Denver Broncos’ first-year coach Vance Joseph was so excited to visit with our Talk of Fame Network guys this week he spoke to them directly after concluding one of his first OTAs. His message was clear.
“I’m blessed,’’ the former Colorado Buffalos’ player and Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator said of his first NFL head coaching job. “This is a dream job for me.’’
Joseph replaces the retired Gary Kubiak and inherits a team that only two years ago was not only Super Bowl champion but the best defensive team in pro football. He hopes to keep that defense in the same position but understands the position he must sort out is quarterback, where former No. 1 pick Paxton Lynch and young incumbent Trevor Siemian will be in a battle to take over the offense.
“Who plays the best wins the job,’’ Joseph said. “I’m not concerned about a time frame. If it comes down to the week before the opener, I’m fine (with that).’’
By that time, the rabid Broncos’ fan base may be frothing at the mouth. But Joseph said he believes what is most important is that he makes the right decision, not the quickest one, at football’s most important position.
Joseph said he is the latest beneficiary of the Rooney Rule, which the NFL adopted in 2003 to give African-American coaches an opportunity to interview for head-coaching and coordinator jobs. That year there were only two African-American head coaches in a game where the players are roughly 70 per cent black.
Today, Joseph is one of seven African-American head coaches in the league, and he believes the Rooney Rule has had much to do with that change.
“It was very important,’’ Joseph said. “It has allowed everyone a chance to interview for these jobs. Hopefully soon it won’t be necessary. That’s the goal.’’
Also dropping in for a visit as the Talk of Fame continues its divisional previews with a walk through the AFC West is Hall-of-Fame tackle Ron Mix. Mix was a No. 1 pick of the then-world champion Baltimore Colts of the NFL in 1960 but opted to sign with the upstart then (and now) Los Angeles Chargers, where he became an eight-time All-AFL tackle, played in five title games and was called for holding only TWICE in a 10-year career.
Mix explains to Talk of Fame Network co-hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge how he accomplished that, as well as why he chose the Chargers over the Johnny Unitas-led Colts. It’s a fascinating story you won’t want to miss.
Our guys also talk with football historian John Turney of Pro Football Journal, with Turney running down his list of former AFL players he feels the Hall of Fame has long snubbed. Plus, all debate who wins the AFC West this year.
Raiders? Broncos? Chiefs? Chargers? Our guys don’t agree, but that’s no surprise. It’s one of the things that makes the Talk of Fame Network must listening if you’re a pro football fan. You can hear the weekly Wednesday nights on SB Nation Radio, on 77 stations around the country or by visiting our website, talkoffamenetwork.com. You can also download the free podcast and listen when you’d like by going to iTunes or use the TuneIn app.