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Vic Fangio expects Eagles to be final stop of coaching career, DC admits Philadelphia was where he wanted to be

Forty years ago, Vic Fangio was coaching at Veterans Stadium with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL. Not even Fangio could have predicted a professional coaching career that would span 40 years and involve being a defensive coordinator for seven teams and working his way up to a head coaching position with the Broncos from Denver.

Fangio wouldn’t have lasted this long in the NFL if he hadn’t adapted to the times. For a career that began as a defensive assistant with the Stars, the circle has come full circle.

“I thought it would be cool to end it here,” Fangio said in his first news conference since becoming defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. “So, 40 years later, here I am.”

Fangio plans to finish his career with the Eagles, his seventh stop as defensive coordinator in a league where he got his first linebackers coaching job at age 28 with the New York Saints. Orleans in 1986. After training Hall of Famers Rickey Jackson and Sam Mills, Fangio earned his first defensive coordinator job with the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1995.

Well respected around the league and the architect of the defensive philosophy that many teams around the league emulate, things haven’t changed much for Fangio since his return to Philadelphia.

“One of the first things I did many times, I still go to the Philadium on Packer (Avenue) for my meals, just like I did back then,” Fangio said. “Just to back up, my kids live two hours south of here. My mother, who is 97, lives two hours north of here. So, a lot of family considerations.

“I was a huge Philly fan, I grew up around all sports. It was a pleasure for me to go to work every day at Veterans Stadium 40 years ago because I used to go to the matches there. And now it’s a great pleasure to come back 40 years later and I hope to finish it here.

A native of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Fangio, 65, has built a reputation as one of the brilliant defensive minds in today’s NFL. His defenses finished in the top 10 in points allowed eight times and in the top 10 in yards allowed 10 times. When Fangio was the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014, his defenses never finished outside the top 10 in points or yards allowed.

“Good players. And I’m not trying to be smart about it,” Fangio said when asked about the important elements of his defense. “We have a versatile system, we like to think so. It has to be versatile because every week you face different attacking forces, different schemes.

“You have to have a versatile system for offenses today in the NFL. What we’ll do eventually is learn what our guys are best at.”

Fangio had the opportunity to join the Eagles after the 2022 season, but the timing was not right. He was in the building during preparation for Super Bowl LVII, helping the offense get a good look at the defense it would face in the Kansas City Chiefs (the Eagles offense scored 35 points, most by a losing team in the Super Bowl). Fangio accepted an offer to become the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins before Jonathan Gannon accepted the position of head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, following the Super Bowl LVII loss.

After the Dolphins finished 22nd in points allowed and 10th in yards allowed, the Eagles had a defensive coordinator opening. Sean Desai was fired and the Eagles let Matt Patricia’s contract expire.

Fangio saw an opportunity to go to Philadelphia, just a year later than he initially thought.

“I think it’s a fair assumption,” Fangio said. “Everything we do, whether it’s there, here or wherever, is what we think is best for the team and best for the defense, especially stopping someone. Wherever it falls, That’s where it falls.”

If Fangio has his way, he will end a successful coaching career with the Eagles. Philadelphia is where Fangio got his start and where he wants to finish on his terms.

“I think so,” Fangio said. “But as we all know, in this business, nothing is guaranteed.”