It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Vic Fangio was going to be the next defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. All signs were pointing in that direction after Super Bowl LVII until a tampering investigation put everything on hold.
Well, that has been the widely-believed theory behind Fangio’s surprise decision to spurn the Eagles and take the same job in Miami. Fangio, who served on Nick Sirianni’s staff as a consultant in 2022, was beloved by the Eagles’ organization. He had a bevy of connections and ties to the staff which made him the logical choice to replace Jonathan Gannon.
Then, boom, like a John Madden highlight, Fangio was out of the picture. The 64-year-old defensive mastermind briefly addressed the situation on June 8 at Dolphins OTAs without breaking character. What he didn’t say spoke volumes.
“That’s possible,” Fangio told Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley. “But I will neither confirm nor deny that.”
It stands to reason that Fangio knew about the tampering investigation and didn’t want his name dragged into a dirty situation. The Arizona Cardinals had improperly pursued Gannon before hiring him as head coach, a violation known in the NFL as “impermissible contact.” They were penalized for it. Meanwhile, Fangio shifted gears and took the Miami gig.
“It’s a mistake that we made,” Gannon told reporters, “and the league rectified it and we’ve moved on.”
Cardinals Reached Out to Gannon After NFC Championship
The infraction resulted after Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort called Gannon after the NFC Championship to congratulate him. Ossenfort also asked Gannon if he might be interested in the Cardinals’ job if it was still open after the Super Bowl. That is strictly prohibited by NFL rules. Darren Urban explained why for the Cardinals’ website:
NFL rules prohibit teams from talking to coaching candidates still in the playoffs unless an initial interview had taken place early in the postseason. Ossenfort was not hired by the Cardinals until after that first window had closed.
The Cardinals self-reported the incident, the joint statement between the teams said. The Cardinals gave third third-round pick (No. 66) to Philadelphia and the Eagles sent back a third-round pick (No. 94) as well as a 2024 fifth-round pick.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter added fuel to the fire when he opined that Fangio was on his way to Philadelphia before the tampering investigation hit. Gannon’s mess allegedly forced the Eagles to move on and hire Sean Desai as defensive coordinator.
“The interesting part about it would be this, I think it impacted a lot of people’s lives,” Schefter told the John Kincade Show. “Vic Fangio, for example, probably would not have taken the Dolphins defensive coordinator job and would be the defensive coordinator in Philadelphia today if everything was on the up and up.”
Mike Florio Grilled Howie Roseman About Tampering
NBC Sports’ Mike Florio has been the leading conspiracy theorist for the Cardinals-Eagles tampering fiasco. He recently pressed Eagles general manager Howie Roseman about what happened and why. He believes the Eagles may have voiced a complaint about tampering, although the on-the-record reports claim the Cardinals “self-reported” the infraction. Roseman didn’t take the bait.
“Again, I don’t want to get into any details but I’m saying there are answers for some of your conspiratorial theories,” Roseman said, via Philly Sports Network. “Is that the word? Conspiratorial theories.”
And it doesn’t really matter at this point. Tampering happened. Draft picks were swapped. Case closed.