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Bears DC Vic Fangio the Favorite to be Broncos Next Head Coach

Broncos Stadium at Mile High
The Denver Broncos are one of eight teams with a vacant head coaching position. Photo by Craig Hawkins (Flickr) [CC License]
  • The Denver Broncos are one of eight teams currently looking for a new head coach in 2019
  • Bears DC Vic Fangio is listed as the favorite at BetOnline
  • See the odds for all contenders to be the Broncos next head coach

After posting an 11-21 record in two seasons as the Denver Broncos Head Coach, seeing the franchise post back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72, John Elway finally decided it was time to move on from Vance Joseph.

Denver is now one of eight teams without a Head Coach under contract.

While other teams are chasing former head coaches like Mike McCarthy, Bruce Arians, and Josh McDaniels for their vacancies, a longtime defensive coordinator in the NFL who has never been given a shot at a head coaching gig tops the odds to take over in Denver.

Odds to be Broncos Next Head Coach

Coach Odds to be Broncos next head coach at BetOnline
Vic Fangio +150
Zac Taylor +300
Adam Gase +500
Chuck Pagano +600
Mike Munchak +750
Brian Flores +900
Mike McCarthy +900
John Elway +10000
Peyton Manning +10000

*Odds taken 1/4

As much as Broncos fans would love it, Peyton Manning is not going to be their next Head Coach. Neither is John Elway. The two-time Super Bowl champ may not be making the best decisions as the team’s GM, but he’s smart enough not to hire himself as their HC.

With the online sports betting site willing to list odds for Manning and Elway, and not Mike Shanahan or John Harbaugh, it should tell you how unlikely those options are.

Now let’s get to the real contenders.

Vic Fangio Finally Gets a Head Coaching Opportunity?

It’s not hard to see why the Bears Defensive Coordinator is the favorite here. He’s a hardworking, no BS kind of guy, who knows how to coach an aggressive defense.

The fact that he adamantly stated that he had done zero prep for his head coaching interviews on Monday is only reason to like him more.

If the Broncos main priority is bringing their defense back to a championship level, Fangio is the guy.

When he came to San Francisco in 2011 with Jim Harbaugh to be his Defensive Coordinator, after working under Harbaugh at Stanford prior, Fangio’s defense allowed the second-fewest points in the league – they ranked 16th the year prior.

The 49ers ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 10th in points allowed over the next three seasons with Fangio.

When he took over as DC in Chicago in 2015, he inherited a defense that ranked 31st in points allowed and 30th in yards.

He immediately made them respectable, and has built them into the best defense in the league – allowed the fewest points and third-fewest yards in 2018, while generating the most takeaways in the NFL.

Hiring Fangio would rejuvenate a defense that is starving for another aggressive play-caller, and leave the door open for Elway to make his guy Gary Kubiak Offensive Coordinator.

The only question here is why has he never been given a head coaching opportunity before (at any level)?

Zac Taylor the Next Sean McVay?

Fangio may be the best choice for the Broncos, but it’s getting awfully hard for Elway to justify not bringing in an offensive mind who can groom a QB and return their offense to respectability.

If the Broncos are to go the offensive route, Zac Taylor is the choice.

Taylor served as the Rams Assistant Wide Receivers Coach in 2017 and their Quarterbacks Coach this season.

Seeing the Tennessee Titans offense struggle this year after hiring Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur has certainly slowed down the “let’s-hire-anyone-who-works-under-Sean-McVay” line of thought. But it’s certainly not dead.

Taylor may be different. But without much of a resume, and very little success as an Offensive Coordinator (2015 Dolphins and 2016 Bengals), this isn’t the hire Elway is prepared to make. His job is on the line and he’s not going to risk it on a 35-year-old with little experience.

Any Value in Longshots?

Scratch Adam Gase off the list. All of #BroncosCountry, including Elway, remembers that onside kick Gase called for when his Miami Dolphins were already up 33-9 in the fourth quarter against the Broncos in Week 13 last year.

Gase had his reasons for doing it. But that relationship is not being fixed anytime soon.

Mike McCarthy is being strongly considered by a few teams, none of them named the Broncos.

Mike Munchak has an unappealing track record as a head coach. He knows how to coach an offensive line, but that seems to be it.

The Broncos got burned the last time they poached a head coach from the Patriots staff – see Josh McDaniels – and Matt Patricia’s first season in Detroit only furthered the notion that Bill Belichick is the mastermind pulling all the strings in that building.

If you do want to take a big swing here, Chuck Pagano is the guy. If neither Fangio or Taylor work out, Pagano would be a great safety net that Elway would be comfortable with. At +600, he’s the best longshot on the board.

Best Bet

The Broncos will be all-in on luring Fangio in, and it would be a good situation for a defensive-minded coach to step into.

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After receiving a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Ottawa ('15), Matt spent two years with Rogers TV as a host, producer, and play-by-play commentator. He has been with us since 2016 and serves as SBD's Editor-in-Chief and sports betting expert.