Sports

Broncos Fans on Twitter Are Thankful for Vic Fangio's Firing

Former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio after a loss in 2019.
Former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio after a loss in 2019. Denver Broncos via YouTube
Twitter isn't usually a go-to spot for gratitude. But since the firing of Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio the day after the squad's 28-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on January 8, which ended its desultory 2021-22 season, the social media platform has been flooded with appreciation for the plug-pulling.

The majority of the thanks for the move, as well as the sacking of Pat Shurmur, who put the "offensive" in offensive coordinator, went to general manager George Paton, Jesus and God.

The contest against the Chiefs put many Denver boosters in the uncomfortable position of hoping that Patrick Mahomes and company would absolutely trounce the boys in orange and blue, if only to ensure that Fangio would be disappeared. After all, plenty of commentators sharing their views in the days prior to the game made the case for keeping Vic as a reward for the way he'd turned the Broncos into one of the league's best defensive teams. Such apologists argued that letting the coach stick around but insisting on a new OC — and, presumably, a better quarterback than either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock — would be the wisest course of action, even though Fangio has been at the helm for three lousy campaigns and not only handpicked Shurmur, but stood by him despite a performance level that would have seemed subpar on a high school level.

A rout wasn't in the offing, however. The Chiefs had little motivation — their odds of winding up as the number-one seed in the playoffs were ultra-slim (and didn't happen) — and as a result, they played with about as much urgency as movie-goers given the opportunity to watch a fourth Matrix movie. Meanwhile, Lock, filling in for a still-injured Bridgewater and clearly auditioning for other franchises at this point, put on a performance that was at least adequate: He completed just 50 percent of his passes for a middling 162 yards, but managed to run for two touchdowns. Indeed, Denver had a legitimate chance for a W until soon-to-be ex-Bronco Melvin Gordon did the predictable, coughing up the ball in the red zone — a gaffe resulting in a Nick Bolton scoop-and-score that provided the ultimate margin of victory.

The loss gave the Broncos a 7-10 record and guaranteed another top-ten draft pick — and with that combination, Paton risked a public-relations disaster if he decided to retain Fangio, who wasn't his guy in the first place (exec John Elway hired him prior to Big George's arrival). Paton avoided this fate, but that doesn't mean his task from here on out is an easy one, especially with the likely sale of the team looming. He must lure a top-flight coach to a team that lacks a credible QB — a difficult task made harder by the shrinking chances that league MVP and anti-vaxing diva Aaron Rodgers will abandon the Green Bay Packers next year.

For now, though, the Broncos faithful on Twitter simply appreciate the fact that Fangio and Shurmur have boarded the Gonesville Express, as demonstrated by the countdown below.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts