept a job as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. In all, Chicago sports fans don’t have very much to be immediately excited about. Aside from the Bears’ disappointing exit from the playoffs, the Blackhawks and Bulls both have near league-worst records. The Chicago Cubs have had a disappointing offseason due to a lack of funds. Really, the only good news to come out of Chicago sports lately is the White Sox having a shot at signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Vic Fangio’s departure is just the latest punch to the gut the sports world has inflicted on the city of Chicago.
Fangio has been a football coach for 40 years. The 60-year-old’s first professional coaching job was with the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League, which operated between 1982 and 1986 before folding. Fangio then accepted his first NFL job as a linebacker coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1986. Between 1986 and now, Fangio has only not coached in the NFL for one year. In 2010 he was the defensive coordinator at Stanford. Between 2011 and 2014, Fangio was the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers before finally finding his way to Chicago in 2015.
Under Fangio this season, the defense led the league in a multitude of categories. The Bears’ defense led the NFL in scoring, points allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per game, and interceptions. In addition to being the best defense in the league in these categories, the Monsters of the Midway were third in total yards allowed per game, seventh in passing allowed yards per game, third in sacks and sixth in forced fumbles. Fangio’s defense was not only arguably the best in the league, but the best the NFL has seen in a few seasons.
While Fangio’s departure is a significant loss for the Bears, the good news is much of their core defensive personnel will be back in Chicago next season. The only defensive starters for the Bears that will hit free agency this year are Bryce Callahan, Aaron Lynch and Adrian Amos. The team will likely do all they can to resign these players as well. The only players who started a game this season that the team will need to resign in 2020 are Danny Trevathan and Sherrick McManis. This means that for at least a couple of seasons, the core of the Bears defense will stay strong.
Fangio was a beloved member of the Bears’ staff. A few Bears’ stars took to twitter to express their disappointment to see him leave.
— Allen Robinson II (@AllenRobinson) January 9, 2019
— Prince Amukamara (@PrinceAmukamara) January 9, 2019
— Adrian Amos (@SmashAmos38) January 9, 2019
Some rumors of the early candidates to replace Fangio as the defensive coordinator in Chicago have already started to swirl. Among the names listedas possible replacements are: Vance Joseph, former Broncos defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano, former Indianapolis Colts head coach, Rex Ryan, former Bills and Jets head coach, and Bears’ secondary coach Ed Donatell.
While it is disappointing to see such an integral part of this season’s success leave, it is great to see Vic Fangio get his first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. He brought Chicago’s defense back to legendary status, and no matter who his replacement is, that likely will not change for seasons to come.