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Vic Fangio not shy about his alternate timeline with Eagles

Vic Fangio finally became the Eagles' defensive coordinator this offseason but admits it could have happened last year.

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There has been plenty of speculation that Vic Fangio would have been the Eagles’ defensive coordinator last year had the timing of Jonathan Gannon’s clumsy departure been different.

And Fangio agrees.

“I think that's a fair assumption,” Fangio said on Thursday in his first public comments since taking the Eagles’ defensive coordinator job in late January. 

They just had to wait an extra year to do it.

Back in early 2023, Gannon left after Super Bowl LVII to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. It was a messy break that eventually resulted in a tampering charge and gave the Eagles some extra draft ammo. But it also gave them a late start on hiring a coordinator.

By that time, Fangio had already agreed to become the defensive coordinator in Miami and didn’t want to go back on his word.

So the Eagles pivoted and hired a Fangio understudy in Sean Desai, who lasted 13 games before being demoted and then eventually fired after the season.

A year later, Fangio is finally the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. That seemed incredibly likely from the moment the NFL world learned he was parting ways with the Dolphins after just one season in Miami.

Fangio on Thursday was asked if it was his expectation to join the Eagles after leaving the Dolphins. He was asked if he left Miami to come here.

Again, the 65-year-old veteran coach was extremely forthcoming.

“Basically, yes,” he said.

There were some reports that surfaced after Fangio’s split with the Dolphins that he didn’t get along with many players in Miami and that friction made the season difficult.

“I didn't see that at all, really,” Fangio said about those reports. “Anything we do, whether there, here, or anywhere else I've been, is what we think is the best for the team and best for the defense, specifically, to stop somebody. Wherever that falls, that's where it falls.”

Even though Fangio admits he wasn’t in the building that often, the Eagles already had Fangio in-house during the 2022 Super Bowl season when he was working as a consultant. Fangio said that during that stint, 95% of his time was spent helping to give the offense a defensive perspective, while 5% was used on helping Gannon and the defense.

But after the Eagles had worked so hard to implement many staples of a Fangio defense in recent seasons, it seemed like a no-brainer to hire him for the DC job this offseason.

And for Fangio, this job is a chance to bring his career full-circle and perhaps end it in his home state of Pennsylvania. Fangio, a Dunmore, Pennsylvania, native, actually began his professional coaching career with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 1984.

So there’s no wonder he wanted to come back to Philadelphia.

“Well, it was exactly 40 years ago when I started my pro coaching career across the street at Veterans Stadium, and I thought it would be cool to hopefully end it here. So, 40 years later, here I am,” Fangio said.

“A lot of things change, and a lot of things don't. One of the first things I've done, several times, I still go to the Philadium down on Packer (Ave.) for my meals, just like I did way back then. Phillies are still playing good. You guys didn't clobber them for losing one game yesterday, did you? But no, just to come back, my kids live two hours south of here. My mother, who's 97, lives two hours north of here. So, a lot of family considerations.

“I was a big Philly fan growing up in all sports. It was a thrill for me to go to work every day at Veterans Stadium 40 years ago because I used to go to games there all the time. And now it's a good thrill to come back 40 years later and hopefully finish it out here.”

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