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Tony Sparano Passes Away

Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano passed away, the team announced Sunday.

Sparano was probably best known as the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins who led the turnaround of the 2008 team from 1-15 and the first overall pick to the playoffs, thanks in part to his willingness to implement the Wildcat. But his next Miami teams failed to achieve that same success, and he was fired during the 2011 season. He also served as interim coach of the 2014 Oakland Raiders for the final 12 games after the early-season firing of Dennis Allen. Overall, his record as a head coach was 32-41.

His well-traveled NFL tenure also included stops in Cleveland (where he entered the NFL as a quality control coach after serving as head coach at New Haven), Dallas (where he was when Miami hired him), Jacksonville, Oakland, and San Francisco. The 56-year-old Sparano was entering his third season as the Vikings' offensive line coach.

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5 comments, Last at 24 Jul 2018, 2:58pm

2 Re: Tony Sparano Passes Away

He was a very good coach, always felt he got a raw deal in Miami. Don't know much about his time in Oakland, but in Minnesota, their offensive line was atrocious before he got there in 2016, and when he came in the improvement last year (along with some personnel additions to be fair) was dramatic. That as much as anything is what allowed them to be the team they were last year.

But everything I'm hearing makes this more of a case of simply a good guy all around, not just a good coach.

4 Re: Tony Sparano Passes Away

His time in Oakland was meh at best. Difficult to say when you take over a team after four games but the team reached 0-10 and was looking to Cleveland things before they scrapped out an unexpected victory against the Chiefs on a wet Thursday night. Two more wins that season but also three big losses ... 52-0 against the Rams, 31-13 by the Chiefs and his fate was sealed as gone when Peyton put 47 pts on them in week 17.

But football aside ... wow ... gone at 56. That's really sad :-( At least, he got to live the dream and make it to be a NFL headcoach.

5 Re: Tony Sparano Passes Away

I'm a Dolphins fan. Sparano was in his fourth season, and the team was 4-9. Aside from that 2008 season, the team never had much life. I'm sure Chad Henne and the overall personnel situation wasn't helping things, but Sparano didn't seem to be coaching anybody up. Among Dolphins fans, Sparano was famous for getting excited when the team would settle for field goals. After 3+ mediocre seasons, it was fair for the Dolphins to move on from him.

Of course, his early death is tragic.