Denver Broncos fire head coach Vic Fangio after second straight last-place finish

For the second time in four years, the Denver Broncos have failed to make the playoffs.

The Broncos missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and on Sunday they fired Vic Fangio.

Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis told Fangio of the decision during a conversation with George Paton.

Ellis said that for the last three seasons, Vic has put his heart and soul into coaching the Broncos. Coach Fangio has given his all to the organization since he was hired.

George will be in charge of selecting the next head coach of the Broncos. This is his decision. I have complete confidence in George's ability to lead a successful head coaching search.

We will support George in hiring the best head coach to lead the Broncos.

The Broncos parted ways with Joseph after two seasons on the job.

The Broncos' defense finished among the league's top 10 in every major category, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for a career-best 18 touchdown despite missing the final three games with a concussion. Fangio lost his job because of Denver's inconsistent special teams play.

Fangio signed a four-year contract when he replaced Joseph.

Fangio's downfall, beyond the simple win-loss numbers in his three seasons, was fueled by the continued search for a long-term solution at quarterback, a change at GM, and the fact that Paton was hired to replace John Elway in 2021.

Fangio worked during the COVID-19 epidemic for the last two seasons, including a 2020 loss to the New Orleans Saints when the Broncos had no quarterbacks in uniform.

The firing of Fangio came after the Broncos were helmed by him and were in the thick of the playoff race. In the second half of the season, Paton said how much he liked working with Fangio and how much he respected him.

The Broncos missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Broncos haven't played a playoff game since the Super Bowl 50 win and haven't finished above.500 since the 2016 season.

Fangio's honesty and straight-forward demeanor were appreciated by the players. Fangio was unable to overcome the issues at quarterback, the lack of scoring on special teams, and the fact that they haven't averaged more than 23 points a game in three years.

The Broncos have had 10 different quarterbacks start at least one game since Week 13 of the 2016 season, with running back Philip Lindsay opening behind center in the no-quarterback game of 2020.

Elway, who stepped down as the team's chief football decision-maker after the 2020 season -- he has remained as the president of football operations -- hired Fangio with the hope his discipline, accountability, teaching and expertise on the defensive side of the ball would be enough to snap the

Fangio had waited decades for his first head coaching opportunity, and at the time Elway called those things "the foundation of football". The Broncos would not suffer "death by inches" according to Fangio.

His hope of a dynamic pass rush duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb didn't come to fruition. Chubb and Miller both missed the entire 2020 season with injuries.

Paton traded Miller to the Los Angeles Rams in early November, after Chubb missed nine of the first 10 games due to ankle surgery.

The Broncos have plenty of cap space, a young roster, and 11 picks in the April draft, making them an attractive landing spot for Fangio's replacement. Paton said the Broncos can do whatever they want in the coming months.