By Romi Bean

DENVER (CBS4) – After three losing seasons and zero playoff appearances, the Broncos have parted ways with Vic Fangio. While the decision was necessary, there is no shortage of respect for the team’s former head coach

“I want to thank Vic Fangio for the work that he did over these last three seasons. Vic said when he got here, that he would give us maximum effort to do everything he could to be successful. As I said in my statement earlier this morning, he put his heart and his soul into this job. I’ve never seen a coach work harder. Unfortunately, the results weren’t there,” CEO Joe Ellis said. “At the end of the day, we’re judged on one thing, and that’s winning. It’s about results, and for the last five years, the results have not been there. Vic was here for three of them, but our fans, our players, our team, and our entire front-range region deserves a winning team.”

(credit: CBS)

“The record may not be reflective of where we’re at, but the one thing about Vic Fangio is that he’s the best coach I’ve ever been around. I don’t take that lightly. His attention to detail, his toughness, his work ethic, and his football mind is unparalleled,” General Manager George Paton said. “He left this place a lot better off than when he arrived. He steadied the ship. The three years he was here—they weren’t easy. The first two years, a lot of things were going on here: injuries, COVID-19, you name it. Then this year, we had a little more stability. Obviously, we had some injuries, but Vic never wavered. He worked his butt off. Our guys played their a– off every game, and that’s a tribute to his leadership. I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done.”

Paton is now charged with finding the franchise’s 18th head coach, the fourth in the last seven seasons. Ellis said Paton will have full authority over the coaching search. Paton firmly believes that a foundation is in place for the Broncos to find success quickly.

“With the foundation we have, we have 11 picks (in the 2022 NFL Draft). We have over $50 million in cap room, and we have great resources with Joe Ellis and John Elway, and we have the best fans in the NFL. We know we’re going to get the best candidate on the market. We’re really confident of that,” Paton said. “We have a lot of core players in place. We have a lot of young players. I think there’s a foundation in place where hopefully it doesn’t take too long. Now, you have to put in the work, and we need to add. If you watch a lot of our football games—we won seven games, and obviously, we were in a lot more. We have a lot of young players. Our foundational pieces are young, and I just think if we can add to that. We’re not far away.”

Vic Fangio (left) and George Paton (right) (credit: CBS)

When it comes to the qualities he’s looking for in the next head coach, Paton has one non-negotiable: leadership.

“The number one quality is leadership. We’re looking for someone to lead this entire organization, to lead this community, and to lead our players. That’s the number one trait we’re looking for. Obviously, we want the best football coach. I’m not worried about what side of the ball, and I’m not worried about a play caller. We want leadership. That’s our number priority,” Paton said.

Paton indicated that while Fangio was an excellent defensive leader, the next head coach will be more well-rounded and have the ability to galvanize the team and the organization

“Like I said, we’re looking for a leader. Vic was a really good leader, but we’re looking for someone to lead the entire operation. Vic was a great coach and I loved working with him. I loved what he did on the defensive side of the ball. Vic did a lot for this organization. We don’t want to take a step back on defense, but we want to upgrade the other phases of the ball. I can’t say leadership enough. We’re just looking for that right leader for this organization,” Paton said.

As far as experience, Paton has no requirements for the new leader.

“We’re wide open. We’re going to have an open book and keep all of our options open. There have been a lot of great head coaches that have never had experience, and there have been really good head coaches that did have experience. I think we’re going to keep an open mind, and it’s going to be a wide range. We’re going to be very thorough, and we’re going to look at all the candidates.”

The next head coach of the Broncos will be tasked with getting the team back into the playoffs after missing out the past six seasons, finishing with a winning season after a five year drought, and restoring the Broncos status as contenders in the AFC West.

(Credit: CBS)

“That’s the goal. We need to play better in our division. We need to play better at home. We haven’t played well enough at home. We have the greatest fans in the NFL, and we need to play better at home. That’s going to be an emphasis. Every move we make is going to be to try and get better in our division. We know we’re behind, and we know we need to do better.”

Paton said none of the coaches from the current coaching staff are candidates for the head coaching position.

Romi Bean