LAKE FOREST, Ill. — He’s arguably the most popular and well-known coordinators in the post-Super Bowl XX era for the franchise, so naturally he was going to be in demand.
Vic Fangio has had that kind of impact on the Bears’ defense over the past four seasons and that hasn’t been lost on those in the NFL interested in giving him a chance to lead a team for the first time in his career.
It appears the Broncos are about to give him that chance.
On Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Fangio has reached an agreement with the team to become their next head coach.
No official announcement has come from the team.
Denver President of Football Operations John Elway flew to Chicago on Monday to interview Fangio after the Bears’ loss to the Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Playoff at Soldier Field the day before.
Fangio came to Chicago before the 2015 season after not getting the head coaching job with the 49ers, where he was the defensive coordinator for the previous four years. Brought in by new head coach John Fox, he introduced the “3-4” defense to the team, and his unit made yearly progress with the team even though their record didn’t indicate it.
He took over a defense that was 30th in yards and 31st in points under Mel Tucker and took it up to 14th in yards and 20th in points in 2015. It was about the same the next year but the group broke through in 2017, finishing ninth in points allowed and tenth in points that season.
That’s why Matt Nagy decided to keep Fangio on his staff when he took over as head coach in January of 2018, and his defense this past season was at their best. The Bears led the league in points allowed per game (17.7) and turnovers (36) while allowing just under 300 yards a game (third in the NFL). It was the first time they were in the top three in the NFL in points and yardage since the 2005 season.