Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio has had a 2020 to forget — and we’re not even in October yet.
Fangio, at least, showed needed leadership by taking accountability — and sent an important message to the NFL.
Vic Fangio has had a rough 2020
Vic Fangio’s first season in Denver ended with aw inning record, but at least some positives came out of the 2019 campaign.
Then-rookie quarterback Drew Lock impressed down the stretch. Young receiver Courtland Sutton made impressive strides and earned his first Pro Bowl nod. Veteran pass-rusher Von Miller had a down year by his standards, but was still extremely productive.
How quickly things have changed. All three of those players are out with injuries — and in Miller’s case, it isn’t unrealistic to think he may have played his final snap in Denver.
A trendy preseason playoff pick, Denver opened the year with close losses to Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Veteran backup quarterback Jeff Driskel is now tasked with saving the Broncos.
All of this came after Fangio ignited a social media firestorm by saying he didn’t see racism in the NFL. Fangio later apologized.
Fangio earned a massive fine for not wearing a mask
The NFL has been strict on mask-wearing for a good reason: the league wants to play every game and have a semi-normal regular season.
Vic Fangio joined Seattle’s Pete Carroll and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan in not regularly wearing masks in Week 2. All received $100,000 fines on Sept. 21.
The three teams each received $250,000 fines.
Coaches and team employees are mandated to wear either masks or face shields on the sideline. Chiefs coach Andy Reid went viral in Week 1 when his face shield became fogged up because of humidity and rain in Kansas City.
Vic Fangio stepped up and took responsibility
The $100,000 fine may have humbled Vic Fangio, or it may have simply forced him to take responsibility.
During a recent media session, Fangio admitted he needs to “do better” at keeping his mask on. Fangio said he took his mask off only to communicate with his players or officials.
Still, Fangio said, that is no excuse for violating league rules.
“When I have my mask up after 8 to 10 seconds, it starts fogging my glasses. I have to pull it down. All those times where I pull it down, I have to do better at getting it back up, more than I have been. But it’s all been subconsciously happening during the game.”
Fangio’s comments showed much-needed leadership and accountability. The NFL is insistent on everyone following COVID-19 safety protocols and wearing a mask goes along with that.
There is also the element of fans seeing coaches wear masks and being reminded that a mask is an effective way of stopping the spread of COVID-19. In that regard, Fangio can set the tone by wearing his mask when Denver hosts Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 3.