Many years ago I was driving somewhere with team owner Edgar F. Kaiser, Jr., when he asked my opinion on something. Mr. Kaiser prefaced his question with the phrase, "What does your gut tell you?"
I do not now remember the topic way back then, but I thought of the phrase Thursday when I watched the press conference by new Head Coach Vic Fangio.
The feeling was good, and your gut never lies.
President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said at the press conference that Fangio impressed him with "his attention to detail," and that came across very strongly throughout.
But beyond the press conference, when everyone is expected to say the right things, there are a large number of stories out there regarding Coach Fangio's glittering reputation as a defensive coordinator, as well as how long it took for his career path to lead to being a head coach.
He truly has a fascinating career and backstory.
Sometimes we get used to a high level of excellence by an individual, but one of the hardest things to do is to create and maintain longevity at the absolute highest possible level — all while being passed over for the highest rung on the ladder.
But John Elway and the Broncos did not pass him up.
At his press conference the day after the season ended, Elway said he wanted a coach who was "great on one side of the ball and great at what they do."
There is no question that Vic Fangio checks all those boxes on defense.
You never know until you play the games, and I get that, but he has for decades been on the really short list of the best defensive minds in pro football.
He is what is commonly called an old-school guy, and I definitely number myself among those who believe that old school is still the best school.
The National Football League now features some high flying offenses, many like those we see in college football. But the game still is played from the ground up, and so too is a team built that way. Blocking, tackling, execution of assignments — time after time, play after play.
Elway also expressed the importance of those values in his introduction of Vic Fangio, and they are the embodiment of how our new coach teaches the game.
Noted Chicago sportswriter and longtime friend Dan Pompei tweeted these thoughts on Fangio:
"He has a great way of being able to keep it relatively simple for his players while creating confusion for an offense."
"He does an excellent job with player development."
"He's got a little Bill Parcells in him. And he's going to be popular in Denver."
Pompei closed his comments by saying, "There has been no more solid hire than this guy."
Those comments are from a pro football writer who covered Fangio almost daily for the last four years.
Our new coach gave the media a great sound bite when he noted that there will be no "death by inches." That is, he will not allow a really small thing done incorrectly be allowed to grow an inch at a time until it kills a team.
Vic Fangio applies it to himself, and in his regime it will apply to the Broncos as well, individually and as a team.
I think that as more and more fans become exposed to him via Broncos media and other, they will quickly be enamored with Vic Fangio and his straight-shooting approach to all aspects of his job.
Success is always one step at a time, and the first steps have been taken for a new era in Denver Broncos history.